THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for February, 2012

PRODUCT UPDATE: New Varieties Of Village Harvest Whole Grains

Last spring, one of our Top Picks Of The Week was Village Harvest, absolutely delicious pre-cooked and flash-frozen whole grains that are ready to eat after a minute in the microwave.

This brilliant line addresses the need to eat more whole grains while removing the time challenge of cooking them. All you need to do is open the package and put the grains in a microwave-safe bowl.

It’s just that simple, and we could eat them every day. The only challenge is finding them: We have to get to a Whole Foods Market. Retailers, please take note! (Here’s a store locator.)

The line originally included Brown Rice; Brown, Red, Wild Rice Medley; Quinoa; “Un” Fried Brown Rice; and Spicy Thai Brown Rice.

The varieties have been tweaked, and the expanded line now includes:

 

Serve whole grains in a lettuce cup.
Photo courtesy Village Harvest.

 

Open bag, heat in microwave: In one minute
you have delicious whole grains. Photo
courtesy Village Harvest.

 
  • Brown, Red & Wild Rice
  • Corn & Black Bean Creations (with brown rice and wild rice)
  • Cranberries & Almond Creations (with barley, quinoa and wheatberries)
  • Farro & Red Rice
  • Golden Quinoa
  • Red Quinoa & Brown Rice
  • Wheatberry & Barley
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    The company also features dozens of recipes that incorporate the quick-cooking grains.

    We “wholly” recommend these delicious grains and promise you’ll love the discovery.

     

    Here’s our original review.

    How Many Types Of Grains Have You Had?

    Check out the different types of rice and a broader view of the different types of grains.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Banana Seal, The Best Bag Clip

    It’s official: After months of testing—and years of buying inferior chip clips and other closures that we found in stores—we can proclaim that Banana Seal is the best bag sealer we’ve ever tried.

    Airtight, watertight, foolproof and easy to use, chip clips and other fasteners can’t begin to compete. The patented design provides a guaranteed airtight seal on any bag, in any condition.

    Use it on any type of bag: chips, cereal, coffee, cookies, greens, pet food, sugar and flour, anything in the pantry or freezer.

    A center rod, the “banana,” locks firmly into a U-shaped seal. There are wider versions for pet and lawn products.

    It’s amazing how crisp our chips have stayed, a month after opening the bag.

     

    Our favorite bag closure: Banana Seal.
    Photo courtesy Seal-A-Bag.com.

     

    Banana Seal, close up: The “banana” locks
    into the airtight, watertight seal. Photo
    courtesy Seal-A-Bag.com.

     

    We couldn’t be happier.

    Single large-size Banana Seals can be found for $1.50 and $4.99 for a 4-pack; tubes of 18 seals in assorted sizes (7.5″, 9.5″ and 11.5″) are $19.99 at hardware stores and other retailers (try Rite-Aid) nationwide. The 18-piece assortment is available online for $18.00 at Seal-A-Bag.com.

    Custom sizes can be created by cutting a Banana Seal with scissors. The product is dishwasher-safe.

    If you want one size only, we found something similar on Amazon, available in small, medium and large widths; 10 seals for $8.99, $10.99 and $14.99, depending on size.

      

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    DISCOUNT: 29% Off On Gourmet Produce On February 29th

    Here’s a deal you’ll only catch every four years: 29% off on the finest produce you can find, from Melissas.com.

    Here’s your opportunity to take advantage of all the delicious products and gifts that Melissa’s has to offer—which includes a selection of fruits and vegetables that are difficult to find elsewhere.

    On Leap Day, February 29th—next Wednesday—just enter coupon code LEAP29OFF at checkout. You can start ordering at midnight on the 28th, until 11:59 on the 29th. (Shipping is not included).

    The online store has everything you can imagine in fruits and vegetables, including exotic and organic varieties.

    Take a look.

    Find more of our favorite fruits and vegetables.

     

    Treat yourself to Ataulfo mangoes: Of 500 different varieties, it is the “champagne” of mangoes.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Raw Scallops, “Scallop Sashimi”

    Raw bay scallops make a healthful and
    delicious starter. Photo courtesy Arch Foods.

     

    Both sea scallops and the smaller bay scallops are delicious raw. Bay scallops have an even sweeter, more delicate flavor that is wonderful plain, with no seasoning whatsoever (although some people enjoy a squeeze of lemon or lime).

    In fact, we think they taste best when raw. In season, you can find them at sushi bars, served gunkan-style (wrapped in a seaweed “boat”) or in a cucumber cup.

    Bay scallops are what most people picture when they think of scallops. The fluted shells are between two and three inches wide. Sea scallops have much larger, saucer-sized shells that are very flat, without flutes.

    For a light first course—that just happens to be nutritious and low in calories—serve raw scallops. If your family doesn’t like the idea of “raw,” call it “scallop sashimi” or use the Italian word, “crudo.”

    You can serve the scallops family-style on a platter, or as individual servings atop a lettuce leaf, watercress, shredded cucumber, tomato concasse or other salad vegetable. Think beyond the plate: The scallops will look terrific in a Martini glass or glass dessert dish.

     

    How To Buy Scallops

    It’s always best to buy seafood the day you plan to use it. When you buy fresh scallops, they should have a clean scent and no “fishy” aroma.

    The scallops also should be beige, not white.

    White scallops indicate treatment with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP). STP is a safe food additive that is used to prevent the scallops from drying out. But it also increases the weight of the scallops by causing them to absorb excess water. You want to pay for scallop meat, not water. Plus, if you cook them, over-treated scallops won’t brown when seared; and the delightful fresh flavor will be impacted.

    A little STP is okay. But if the scallops look artificially white and/or are oozing a milky liquid, they’ve been over-treated with STP.

    Another scallop-buying tip: Avoid jumbo “scallops” that are not scallops but less expensive skate wings. When scallops are in short supply (or for other unscrupulous reasons), fishmongers can punch round “scallops” from skate. In addition to their large size, another giveaway is that the scallops look like they’re falling apart.

    Scallop Nutrition

    Scallops are low in calories: 31 calories per ounce, or just 93 calories for a three-ounce starter portion, which delivers 6 grams of protein.

    Scallops are a very good source of phosphorus and selenium, and a good source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12 and zinc.

    Seafood does have cholesterol (15 mg/ounce), but no saturated fat. Enjoy!

    More scallop recipes.

      

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    PRODUCT: Ben & Jerry’s Frozen Greek Yogurt

    Some of Ben & Jerry’s frozen yogurt flavors rank among the company’s Top 10 sellers.

    But with the current consumer love* for Greek yogurt—a style that is triple-strained into a thicker form—the new product line took form. The inspiration was a staff member who ate regular Greek yogurt every day for lunch.

    This week, the company introduced four new pints made from Greek yogurt:

  • Banana Peanut Butter, a generous swirl of peanut butter in banana yogurt (our favorite!)
  • Blueberry Vanilla Graham, vanilla yogurt with a blueberry swirl and graham cracker pieces
  • Strawberry Shortcake, strawberry frozen yogurt with strawberries and shortbread pieces
  • Raspberry Fudge Chunk, raspberry frozen yogurt loaded with chocolate pieces
  •  
    Plus, plain vanilla frozen Greek yogurt will be available at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops.

     

    Ben & Jerry’s mascot, Woody the cow (named after the artist who drew her), decked out in a laurel wreath and Greek duds. Image courtesy Ben & Jerry’s.

     

    Creamy and rich-tasting with a soft, lilting tang, the frozen yogurts have another bonus: fewer calories than Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (from 180 calories/serving for Strawberry Shortcake to 210 for the Peanut Butter Banana, with Blueberry Vanilla Graham and Raspberry Fudge Chunk weighing in at 200 calories).

    The line is certified kosher (dairy) by KOF-K.
     
    *In the $4 billion yogurt category, Greek yogurt has gone from almost nothing 10 years ago to 25% of the category.

     

    The new fab four frozen Greek yogurts.
    Photo courtesy Ben & Jerry’s.

     

    When you’re an employee of Ben & Jerry’s, you get to take home three pints of ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt every day. (The company also has a gym on the premises, but we wouldn’t fit into our desk chair if we worked for Ben & Jerry’s.)

    When you’re a food writer, you get invited to events to taste new products—and although we took home four pints, it’s a once-a-year temptation at best.

    We had the time of our life trying the four new pint flavors plus two scoop shop items:

  • Smoothies: The Mixed Berry Smoothie we tried, made with a base of Vanilla Greek frozen yogurt, was unbelievably refreshing. It will be our go-to cooler-offer this summer.
  • Parfaits: We tried a Banana Peanut Butter parfait, made with frozen Peanut Butter Banana Greek yogurt, sliced ripe bananas and granola. Perfection!
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    “It’s really Greekin’ good,” says Woody, the Ben & Jerry’s cow. We agree.
     
    Can You Name All The Different Frozen Desserts?

    Check out our Ice Cream Glossary.

    Find more of our favorite ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet: products and recipes.

      

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