THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for July 26, 2014

PRODUCT: Tiger Figs

What to look for in farmers’ markets and specialty produce stores: striped tiger figs. Or, buy them from Melissas.com.

The Tiger Fig (also called Tiger Stripe fig and Candy Stripe fig) is prized as one of the most flavorful varieties in the marketplace. It is a light yellow, small to medium, pear-shaped fig with unique dark green stripes and crimson red interior fruit. It was bred in 1668, probably from a mutation.

When fully ripe the fruit has a high sugar content and rich, jam-like texture and consistency. This taste yields a hint of strawberry or raspberry jam.

You can eat it out of hand, dry it or make preserves. But something this special looking deserves to be showcased as a dessert or cheese course.

  • Serve with a frisée salad.
  • Pair with cheeses—everything from fresh goat cheese to your favorite strong cheeses.
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    striped-tiger-figs-melissas-230

    Sweet tiger figs. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

  • Make a light compote to top ice cream or cheesecake (recipe below).
  • Bake a delicious fig tart.
  • Cook with roast chicken or pork.
  • Slice onto a cream cheese or goat cheese sandwich on multigrain or raisin bread.
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    fresh fig and parma ham salad

    Figs and frisée salad. Photo courtesy SXC.

     

    Have a green thumb? Live in the right climate (zones 5-9)? Plant your own tiger fig trees.

    FIG FACTS

    Figs do not ripen off the tree, so buy those that are soft to the touch. The skin around stem should have begun to twist and wrinkle.

    Along with olives and grapes, figs are believed to be among the first fruits cultivated by man. Native to Western Asia (the Middle East and the Near East), Ficus carica has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years.

    In order to develop flavor and sweetness, the fruit requires a long, warm season where temperatures regularly exceed 95°F. Figs, including the turkey fig, are grown in southern California. Turkey leads the world in fig production.

     

    RECIPE: FRESH FIG COMPOTE

    If the figs are very sweet, you may need only a scant amount of sweetener. You can use the compote as a bread spread and a condiment with sweet or savory foods.

    Ingredients For 2/3 Cup

  • 1 pound fresh figs
  • 1 to 6 tablespoons sugar or honey (or half as much agave)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
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    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems from cleaned figs and cut into quarters. Place figs, sweetener, water and cinnamon in a small saucepan over low heat.

    2. COOK for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

    3. PULSE, using an immersion blender or food processor, until desired consistency is reached. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Use Lemon, Not Salt

    August 29th is National Lemon Juice Day. Sunkist has a recommendation for people who should cut down on their salt intake—and that’s just about all of us.

    They call it the S’alternative Choice. It’s lemon juice, an excellent substitute for salt.

    The average American consumes twice the amount of recommended sodium daily. Uh oh.

    Even if you’re in great shape now, as you hit middle age, the excess sodium can create serious problems.

    While much of the salt we consume is in prepared and processed foods, you can reduce the salt in recipes—including proteins, grains, soups, salads, rubs and seasoning mixes—up to 75% without compromising flavor.

    Sunkist commissioned a study at Johnson & Wales University to explore how to reduce salt with citrus. Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos worked with Sunkist to develop what they call the “optimal blend”:

    In everyday cooking, use 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon zest before/during cooking. Finish cooked food with 2-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice.

    Here are other ways to substitute for salt:

       

    lemons-salt-cookingsf-230

    Use more lemon juice, less salt. Photo courtesy Cooking San Francisco. Chart image courtesy Sunkist.

     

    lemon-salt-chart-sunkist-520

     

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    Salt is not necessarily your friend. Develop
    good salt habits. Photo by Ramon Gonzalez |
    SXC.

     

    YOUR DAILY SODIUM LIMITS

    The 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the USDA Center For Nutrition Policy And Promotion recommend that Americans consume less than:

  • 2,300 mg of sodium per day for adults in good health.
  • 1,500 mg of sodium per day for children or for adults who are 51 and older or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
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    How much sodium is in your daily diet? You’d be shocked. For just one day, write down everything you eat. Packaged foods will have the sodium on the nutrition label; you can look up other foods online.

    Excessive sodium intake has been linked to health problems such as high blood pressure, cancer and osteoporosis. According to a 2010 study by Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS, director of the University of California Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital:

    If every American reduced his or her daily sodium intake by 400 milligrams, 32,000 heart attacks, 20,000 strokes and 28,000 deaths could be prevented each year.

     

    This is not just a warning for adults: The habits kids develop for stay with them for life.

    Get the facts on sodium, learn helpful tips and discover healthy the alternatives. Visit SunkistSalternative.com.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Italian Hot Dogs

    mozzarella-pesto-turkey-dog-jennieo-230

    Hot dogs, Italian style. Photo courtesy
    Jennie-O.

      What do you like on your hot dog? Pickle relish and onions? Sauerkraut? Chili?

    How about marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and pesto?

    That’s the suggestion from Jennie-O, maker of turkey franks.

    Prep time is under 15 minutes, total time is 30 minutes.

    RECIPE: ITALIAN HOT DOGS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 turkey franks
  • 4 hot dog buns, split
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • ½ ball (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn
  • ½ cup roasted red bell peppers strips
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
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    Preparation

    1. PREPARE grill for medium heat. Grill franks according to package direction.

    2. GRILL buns, cut side down, until golden brown. Spread inside buns with marinara sauce. Add mozzarella and bell peppers. Place on grill, close lid.

    3. GRILL 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from grill. Add franks. Top with pesto.
     
    Perhaps you should serve these with a glass of Chianti instead of a beer?
     
    MORE HOT DOG RECIPES

  • Gourmet Hot Dog Recipes, Part 1
  • Gourmet Hot Dog Recipes, Part 2
  • Bacon Cheese Hot Dogs Recipe
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