THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for January, 2015

VALENTINE GIFT: Tonja’s Toffee, With Or Without Nuts

tonjas-toffee-2-kaminsky-230

Tonja’s Toffee. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky |
THE NIBBLE.

 

Not everyone wants a box of bonbons or chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day. Some of us would love the buttery crunch of toffee.

When we received samples of Tonja’s Toffee, we were happy, happy, happy. The style is very buttery, which is how we like it. And, this considerate family business makes nut-free varieties too.

Choices include:

  • Almond Toffee: topped in dark, milk or white chocolate with a fine dusting of almonds.
  • Butter Toffee: nut-free, also in dark, milk or white chocolate.
  •  
    The toffee is sold in quarter-pound, half-pound and one-pound bags. The small bags make great stocking stuffers or party favors.

    The company also makes peanut butter bon bons and peanut brittle. We haven’t tried them yet, but as soon as we finish eating all our Valentine candy, they’re on our list.

    Get yours at TonjasToffee.com.

     

     
      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Green Bean & Potato Salad

    If you’re thinking of potato salad for game day, how about upping the flavor, color, texture and nutrition with green beans, a.k.a. string beans and snap beans (more about that below).

    Fresh green bean crops are harvested year-round, but are best in early winter, early summer and early fall. Beans picked early in the season are smaller and sweeter. As they mature, they lose flavor and get thicker and tougher.

    “The combination of green beans and red potatoes, sometimes known as Green Beans Pierre, is one of my go-to side dishes,” SAYS Preci D’Silva, who contributed the recipe to Taste Of Home.

    The recipe calls for dried herbs, but trust us: fresh herbs give a much more wonderful punch of flavor. You can use a combination of fresh and dried, depending on what you have on hand (e.g., fresh basil and parsley, dried tarragon). While this recipe uses an oil and vinegar dressing, you can also add green beans into mayonnaise-dressed potato salad.

    While the recipe was developed to serve warm, it is equally delicious at room temperature. Prep time is 30 minutes.

    RECIPE: WARM GREEN BEAN & POTATO SALAD

    Ingredients For 10 Servings

  • 1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon each garlic powder, ground mustard and pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon each dried basil, parsley flakes and tarragon
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  •    

    potato-green-bean-salad-tasteofhome-230r

    Add crunch and flavor to potato salad. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

     
    *We love balsamic vinegar so much that we often use it, even though it adds a dark color. White balsamic, created to solve this problem, isn’t real balsamic, and doesn’t taste anything like it. Here’s more about balsamic vinegar.
     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the potatoes in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Meanwhile…

    2. WHISK together the oil, vinegar and seasonings in a large bowl.

    3. ADD the green beans to the pot of potatoes; return to a boil. Cook 3-5 minutes longer or until the vegetables are tender. Drain.

    4. ADD to the dressing and toss to coat. Stir in the tomatoes and onion. Serve warm.

     

    organic-bush-burpee-2-230

    Before breeding eliminated it, green beans had a fibrous “string” atop the long ridges and were known as string beans. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     

    GREEN BEANS OR STRING BEANS: THE DIFFERENCE

    String beans got their name because they originally had a string, a tough fiber that ran from one tip to the other. The string had to be removed before cooking. The task was onerous enough that the string was bred out of most varieties. But the name, handed down from generation to generation, lives on.

    The beans also got the name of snap beans, because when you bend them, they snap.

    There are two types of green beans:

  • Bush beans, which have a rounded pod (see photo).
  • Pole beans, which are usually large and relatively flat.
  •  
    Pole beans are also more tender, so if you have a choice, go for the flat beans.

    But whether bush or pole, raw green beans are tender enough to be eaten raw. They are a standard on our crudité platter, and whenever we have them on hand, we add them to green salads, other vegetable salads, grain salads and protein salads (chicken, egg, tuna, etc.).

     

    HOW TO HANDLE GREEN BEANS

    Here’s advice from Produce Pete:

  • Selection: Choose small to medium-size pods that are velvety-looking and bright green, with no signs of wilting or wrinkling. If you’re not sure of the freshness, bend one and see if it snaps. If it’s rubbery and bends, it’s past its prime.
  • Storage: Don’t wash green beans (or any produce) until you’re ready to use them. While it’s always best to use them as soon as you buy them, you can refrigerate them in a paper bag an or unsealed plastic bag for a day or two. If you’ve had them longer and they start to wilt, you may be able to revive them in ice-cold water. Otherwise, you can purée them or add them to soups or stews.
  • Preparation: To cook, simply steam or cook in a small amount of water in a covered pan for five to eight minutes (we steam them in the microwave), adding a dab of butter (or good olive oil), salt and pepper. Don’t overcook or you’ll get a canned green bean flavor.
  • Freezing: String beans freeze well if blanched for two minutes before freezing.
  •   

    Comments off

    FOOD FUN: Super Bowl Cocktails

    Drink your team colors on Super Bowl Sunday, with these layered cocktails made with Blue Chair Rum.

    These recipes, courtesy of Eclectic Recipes, have fun visual impact. You’ll also be adding a bit of the tropics to a cold day.

    PATRIOT PUNCH

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1/2 jigger or 3/4 oz Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum
  • 1/2 jigger or 3/4 oz Blue Curaçao
  • 1 jigger or 1-1/2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice
  • Garnish: 1 maraschino cherry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the run, Curaçao and pineapple juice in a shaker. Shake well and pour over ice in cocktail glass.

     

    super-bowl-2015-eclecticrecipes-230

    Patriot Punch, front, and Seahawk Slammer. Photo courtesy EclecticRecipes.com.

     
    2. ADD two teaspoons maraschino cherry juice slowly and let it fall to the bottom of the drink. Garnish with a cherry and serve.
     
    SEAHAWK SLAMMER

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1/2 jigger or 3/4 ounce Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum
  • 1/2 jigger or 3/4 ounce Blue Curaçao
  • 1 jigger or 1-1/2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 teaspoons melon liqueur (like Midori)
  • Garnish: lemon slice for Garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum, Blue Curaçao and pineapple juice in a shaker. Shake well and pour over ice in cocktail glass.

    2. ADD the melon liqueur slowly, and let it fall to the bottom of the glass. Garnish with lemon and serve.

      

    Comments off

    FOOD FUN: Popchip Snacks

    popchips-guacamole-popper-230

    Make Guacpops with guacamole. Photo
    courtesy PopChips.

     

    A boat-shaped chip demands filling.

    So Popchips* created two snacks using its popular air-popped chips:

    Guacamo Popper

    Ingredients Per Chip

  • 1 Salt & Pepper Popchip
  • 1 dollop of spicy guacamole
  • Red and green jalapeño slices
  •  
    Nachopop

    Ingredients Per Chip

  • 1 Barbeque Popchip
  • Spicy beef
  • Grated cheese
  • Jalapeño slice
  •  

    Popchips are sold nationwide. While we personally love the original (Sea Salt), there’s something for everyone. Flavors include Barbecue, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Hint Of Olive Oil, Nacho Cheese, Salt & Pepper, Sea Salt, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Tuscan Herb, Ranch, Sour Cream & Onion and Sweet Potato.

    That’s a lot of popped chips!

    Here’s our review of the brand, which has been a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    Discover more at Popchips.com.
     
    *The brand spells its name popchips, without a capital letter. But we, schooled in editorial techniques that still prevail, can’t leave a proper name uncapitalized.

     

    nacho-popper-230

    Another south of the border snack. Photo courtesy Popchips.

     

      

    Comments off

    FOOD FUN: Football Pizza

    football-pizza-due-forni-LV-230ps

    Don’t fumble the pizza! Football pizza from Due Forni | Las Vegas.

     

    If you were at Due Forni restaurant, you could order a football pizza. But there’s no need to travel to Austin or Las Vegas: It’s easy to make your own.

    Using your favorite pizza recipe:

    1. STRETCH the dough into a more oblong shape. If you’re using a prepared round crust, you could trim it, but it’s easier to default to the round shape.

    2. PLACE the pepperoni in the center as shown.

    3. CUT strips of mozzarella for the laces.

    4. BAKE as usual.

    Be sure to have extra pizzas ready to be made when this one is devoured!

     

     
      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.