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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 May, 2012

PRODUCT: Sara Snacker Lemonade Cookies

If you like Girl Scout Lemonade cookies—shortbread cookies stamped in the shape of a sliced lemon with a tangy lemon icing—we’ve got something even better for you:

Sara Snacker Cookie Company, an artisan baker with nostalgic-themed cookies, makes its own, far more elegant and delicious, lemonade cookie.

A round of lemony shortbread—made with real lemonade—is topped with a tart lemon icing. The sweet-and-tart effect is delightful.

Attractive white bags of 12 cookies are $8.00. Here’s a store locator; the company will sell them to you online in three-bag quantities.

The cookies are all natural, certified kosher by Star-D, and yummy. Would Dad like a bag for Father’s Day?
 
 
Find more of our favorite cookies and cookie recipes in our Gourmet Cookies section.

 

Sweet-and-tart lemonade cookies. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

How many types of cookies are there? Check out our delicious Cookie Glossary.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Turn Liqueurs Into Adult Sodas

Whether you call it a sparkler, a spritzer or a
soda, a liqueur like Kahlúa mixed with club
soda is a refresher. Photo courtesy Kahlúa.

 

Just as you can turn wines into a spritzers by adding club soda, liqueurs are also waiting for a bit of sparkle.

Don’t let your liqueurs sit on the shelf when you can turn them into warm-weather refreshers. Simply add club soda (soda water) to create a spritzer, or adult soda.

Coffee lovers can start with a Kahlúa soda. Kahlúa liqueur blends Arabica coffee with rum for a very adult way of enjoying your java…or a sophisticated glass of coffee soda.

RECIPE: KAHLÚA SPARKLER

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 part Kahlúa
  • 3 parts club soda
  • Lime wedge
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Fill a tall glass with ice. Add the ingredients in order.

    2. Stir lightly (so as not to break the bubbles). Garnish with the lime wedge.

     

    KAHLÚA & COKE

    If you enjoy a Rum & Coke, try a Kahlúa & Coke—it’s rum, coffee and coke.

    Add 2 parts of Kahlúa to an ice-filled highball glass and top with 3 parts cola. Stir lightly and enjoy!

    HOW ABOUT ORANGE SODA?

    Do the same with Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur (Combier, Gran Gala and triple sec, for example).

    Take an inventory of the other liqueurs you have and plan an adult soda party. You can ask friends to bring a bottle from their collection and put together a sampling of apple soda (apple schnapps), cherry soda (kirsch), lemon soda (Limoncello), peach soda (peach schnapps) raspberry soda (framboise)—the whole soda fountain!

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: The Margarita As Adult Limeade

    Adult Beverage Company, the folks who brought us the vodka-based Adult Chocolate Milk we enjoyed so much last year, has released its sophomore product. Continuing with the company’s theme of nostalgic drinks for adults, the Margarita has been conceived as “Adult Limeade.”

    Adult Limeade is the only pour-and-serve Margarita that uses 100% Blue Agave Reposado Tequila. It’s a better Tequila, noteworthy for both the 100% blue agave (instead of a mix of blue agave and a less expensive agave variety) and reposado Tequila, aged 6 months to a year (instead of the unaged silver, or blanco, tequila—the different types of Tequila).

    Lime juice and agave nectar are added to the Tequila to create a 40-proof drink. No refrigeration is required.

    The company advises to just open the bottle and pour over ice. You can do that, but you really need a squeeze of fresh lime. The limitation with bottled Margarita mixes, no matter how fine the ingredients, is that the vibrancy of fresh lime juice is missing.

    No problem: We always have a fresh lime at hand. We’ve been enjoying Adult Limeade in shot glasses with a salted rim. We squeeze in the fresh lime before adding the Adult Limeade.

     

    Pour and serve: Adult Limeade joins sibling Adult Chocolate Milk. Photo courtesy Adult Beverage Company.

     

    It’s a nice way to enjoy a mini-Margarita without the calories of a full-size glass.

    Adult Limeade retails for $19.99 (750ml) and $23.99 (1 liter). There’s a store locator on the website.

    Consider it as a gift for Father’s Day and college graduates. Bottoms up!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Syllabub For Dessert

    Syllabub sounds like the sister of Beelzebub. But the words are totally unrelated.* Beelzebub is Satan, syllabub is a rather angelic Old English dessert. Cranachan is the Scottish name for a similar dessert.

    Originally made with milk or cream that was sweetened with sugar, then lightly curdled with wine, the roots of today’s syllabub date back to the Tudor Dynasty, which ruled England from 1485 until 1603. It was popular through the 19th century. Before it became a dessert, syllabub was a refreshing drink made of milk and cider. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the cows were milked directly into an ale pot, which created a frothy foam.

    Modern British recipes make syllabub with whipped cream, sweetened with sherry or white wine and sugar. Lemon, orange and raspberry are popular syllabub flavors.

    You can make a healthier version with fat-free Greek yogurt, which is closer than whipped cream to the original dessert’s curdled milk.

     

    An apple syllabub made with yogurt instead of whipped cream. Photo and recipe courtesy FAGE Yogurt.

     

    *The Greek word beelzeboub was derived from the original Hebrew, ba’al-z’bub, “lord of the flies.” The term syllabub is first found in print around 1530–1540, derived from the earlier words, sollybubbe and sillabub. Alas, the origin of these words is not known.

    FAGE Total Greek yogurt retained chef Rocco Dispirito to create FAGE A Day for May: culinary inspiration that replaces cream with better-for-you yogurt. You can see the entire month of recipes here.

    Start with this syllabub recipe. You can Syllabub should be served well chilled and can be decorated with finely chopped nuts and served with small, crisp tuille biscuits.

    RECIPE: APPLE & YOGURT SYLLABUB CRUMBLE

    Makes 4 servings. Prep time 5 minutes; cook time 15 minutes.

    Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups FAGE Total 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 2-1/4 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/3 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup cider
  • 8 graham crackers
  • Optional garnish: berry or mint sprig
  • Optional liquor addition: 4 tablespoons liqueur, marsala, sherry, sweet dessert wine or sweet vermouth
  •  
    Variations

  • Replace the apples with pears or stone fruits (apricots, nectarines, plums).
  • Replace the fruit with fruit curd: lemon curd or any flavor is delicious.
  • Replace the graham crackers with other cookies, such as ginger snaps or shortbread.
  • Replace the cookie crumbs with chopped, toasted almonds (and consider amaretto liqueur) or other nuts.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. In a medium-sized pan, cook the apples, sugar, honey and cider until it resembles applesauce (a thick purée). Allow to cool.

    2. Crush or blend the biscuits until they look like bread crumbs.

    3. In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt and half the cold apples.

    4a. If using alcohol, first divide the cookie crumbs into the bottoms of each of four small wine glasses. Drizzle one tablespoon of sherry or other alcohol over the crumbs. Then proceed to 4b.

    4b. Whether or not you started with the cookie crumbs and sherry, spoon half the remaining apples into the glasses. Fill half-full with the yogurt mix; add another layer of apples, followed by the remaining yogurt.

    5. Chill for 1 hour or longer. Top the glasses of with the cookie crumbs prior to serving. If you used cookie crumbs for the bottom layer and don’t want to add more, you can garnish with a berry or mint sprig.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Personalized Beer Labels

    Personalize a six-pack: a great gift idea. Photo courtesy Pinhole Press.

     

    Give your favorite beer lover a memorable six-pack: one with custom, personalized beer labels. If you’re looking for something different for college graduation or Father’s Day gifts, this could be it!

    Pinhole Press, which specializes in gift items customized with your photos (calendars, journals, magnets and the like), has a beer label option that’s sure to make an occasion more festive.

    You simply upload your photo and text and get 15 labels in return ($11.99). Add the cost of a six-pack, and you’ve created a memorable yet affordable gift.

    Order yours at PinholePress.com.

    Prefer Wine To Beer?

    Custom wine bottle labels are available in a broad selection of designs, including some for baby showers, weddings and other celebratory occasions (9 labels, $9.99).

    Cheers!

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Healthy Food, Fast Food

    Before we tasted McDonald’s berry healthy summer foods, we would not have imagined that we’d spend so much time eating under the golden arches.

    But surprise: We’re fans of two new items: Banana Nut Oatmeal and McCafé Cherry Berry Chiller.

    Now available nationally, these two limited-time “Flavors Of Summer” are nutritious options that are made to order from fine ingredients.

    Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal

    Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal tops brown sugar-laced oatmeal with fresh, plump blueberries and crunchy walnuts. There is a hint of banana—though we wish there wre more than a hint!

    Each portion contains two servings of whole grain* and 1/4 cup of blueberries, one of the highest-antioxidant foods.

     

    So good for you: oatmeal with walnuts and fresh blueberries. Photo courtesy McDonald’s.

     

    Those who like to keep track of nutrition should note that walnuts are arguably the healthiest nuts.

    People who prefer their oatmeal without sugar can order the year-round menu staple, Fruit & Maple Oatmeal, with fresh apple, raisins and cranberries (it is available with or without brown sugar). If you want the fresh blueberries, just ask.

    *Why you need whole grains.

     

    Cherry Chiller: a refreshing fruit slush. Photo courtesy McDonald’s

     

    Cherry Berry Chiller

    McCafé Cherry Berry Chiller, a fruit slush, is made to order, with 100% fruit juice, natural cherry and raspberry flavors and crushed ice.

    Available through September 3rd, while supplies last, the suggested retail prices are $1.69 (small, 12 ounces), $1.99 (medium, 16 ounces) and $2.29 (large, 22 ounces). In hot weather, the large size will be a godsend.

    McCafé Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is also part of the summer menu. The McCafé line includes fruit smoothies and espresso drinks, as well.

     

    McDonald’s is the leading foodservice provider in the U.S., serving more than than 26 million customers daily at some 14,000 restaurants. More than 11,500 are wi-fi enabled.

    So, answer your email as you enjoy a leisurely bowl of oatmeal, followed by a Cherry Berry Chiller chaser.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Dahlicious Lassi Yogurt Drink

    It’s delicious. It’s healthful. It’s a probiotic yogurt drink that can be enjoyed by lactose intolerant people.

    It’s the original smoothie, when mixed with ripe fruit. And it’s our Top Pick Of The Week.

    Lassi is a four thousand year-old drink. Dahlicious produces its lassi in Vermont, with Indian-style yogurt made from the milk of meadow-grazing, rBST-free cows living on family farms.

    What a refreshing and nutritious treat! We’ve been enjoying all four flavors: Alphonso Mango, Ecuador Banana, Oregon Strawberry and Wild Maine Blueberry.

    Read the full review: Lassi come home!

    Make your own lassi. Cooking video and recipe.

    How much do you know about yogurt? Check out our Yogurt Glossary.

     

    Banana, one of four Dahlicious flavors. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    NEWS: More Coffee Health Benefits

    Guess what: It’s good for you (unless you
    have high blood pressure or other
    sensitive condition). Photo by Ermek | IST.

     

    If you’re a baby boomer, you may have grown up hearing that coffee was not good for children: “It will stunt your growth.”

    Today, we know that to be an old wive’s tale. We also know that coffee, like tea, is full of beneficial antioxidants.*

    Coffee has been tied to the reduction of some cancers and other diseases. Here’s an overview of its benefits from the Harvard Medical School.

    And now, according to studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, reported in EverydayHealth.com, coffee may also help fight type 2 diabetes.

    The Harvard study found the more coffee people drank, the greater the protection against diabetes.

    *There are many different types of antioxidants. Those in coffee are completely different than EGCG, the principal antioxidant in tea.

     

    The study followed 41,934 men for 12 years and 84,276 women for 18 years. Men who reported drinking more than six cups of regular coffee per day cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes buy 50%, when compared to non-drinkers. Women cut their risk by nearly 30%. Decaffeinated coffee drinkers also showed benefits, but to a lesser extent.

    Yet a recent study at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health supports consumption of decaf. It followed more than 28,000 postmenopausal women for 11 years. Those who drank at least six cups of coffee daily, particularly decaffeinated, had a 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than non-drinkers.

    More than half of Americans drink coffee everyday, according to the National Coffee Association. In fact, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet, according to a study by researchers at the University of Scranton.

    What’s In The Coffee That Protects Against Type 2 Diabetes?

    Researchers haven’t pinpointed the magic bullet as of yet. But both regular and decaffeinated coffees contain a high amount of the antioxidants chlorogenic acid (one of the compounds that provides coffee’s flavor) and magnesium. These ingredients can improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

    So should you put on the coffee pot and drink another few cups? Only if you were going to do it anyway.

    Says Sue McLaughlin, RD, CDE, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, “More study is needed to determine why and how the study results occurred and to determine recommendations going forward.”

    She also notes that just one 6-ounce cup of regular coffee contains 103 milligrams of caffeine, a substance “that has been shown to increase blood pressure in some individuals.” (That’s a very small cup! At Starbucks a Tall is 12 ounces, a Grande is 16 ounces and a Venti is 20 ounces). Heavy coffee consumption also may increase cholesterol levels.

    What Does This Mean For You?

    Speak with your healthcare provider, of course. But most people can keep drinking coffee in amounts they enjoy. There’s probably no reason to feel guilt over having an extra cup or two: It just may be good for you.

    How Much Do You Know About Coffee?

    Check out our informative Coffee Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Try Purple Potatoes

    Purple Peruvian potatoes, a delight at the
    table. Photo by Mona Makela | IST.

     

    Both chefs and nutritionists advise adding color to each meal. Chefs like brightly-colored foods for aesthetics as well as flavor; nutritionists like them for their powerful antioxidants, such as lycopene and anthocyanin.*

    It doesn’t get more colorful than red: beets, bell peppers, cherries, chiles, cranberries, raspberries, red graperfruit, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon are alluring to the eye as well as the palate.

    The blue-purple group is equally appealing if much smaller, consisting largely of blueberries, blackberries and purple potatoes, also known as purple Peruvian potatoes† and blue potatoes.

    Think of the different ways you can combine both shades. The recipe below combines red beets with purple potatoes for a delicious riot of color.

     

    A BITE OF POTATO HISTORY

    Potatoes originated in Peru. Millennia ago, they grew wild in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Along with many other varieties of potatoes, they were cultivated around 3,000 B.C.E. by the Incas.

    Imagine European cuisine without potatoes! But there were none until the Spanish conquistadors reached the shores of Montezuma’s empire (modern-day Mexico) in 1519. Potatoes sailed back to Spain a few years later (see the history of potatoes).

    The starch level is medium, so purple Peruvians are an all-purpose potato. They have a creamy texture and are rich in flavor. Try them baked, broiled, fried or mashed to add color and style to your meals. We turn them into a red, white and blue July 4th potato salad (with white potatoes and grape tomatoes); and make purple potato chips as a glamorous garnish to main courses.

    Creamy and earthy-tasting (like russet potatoes), some varieties have a nutty flavor. The color is very dramatic, although some varieties become a lighter lavender shade after cooking.

    Once a rarity, purple potatoes can now be found markets nationwide. There’s also a purple-fleshed “Okinawan” sweet potato, a staple in Hawaii. Look for it in Asian markets.

    *These antioxidants may help with everything from fighting heart disease and prostate cancer to decreasing the risk of stroke and macular degeneration.
    †Purple potatoes are now grown around the world.

     

    RECIPE: PURPLE POTATOES & BEETS SALAD

    Ingredients

    Salad Ingredients

  • 2 pounds purple potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered
  • 1 cup cooked, peeled and diced red beets
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled good quality Parmesan cheese*
  •  
    Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  •  

    Festive purple potato and red beet salad. Photo courtesy U.S. Potato Board.

     

    Preparation

    1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Steam for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Let cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.

    2. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and toss with potatoes, beets and onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper; cover and chill for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

    3. Just before serving, lightly toss arugula with potatoes. Sprinkle with walnuts and Parmesan.

    Hungry for more?

    Here’s another recipe: Peruvian Potatoes With Feta Sauce. It’s comfort food with a pinch of spice.

      

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: Make Lassi At Home

     

    The original smoothie, or yogurt “milkshake,” was lassi, a chilled yogurt drink served savory or sweet, blended with fruit. In much of India, where every day can be hot, it’s a refreshing and nutritious drink.

    You can make your own fruit lassi at home, using the blender technique (think of how easy you have it over blenderless households that need to use the ancient technique of puréeing the fruit and blending it in a bowl with a handheld utensil).

    This video recipe shows how to make mango lassi (arguably the favorite flavor) with 1 large ripe mango, 1/3 cup plain yogurt, 1/3 cup cold milk and a 1/2 cup of ice, plus a pinch of salt for flavor contrast.

    You can vary the fruit, add herbs and spices, and garnish as you wish with a piece of fruit on the rim, herbs (mint, basil) or a shake of cardamom, cinnamon or nutmeg.

       

       

    SECOND LASSI RECIPE: YOUR FAVORITE FRUIT LASSI

    Ingredients

    Makes two portions.

  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (we use nonfat Greek yogurt)
  • 1 or 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or a blend) or other ripe fresh or frozen fruit (nectarines, peaches, etc.)
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey or half that amount of agave
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Combine all ingredients in a blender carafe and blend.

    2. Garnish as desired and serve.
     
    Keep these recipes on hand for the next hot day!

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