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

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Nonna Iole’s Soffritto

Soffritto is a mixture of minced vegetables and aromatic herbs cooked in extra virgin olive oil. The name means “fry slowly,” although you might think of it as “yummy flavor.”

This healthful cooking ingredient enhances the flavor of many everyday dishes, and is waiting to be your new best friend in the kitchen. The basic recipe combines carrots, celery, garlic, onions, salt and sometimes a splash of white wine vinegar.

You can make your own soffritto and store it in the fridge (we’ve included the recipe in the full review). Or you can buy a jar of Nonna Iole’s Soffritto. It’s a quick, easy and delicious solution to amping up your food. It’s also a nice party favor, stocking stuffer and small ”thank you” gift.

In fact, you can buy boxed gift sets as well as individual jars on the company website. You’ll also find a store locator.

Check out the full review.

 

Soffritto: Your new friend in the kitchen. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

  

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COOKING VIDEO: How To Mince An Onion

 

Many recipes call for minced vegetables and herbs. Unless you’re a committed chopper, it can be annoying to cut things so small.

Yet, there’s an easy way to create those tiny pieces—the way professional chefs do.

Here, chef Jim Davis shows us the correct way to mincing onions. It’s well worth your time to watch the video: You’ll use the technique for the rest of your life!

   

   

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TIP OF THE DAY: Tobiko Caviar Garnish

How many ways can you think of to use this
crunchy, colorful garnish? Photo courtesy
Bemka.com.

 

If you’re a sushi fan, you’ve seen tobiko (also spelled tobikko). They’re the tiny, crunchy, nutty beads of flying fish roe.

They’re served in a gunkan-maki (battleship roll), on uramaki (reverse rolls) and as a sashimi garnish.

Originally available in orange, the popularity of tobiko has led to a rainbow of options: flavored tobiko in black (colored with squid ink), green (wasabi), pale yellow (yuzu) and red (ume plum), as well as spicy orange.

Tobiko is an asset in the kitchen, where you can use it to add instant festivity:

  • To sauces
  • To garnish chicken/shrimp salad, fish and seafood (including ceviche—and we love it with scallops), soups
  • In risottos
  • On poached eggs, in omelets
  • In a plethora of other savory applications—you can even float some on a Martini
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    Even smaller than tobiko eggs is masago, called capelin roe or smelt roe in English. You’ll also find the larger, more flavorful and pricier ikura, salmon roe.

    Tobiko caviar comes from the flying fish of Iceland and the Pacific Ocean. It’s available at better supermarkets, at specialty food stores and online.

    So for special occasions, pick up a jar. You’ll get a lot of bang (or is that crunch) for the buck.

    Check out other types of caviar in our Caviar Glossary.

     
      

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    PRODUCT: New York Style Mini Bagel Chips

    New York Style is known for its bagel chips, available in seven flavors.

    The company has recently launched mini bagel chips, in BBQ, Cheddar, Garlic and Sea Salt.

    For us, the standout is Garlic: a buttery, garlicky chip that’s delicious:

  • Plain, with a beer
  • With a dip
  • Atop or aside soup or salad
  • Crafted into a tasty snack (we topped ours with cream cheese and [variously] sliced olives, salsa and jalapeño jam)
  • As a base for canapés
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    The line is certified kosher by OU.

    Find the store nearest you with the company’s store locator.
     
    Find more of our favorite crackers and snacks.

     

    Mini bagel chips in four flavors: We like Garlic the best. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cold Infusion Tea

    There’s no need to boil water to home-brew iced tea. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

     

    If you brew pots and pots of iced tea to get through the summer heat, here’s a way to do it that requires no hot water.

    Instead of brewing tea the conventional way, in boiled or near-boiled water, do it via cold infusion. The tea steeps in cold water—really!

    The process might sound strange, but it works and can produce even more highly-flavored tea.

  • Instead of the conventional steep in very hot water for three to five minutes, cold infusion steeps the tea in cold water over eight hours or overnight.
  • The process draws out the natural sweetness in the tea leaf. And since it’s such a gentle process, it’s hard to over-brew and draw out the bitter tanins as steeping in boiling water can.
  • To make a batch, add a generous two teaspoons of tea (or two tea bags) to 8 cups of cold water. Refrigerate for four or five hours. Strain as needed and serve.
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    Results are more noticeable depending on the type of tea used. Cold infusion shows Darjeeling tea to better advantage, for example.

    INFUSE OTHER FLAVORS

    You can add another layer of flavor by infusing herbs or fruits with the tea.

    Mint is the herb standard-bearer for tea; but if you have other sweet fresh herbs at hand (such as basil, lemon basil or rosemary), use them. Crush the herbs in your hand first, to release the aromatic oils.

    Or, slice in some stone fruits—cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums or nectarines.

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLD INFUSION TEA & SUN TEA

    Sun tea is a similar process: tea made with cold water instead of hot water. The difference is that it is placed in a sunny location to steep, and the warmth of the sun speeds up the steeping process.

    To make sun tea, follow the same instructions as for cold infusion, but let the tea steep in the sun for four hours—on a window ledge, the porch or other sunny spot. Then refrigerate.

    As with cold infusion tea, experts note that the gently slow-brewed, tea has stronger flavor than conventionally hot brewed tea.

    Let us know how you like it!

    Find more iced tea recipes in our Gourmet Tea Section.

     
      

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