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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 July, 2011

TIP OF THE DAY: Different Foods To Grill

Try grilled halloumi cheese to start.
Why not serve it with grilled romaine?
Photo by Ina Peters | IST.

 

You know you can grill meat, seafood and fruit on the grill (see five grilled fruit recipes at the end of this article).

You may also have tried grilling pizza (if not, try these grilled pizza recipes).

But how about these four: grilled halloumi cheese, grilled lettuce, grilled avocado and grilled cake?

1. Grilled Halloumi Cheese
Halloumi cheese, from Cyprus, is made to be grilled or pan-fried. It keeps its shape when cooked, and makes a great appetizer. Add slices to a salad or make grilled cheese and vegetable skewers. We like halloumi so much, it was a Top Pick Of The Week. Read our full review, which includes recipes.

2. Grilled Lettuce
Follow a grilled halloumi appetizer with a grilled salad. Even people who won’t eat a green salad can be attracted to lettuce grilled with an alluring char. Grill heartier varieties of lettuce such as endive, radicchio and romaine. Cut the head in two and grill the halves face down, or separate and grill individual leaves. Brush lightly with olive oil and grill over medium heat until just charred (don’t let the leaves wilt). Serve with grilled tomatoes and your favorite dressing. Or generate excitement with a grilled Caesar salad.

 

3. Grilled Avocado
Dense and creamy, avocados lend themselves to grilling. You can serve them as a side with grilled meats and fish, or as an appetizer or salad course. For a salad, serve a grilled avocado half with some grilled romaine or endive; fill the well of the avocado with balsamic vinaigrette. Brush the face with olive oil and cook over medium heat until grill marks appear.

4. Grilled Cake
End the meal with grilled cake. Did you see our recipe for grilled angel food cake last month? Just as you can toast a bun on the grill, you can toast slices of angel food cake, pound cake, banana bread and other firm cakes (loaf cakes work well). Simply brush the sides with butter and toast over medium heat until grill marks appear. You can serve grilled cake with grilled fruit or fresh fruit marinated in orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier or Gran Gala), ice cream, mascarpone or whipped cream.

You can also toast cake in the toaster. You won’t get grill marks, but you will get toasty good flavor.

  • Grilled Fruit Overview & Recipe
  • Grilled Fruit Skewers With Marshmallows
  • Grilled Watermelon
  • Grilled Pineapple & Peaches In A Rum & Lime Marinade
  •  
    Thanks to Care2.com for inspiring this story.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Beachy Cream Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free Ice Cream Sandwich

    Most people can enjoy an ice cream sandwich without a second thought.

    But people with gluten sensitivity can’t have that cookie sandwich. And people with lactose intolerance can’t have the ice cream or frozen yogurt. Unless they reach for Beachy Cream.

  • Gluten is a protein composite found in foods that include wheat or a number of other grains, including barley and rye.
  • Thus, most ice cream is naturally gluten-free. But gluten can be found in specialty flavors that use grain-based inclusions, such as cookie dough and brownies.
  •  
    Beachy Cream of Malibu, California solves the problem by offering a classic ice cream sandwich: lactose-free vanilla ice cream sandwiched between gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

    Made in small batches with locally sourced, sustainable and organic ingredients, Beachy Cream’s other flavors include candied ginger ice cream on a molasses spice cookie, “hot” chocolate ice cream on a brownie cookie, Key lime ice cream on a coconut oatmeal cookie, strawberry balsamic swirl ice cream on a sugar cookie, and traditional vanilla bean ice cream on a chocolate chip cookie.

     

    Beachy Cream’s handmade ice cream
    sandwiches include a gluten-free, lactose-
    free option. Photo courtesy Beachy Cream.

     

    If you’re not local to Malibu, you can order the ice cream sandwiches from the company website. It’s a generous gift to soothe someone who is new to dealing with gluten intolerance.

    The online store carries only an assortment of the regular line, but you can contact the store at youscream@beachycream.com, or 1.877.299.7557.

    Other Ideas For Enjoying Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • Buy gluten-free cookies and make your own ice cream sandwiches.
  • Bake your own gluten-free cookies with mixes from Cherrybrook Kitchen or Pamela’s.
  • Bake Pamela’s gluten-free brownies, cut into small cubes and mix into softened vanilla ice cream for gluten-free Brownie Ice Cream. No ice cream sandwich needed!
  •  
    See our favorite gluten-free gourmet food products.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How-To-Grill-Steak Tips From A Pro

    Turn out a great steak or burger with tips
    from Del Frisco’s Steak House. Photo
    courtesy Del Frisco’s.

     

    If you look forward to grilling in the warm weather, step up your game with these tricks and tips from the executive chef of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group.

    Chef Thomas George Dristas offers a few no-fail rules for how to choose, grill and serve meat like a steak house chef.

  • Shopping For Meat
  • For steaks, go for choice or prime grade aged 21 to 28 days; for hamburgers, go for a chuck/sirloin blend (also great for tacos!). Figure 6 ounces of meat per person.

  • Splurge Or Save
  • Splurge-worthy cuts include a big, thick filet, prime rib eye and strip steak. For a cost effective cut, the hanger steak is a great choice, but make sure to ask the butcher how to handle it. Befriend your butcher: He can recommend the best cuts, cooking methods and marinade suggestions for your needs.

  • No Fail Marinade
  • Make a purée of parsley, basil, garlic and olive oil. Combine the ingredients in a blender until bright green; brush onto the meat.

     

  • Grilling The Meat
  • Relaxation is key! Always let refrigerated or frozen meat sit out until it gets to room temperature. This allows the proteins to relax. When the meat is finished cooking, let it rest for ten minutes so the juices run back to the center of the meat (or else they’ll run right out onto your plate).


    Basic grilling tips from Bobby Flay.

    More tips on how to grill steak from Morton’s The Steakhouse.

    Grilling tips from award-winning grilling team Smoke In Da Eye.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Make A Coffee Milkshake For National Coffee Milkshake Day

    July 26th is National Coffee Milkshake Day.

    We love coffee ice cream, but we never buy it. That’s because flavors we like even more beckon from the freezer case.

    But today, we’re making a coffee or espresso milkshake to celebrate. You can be creative about it: In addition to a Coffee ice cream, Starbucks makes Caramel Macchiatos, Java Chip Frappuccinos and Mocha Frappuccinos.

    We like adding ice cubes because they keep the shake ice-cold for a longer period of time. We add them to our Ninja blender first.

    COFFEE MILKSHAKE RECIPE

    This recipe makes one large milkshake; alternatively, split the calories and share it with others.
     
    Ingredients

  • 3 iced cubes or crushed ice (optional)
  • 1 cup strong coffee or espresso, chilled or at room temperature
  • 1/2 pint coffee ice cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur (we have a friend who adds two tablespoons of Nutella instead)
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream, chocolate-covered coffee beans
  • Drinking straw
  •  

    Celebrate with a coffee milkshake. Photo
    by Ljubomir Tomic | IST.

     

    Preparation
    1. Crush ice in blender.
    2. Add other ingredients and process for 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth.
    2. Pour into a tall glass; garnish (if desired) and serve with a straw.

    Variations
    1. Use chocolate ice cream for a mocha milkshake.
    2. Use vanilla ice cream for a milder “caffe au lait” flavor.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Sheer Bliss Pomegranate Ice Cream

    Luscious, creamy pomegranate ice cream
    from Sheer Bliss. Photo by Victoria P.
    | Fotolia.

     

    It’s the last week of International Ice Cream Month. We’re celebrating big time with pomegranate ice cream from Sheer Bliss.

    Sheer Bliss is the mother lode of pomegranate ice cream, a flavor that’s lush and sweet with a hint of tartness on the finish. The company’s offerings seem like the ice cream equivalent of Bubba Gump’s:

  • Pomegranate Ice Cream
  • Pomegranate Ice Cream With Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Vanilla Ice Cream With Pomegranate Swirl
  • Freedom Ice Cream: a red, white and blue treat of vanilla ice cream with pomegranate and blueberry swirls
  • Chocolate-Covered Pomegranate Ice Cream Bars
  • Chocolate-Covered Pomegranate BlissBites, ice cream bonbons
  • Blisswich Ice Cream Sandwiches are coming soon
  •  
    The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Read the full review to see why Sheer Bliss sells its ice cream in metal cans.

    Find more of our favorite ice cream brands.

     

      

    Comments (3)

    NEWS: Americans Making Better-For-You Food Choices At Restaurants

    We met our brother for lunch this weekend at California Pizza Kitchen.

    As we both ordered from what we considered to be the “better-for-you” salad menu, Brother, an attorney, looked at the small print.

    “Yikes,” he said, “My Cobb Salad has 941 calories. I thought salads were supposed to be low-calorie!”

    Well, er, not when topped with blue cheese, bacon, avocado and 1/4 cup of dressing (which is 400 calories in and of itself).

    But we are still perplexed as to how our Thai Crunch Salad added up to 1089 calories. It had lots of Napa and red cabbage, carrots, cilantro, cucumbers and scallions, with perhaps two ounces of grilled chicken and modest accents of edamame, wontons, rice sticks and peanuts. The lime-cilantro dressing was minimal.

    It seems that if we wanted to count calories, we should have gotten half portions. But we left full of fiber and protein, and grateful that we hadn’t ordered the BBQ Chicken Pizza.

    This morning, we read a Food Channel Trendwire email which announced:

     

    At 550 calories, a better-for-you entrée.
    Photo courtesy Applebee’s.

     

    Restaurant Diners Actually Starting to Make Healthier Choices

    The article led with the bad news: A report issued earlier this month by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showed that the national obesity epidemic continues to worsen. Only one state showed an obesity rate below 20% (and just barely): Colorado at 19.8%. Twelve states have obesity rates over 30%. Mississippi was number one at 34.4%. Seven states have seen their rates double in the past 20 years.

    But there is some good news: This year, a number of leading restaurant chains are finding significant growth in the better-for-you menu options.

  • Applebee’s. For the first time in the restaurant’s history, the top selling entrée on the menu came from the under-550 calorie menu: Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Sauce. Applebee’s president, Mike Archer, remarked, “I’ve been in the restaurant business for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. We’re seeing a sea change in consumer behavior.”
  • IHOP. The pancake powerhouse reports that its Simple & Fit menu, offering a range of under-600 calorie choices, now accounts for 8% of entrées sold. At 330 calories, the Spinach, Mushroom and Tomato Omelet is now a best seller.
  • Friendly’s. Four of its under-550 calorie limited time offers have sold so well that they’ve been moved to the permanent menu this summer.
  •  
    Of course, the reports don’t count any beverages, bread, appetizers and desserts, but America is finally off to a good start.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Watermelon Cocktail

    Mix watermelon with tequila for a water-
    melon fizz. Photo courtesy Inocente Tequila.

     

    We love watermelon cocktails—they’re a great way to take advantage of watermelon season. Here’s a recipe that was part of our National Tequila Day celebration yesterday.

    The recipe for a Watermelon Fizz was created by Keith Dusko, mixologist at Haru Sushi, which has restaurants in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia.

    A fizz is a cocktail or soft drink with soda water (club soda), which creates the fizz.

    WATERMELON FIZZ RECIPE

    Ingredients For One Drink

  • 3 ounces fresh watermelon, de-seeded and cut into small cubes
  • 5 cilantro leaves, torn in halves
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 ounce blanco (silver) tequila
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce soda water
  • Squeeze of lime
  • Garnish: Watermelon triangle on a bamboo or cocktail skewer
  •  

    Preparation
    1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle watermelon with cilantro.
    2. Add simple syrup, tequila and ice. Shake vigorously, and pour all contents into a rocks glass.
    3. Garnish with a piece of watermelon on a bamboo spike.

    Variation
    For an alcohol-free drink, substitute Sundia watermelon juice (or purée de-seeded watermelon cubes).

    MORE WATERMELON COCKTAILS
    Watermelon & Basil “Tequila Martini”
    Watermelon & Gin “Electrolyte” Cocktail
    Watermelon Gin Martini
    Watermelon Martini & Five More Watermelon Cocktails

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 15 Things To Do With Chocolate Sauce

    You know that the same delectable chocolate sauce (fudge sauce) that tops ice cream and profiteroles can also be used on a brownie or waffle.

    But how about using it:

  • As a dip for pretzels and potato chips?
  • As a fondue for strawberries, apple slices, other fruits and marshmallows?
  • To turn hot coffee into hot mocha?
  •  
    See all 15 of our suggestions for ways to use chocolate sauce.

    How many different types of dessert sauce can you name?

    See them in our Dessert Sauce Glossary.

    Check out our favorite dessert sauces.

     

    Our favorite white chocolate sauce from
    Somebody’s Mother’s. Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tequila Shooter Cocktail For National Tequila Day

    Photo courtesy Milagro Tequila.

     

    We love the flavors of this tequila shooter combo, part of our National Tequila Day celebration. It’s a different take on the classic spicy tomato sangrita shooter.

    This recipe comes from Milagro Tequila, made from 100% estate-grown blue agave from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico.

    Instead of the spicy tomato shot, pineapple juice with cilantro and mint steps in. The tequila shot is Reposado, aged a minimum of two months.

    The white and green shooter cocktail is called “El Vocho” after the white and green VW Beetle taxis that formerly swarmed Mexico City (and were recently phased out following a law mandating that cabs have four doors for safety purposes).

    EL VOCHO TEQUILA COCKTAIL

    Ingredients

  • 4 parts Reposado tequila
  • 4 parts pineapple juice
  • 10 cilantro leaves
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 small slice jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed
  •  

    Preparation
    1. Fill one shooter glass with Reposado tequila neat.
    2. Combine other ingredients in a blender and process 30 seconds. Fill the second shooter glass. Serve.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Certified Humane Raised & Handled Meat

    Love animals? Buy meat that is Certified
    Humane Raised & Handled.

     

    If you care about animals yet eat meat and poultry, there’s an easy way to put your money where your steak is.

    Look for meat with the Certified Humane Raised & Handled logo.

    Humane Farm Animal Care is a national non-profit organization created to improve the lives of farm animals. It does so by setting rigorous standards, conducting annual inspections and certifying humane treatment of animals.

    The Certified Humane Raised & Handled program was developed to ensure animal welfare. Producers, processors and transporters verify that their livestock and poultry meet high quality humane animal care standards.

     

    A consumer benefit is that happy livestock tastes better.

  • The meat is more delicious because of the lack of stress placed on the animal. Stress hormones released by the endocrine system—especially at the final moments before butchering—negatively impact the flavor.
  • Animals that are well cared for typically have a better diet, which positively affects the flavor of the meat.
  •  
    Some restaurants specialize in Certified Humane Raised & Handled animals. They don’t have to be fancy restaurants: the New York Burger Company is an example.

  • Use the store locator to find out where you can purchase Certified Humane Raised & Handled meats.
  • See a list of restaurants carrying Certified Humane meat.
  •   

    Comments

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