THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for July 26, 2013

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Q Drinks

Grapefruit, one of the 6 varieties of Q
mixers. Photo courtesy Q Drinks.

 

How demanding is your palate?

If the answer is “pretty demanding,” move on to the next questions.

Do you enjoy mixed drinks? Are the mixers big-brand sodas?

Well, we all know what’s in those sodas: artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that should not be shaking hands with top-shelf spirits.

The solution: Q Drinks, top-shelf mixers.

The first in the series, Q Tonic Water, is a revelation if you’re used to the HFCS/artificial quinine variety. All of the mixers—including Grapefruit, Ginger, Kola, Lemon, Orange—are made with organic agave sweetener.

All can be enjoyed as soft drinks as well: lightly sweet and elegant.

Read the full review.

 

As a bonus, it includes the history of carbonated beverages—an accidental scientific observation that now generates billions of dollars of sales worldwide.

FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL MIXERS.

  

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FOOD 101: Farmers Market Tips

What, you haven’t yet been to a farmers market this summer? You’re missing out on gorgeous produce and other goodies.

Here are some tips from Birds & Blooms, America’s leading bird and garden magazine, to help make your visit easy, stress-free and, dare we say it, fruitful!

  • DON’T expect it to be a quick trip. In general, farmers markets are leisurely, and most people peruse the goods at a relaxed pace.
  • DO plan to pay in cash, and ideally bring small bills. The sellers are actual farmers, not retailers who are set up to accept cash and credit cards.
  • DON’T eat before you go. There’s more to a farmers market than fresh veggies. Local food vendors set up shop with tempting fresh-baked sweets, breads, farmstead cheeses, fresh apple cider and other goodies.
  • DO bring your own sturdy tote bag. Vendors often have bags, but you’ll probably buy more than you think; so a big, heavy-duty carryall is best. It’s also the green way to go.
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    Plan a few fun hours at a farmers market. Photo courtesy Reiman Publications.

  • DO have a little bit of a plan. The market can be overwhelming when you first arrive. Know how many meals you’ll be preparing that week, so you’ll have an idea of how much you need. And allow some time to peruse the market first. If you buy those berries at the first stall, you’ll be frustrated when you see bigger, redder, less expensive berries from another vendor.
  • DON’T be shy. The people who sell the food are often the same ones who grow it. Ask questions and seek advice, including cooking tips. They’re happy to provide answers.
  • DO shop outside the box. Never tried kale? Pick up a fresh bunch at the market. At the least, get a few apples or other fruits in varieties you’ve never had before.
  • DON’T be overwhelmed if you find you’ve bought too much. Since everything seems so appealing, it’s not hard to do! Many items can be frozen, or lightly steamed and frozen. Or, share them with neighbors and friends.
  • DO make a list of things you didn’t buy this time. Plan how to use them following your next visit.
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    PRODUCT: Pillsbury Gluten-Free Dough

    Happy ever after in the marketplace: a really
    good gluten-free pie dough, plus cookie and
    pizza options. Photo courtesy Pillsbury.

     

    Many of us who are gluten-sensitive have said goodbye to baking, goodbye to homemade pies, pizza…and goodbye to the comfort of an impulsive batch of chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes you just don’t want to do the research or make multiple trips to the grocery store to get all of the ingredients to make exactly what you crave.

    Pillsbury’s new line of refrigerated Gluten Free Doughs aims to give back the freedom to bake, to those with gluten or wheat sensitivities. It includes:

  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Pie and Pastry Dough
  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Thin Crust Pizza Dough
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    The products are available at major retailers nationwide. Look in the refrigerator case; then, indulge your baking whims as often as you like, wherever you like.

     

    The standout is the Pie and Pastry Dough. It is extremely convenient, as well as versatile. Not only can you make a pie for dessert in a pinch, but I sampled a delicious savory samosa made with dough right out of the bin.

    The dough might be a tad sweet for some savory options, but it has a great crispiness and a satisfyingly rich texture—almost like a shortbread—that makes me excited to sample it in an apple hand pie or in a peach cobbler. Pillsbury suggests multiple other uses for the dough, including mini-quiches, pot pies, tarts and tartlets.

     

    I was also pleased to notice that there was no bean-y or bitter aftertaste to the crust, an affliction that hobbles other gluten free flours that shall go un-named.

    The dough is completely pre-prepared and comes in a 15.8-ounce tub, which makes two 9” pie crusts. The suggested retail price, $4.99, is comparable to other gluten free pie crusts and mixes.

    While the product is gluten free, it is not calorie free: The dough contains 250 calories per serving. Ingredients include soybean oil, rice flour, whole sorghum flour and fructose. Additional corn and potato starches make the dough easy to handle and shape, with the help of a little wax paper.

    Ultra-convenient and easily available, we love that it has restored our freedom to bake on impulse.

    —Georgi Page

     

    Dying for a slice of apple pie? You can make it gluten-free with Pillsbury’s new and delicious dough. Photo courtesy Pillsbury.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Dessert Stacks

    Dessert stacks are easy to make. Photo
    courtesy Filicori Zecchini.

     

    Call it a dessert stack, a mock mille-feuille (Napoleon) or whatever you like: It’s a really easy way to serve an impressive and fun stacked dessert.

    Graham crackers, pound cake and loaf cake, phyllo or wontonscan be used as the base, filled with bananas, berries, chocolate chips and other favorites.

    Here’s all you have to do:

    1. DECIDE on your base. You can bake your own shortbread or sugar cookies in an oblong shape (think of double graham crackers, before you break them at the perforation); or bake rectangles of pie or tart crust.

    2. CHOOSE your filling: custard, pudding, sweetened ricotta and whipped cream are delicious, but yogurt does just fine. Check out the Méditérranée line from Liberté yogurt in wonderful fruit flavors. It tastes like cannoli filling to us. You can also mix preserves into plain or vanilla yogurt.

     

    3. SELECT one or more fruits: berries, sliced bananas, kiwi, mandarin segments, etc. You can sauté the bananas in unsalted butter and brown sugar, for a Bananas Foster effect. Keep aside a berry or other piece of fruit to garnish the top.

    4. PICK an optional second ingredient, like chocolate chips or coconut flakes, to add to the layers.

    5. ASSEMBLE three layers of base and two layers of filling—right before serving, so the base doesn’t get soggy. You can serve orderly layers, like a Napoleon, or make them askew, as in the photo above. Garnish with an optional dusting of confectioners sugar and a piece of fruit. Option: sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

     

    RECIPE: DESSERT WONTONS

    Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 wonton wrappers per serving (two stacks per serving, three wontons per stack)
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil; lightly coat with cooking spray.

    2. LAY wontons on the baking sheet; lightly coat with additional cooking spray.

    3. SPRINKLE lightly with sugar. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven; cool.

     

    Double-stacked wontons. Photo courtesy BHG.com. Here’s the recipe.

     
    Also check out this recipe for dessert lasagne, made with lasagne noodles and fruit.

    FOOD 101: THINGS FOOD LOVERS SHOULD KNOW

    Lasagne Vs. Lasagna

    The correct spelling is lasagne, the plural of the word. There are multiple lasagne (sheets of noodles) in the dish. Lasagna refers to a single sheet of noodles. In another American misuse of Italian, salame is the singular form; salami is plural.
     
    Mille-Feuille/Millefoglie Vs. Napoleon

    Pronounced meal-FWEE in French and MEE-lay FOAL-yay in Italian, meaning “a thousand leaves,” this pastry is made as three rectangular sheets of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée) spread with Bavarian cream, pastry cream, whipped cream, custard, jam or fruit purée, often dusted with confectioners sugar and cut into individual rectangular portions. When filled with custard and iced with chocolate, the pastry is called a Napoleon.

    The Napoleon was not named after France’s famous general and emperor, however. It is believed to be a corruption of the word “napolitain,” referring to a pastry made in the tradition of Naples, Italy (napolitano).
     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COOKIE, CAKE & PASTRY RECIPES.

      

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