THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for August 21, 2013

PRODUCT: Herbal Iced Tea

Hot and humid, these dog days require additional thirst-quenching. If you’re not a water fan and don’t want the caffeine in iced coffee and iced tea, take a long, cool look at herbal iced tea.

We’ve been brewing and icing quite a few herbal teas these days, including a sprightly assortment from Pukka, a U.K. brand that is expanding in the U.S. It hits what we call the food trifecta: fair trade and sustainable, certified organic and certified kosher (OU).

To show yow much fun you can have with herbal tea, here’s a sampling of the blends (which are delicious iced or hot):

  • Green Chai: herbal tea with cinnamon and star anise
  • Lemongrass & Ginger
  • Licorice & Cinnamon
  • Love: rose, chamomile and lavender flower
  • Morning Time: rooibos, honeybush & red ginseng for a caffeine-free lift
  • Peppermint & Licorice
  • Refresh: peppermint, fennel & rose
  • Revitalise: cinnamon, cardamom and ginger
  • Three Ginger: ginger, galangal and golden turmeric
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    Pick one, ice it, relax. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Three Mint: peppermint, spearmint and field mint tea
  • Tulsi: green tulsi, purple tulsi and lemon tulsi tea, used to uplift and restore
  • Vanilla Chai: herbal tea with cinnamon and sweet vanilla
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    The company pays close attention to the quality of the plants they blend, finding the most potent, vibrant and flavorful herbs. Best sellers include Three Mint, Peppermint and Licorice, and Lemongrass and Ginger. See all of the blends at PukkaHerbs.com.

    If you use ice in your iced tea, make ice cubes from the same tea as well: The flavors won’t get diluted.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Substitute Tofu For Cream & Try This Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding Recipe

    Soft tofu can be turned into a substitute for
    heavy cream. Photo courtesy House Foods.

     

    We learned from Japanese and Asian-influenced restaurants that you can have lush, creamy tofu-based desserts and not even notice there’s no cream. Substituting tofu for heavy cream helps to save calories and avoid cholesterol. It produces recipes that support kosher, lactose-free and vegan diets. It’s also less expensive than cream, and is available in organic and conventional varieties.

    Erin Dow of Guiding Stars shared how to make a heavy cream substitute from soft (silken) tofu.

    “Abstaining from heavy cream, regardless of the reason, can pose a serious challenge in the kitchen,” Erin notes. “Its thickening power, its silky rich mouth feel, and the flavor-balancing power of its fat content, are tough to replicate with plant-based alternatives. But for certain applications, a substitute made with silken tofu can help. The recipe is simple.”

     

    RECIPE: SOFT/SILKEN TOFU “HEAVY CREAM”

  • Combine one part silken tofu with one part liquid of your choice (see last two bullets) in a blender and process until smooth.
  • If desired, strain through a fine mesh strainer before using.
  • For sweet recipes, use coconut milk or unsweetened vanilla soy milk for the liquid. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla for every cup of cream you make.
  • For savory recipes, use almond or oat milk. They will help balance out the flavor without risking a curdled mess.
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    Soft/silken tofu heavy cream is a great substitute for pastry creams and other desserts, quiches and chocolate truffles and for thinning out frostings and dips. Use it to add body to sauces, gravies and smoothies. Extra firm or firm tofu is used for scrambles, kabobs, stirfries and other mains.

     

    And pudding—chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, etc.: Tofu substitutes easily for cream. The following recipe is dairy free and cholesterol free. It’s a companion to the tofu chocolate mousse recipe we published last year for National Chocolate Mousse Day.

    It was created by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, hosts of Cooking Channel’s show “Extra Virgin.” Budino is the Italian word for pudding.

    RECIPE: TOFU CHOCOLATE BUDINO

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 package (14 ounces) soft/silken tofu
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
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    No cholesterol, no lactose. Photo courtesy Cooking Channel.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE sugar, water, and cocoa water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cool slightly.

    2. MELT chocolate in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water.

    3. PLACE all ingredients in a blender and purée until completely smooth. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
     
    ABOUT TOFU

    Tofu was first created from soybeans more than 2,000 years ago in China. While lots of tofu and soy sauce are consumed, approximately 85% of the world’s soybean crop is processed into soybean meal and vegetable oil.

    In Japan, edamame (immature soybeans), miso (soybean paste), natto (fermented soybeans) and kinako (roasted soybean flour) are popular foods. Soy milk, tempeh and textured vegetable protein are increasing in popularity in the U.S.

    If you’re ingredient-conscious, look for organic tofu, made from sustainably grown, non-GMO soybeans. Commonly used tofu processing aids such as defoamers, bleaches and preservatives are not used in organic tofu.

      

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    FOOD FUN: “Rose” Vegetable Tart & Apple Tart

    A gorgeous vegetable tart. Photo courtesy
    Stasty.com.

     

    Is this food fun or food art? Perhaps this colorful, spiral vegetable tart is both.

    The masterpiece was created by a U.K. blogger, Vicky (no surname provided) of Stasty.com.

    “Carrying on from my Rose Apple Tarts [see below],” says Vicki, “I decided to make a similar savoury version using bright coloured vegetables—courgettes [zucchini], carrots and aubergines [eggplant]. It turned out to be very pretty, but it did take a lot of work and patience! It’s a good one to make if you have a glut of vegetables in the summer, and a bit of time on your hands :).

    “For this tart,” Vicky continues, “you could equally experiment with different fillings (e.g. an egg/quiche filling) and a variety of other vegetables (butternut squash, beetroot, etc.)

     

    “There are so many exciting colour, flavour and texture combinations you can play around with for this tart….I think miniature [tartlets] with beetroot and goat cheese would be great as a starter. Some of the tougher vegetables like beetroot, you may need to blanch/par cook.”

    Ready to create your own “art tart?” Here’s how Vicky did it: the recipe.

     

    The vegetable tart was inspired by Vicky’s Rosey Apple, Custard & Jam Tarts, miniature tartlets which she adapted from a recipe in The Great British Bake Off.

    So let’s take a closer look at the lovely rose tarts—actually, apple, custard and jam tartlets (a tart is a multi-portion dish; a tartlet is an individual portion).

    “In truth, they were a little tricky to make and there was a lot of apple slicing involved!” says Vicki. I did harbor some doubts as I surveyed the enormous mound of apple slices in front of me.

    “However it all worked out in the end and my work paid off. These tarts are definitely worth the effort if you fancy something a little bit special.”

    You can tell from this photo exactly how special they are. Here’s the rose tart recipe.

     

    A rose-inspired apple tart. Photo courtesy
    Stasty.com

     

    LOVE PASTRY?

    Check out the different types of pies, tarts and pastries in our delicious glossary.

      

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