THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for January 16, 2015

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bai 5 Low Calorie, High Antioxidant Drink

Bai 5 is a new addition to the “healthy drink alternatives” category, and certainly worth checking out if you’re looking for a better beverage choice. It has just five calories and one gram of sugar per serving*, and it’s packed with antioxidants.

It’s also packed with lots of natural flavor. Unlike so many low-calorie drinks, there’s not a hint of artificial flavor.

What there is, surprisingly, is coffee fruit, the red berries that are the fruit of the coffee tree. Coffee beans are actually the seeds of this fruit.

The coffee fruit on its has no taste of coffee (In fact, the green seeds of the berry don’t taste like coffee until they’re roasted. Like the beans, the fruit contains caffeine. A serving of Bai 5 has 35mg of caffeine, roughly the same as a cup of green tea.

Coffee berries are rich in antioxidants, with more than touted antioxidant fruits like blueberries, pomegranates and raspberries.

The line is all-natural, low-glycemic, OU kosher, GMO-free, and gluten-free—not that you’d expect to find gluten, a cereal protein, in a conventional beverage; but it seems that everything these days is touted as gluten free, including olive oil, pasta sauce and other foods that have never been near gluten†.

   

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The Bai 5 line is low in calories and high in
natural flavor. Photo courtesy Bai.

 

 

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One of the 10 flavors of Bai 5. Photo courtesy Bai.

 

Flavors include Brasilia Blueberry, Congo Pear, Costa Rica Clementine, Ipanema Pomegranate, Limu Lemon, Malawi Mango, Molokai Coconut, Panama Peach, Sumatra Dragonfruit and Tanzania Lemonade Tea.

There are also carbonated versions we have yet to taste, in Bolivia Black Cherry, Gimbi Pink Grapefruit, Guatemala Guava, Indonesia Nashi Pear, Jamaica Blood Orange, Peru Pineapple and Waikiki Coconut.

You can turn Bai 5 into a spritzer with an equal amount of club soda, with some optional gin, tequila or vodka. But we’ll keep enjoying the refreshing fruit taste, straight and chilled.

Discover more at DrinkBai.com.

*Note that the 18-ounce bottle contains two servings.

†Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, wheat and other grains: bulgur, farro, kamut, spelt and triticale, for example. Botanically, cereal refers to the entire stalk of grass—think of corn stalks or rice stalks. The grain is the edible part of the grass, e.g. the kernel.

 

  

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PRODUCT: Honey Maid Go Bites

Honey Maid, the brand that supplies America with graham crackers, Gramfuls sandwich cookies and Teddy Grahams, has added a new graham-inspired snack to its repertoire: Honey Maid Go Bites.

They’re very crunchy little pillows, about 5/8-inch square, with a choice of chocolate or vanilla filling.

On the back of the box, soccer player Alex Morgan states that “Go Bites is a great snack to give kids a kick of energy to help them stay in the game.” It is an official snack of U.S. Soccer.

But you don’t have to be on your school soccer team. Adult snackers who want lots of crunch and a fun filling can enjoy Go Bites, too.

Personally, we wish Go Bites had more graham flavor, but that didn’t stop us from snacking on them with a cup of hot chocolate (coffee, tea and milk work, too). We also tossed the pillows atop whipped cream garnishes and stuffed them between scoops of ice cream, parfait-style.

 

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New Honey Maid Go Bites. Photo courtesy Mondelez International.

 

The nutritional profile is pretty good for a processed snack. Each serving delivers 5g protein and 7g whole grains, while tasting like junk food (in a good way), which will appeal to kids.

You get 26 pillows per serving—that’s a lot—which deliver 5 grams of protein and 7 grams of whole grains. The serving is 140 calories (40 from fat), 1.5g saturated fat (8% DV), 75mg sodium (3% DV) and 10g sugars.

The line is certified kosher by OU. Discover more at HoneyMaid.com.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Key Limes Are In Season

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Darker green Persian/Tahitian limes and the
smaller, yellower Key limes. Photo by Evan
Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.

 

We love the filling of Key lime pie. Not especially a crust fan, we often make the filling alone, to serve crustless in pots de crème or ramekins.

If you’ve had Key lime pie made with fresh-squeezed, as opposed to bottled, juice, you know what an exquisite difference that is. But for many years, Key limes weren’t available nationwide, and then, they were limited to their season of June through August.

So great is America’s love of Key lime pie that the fruits are now available year-round. That means no more bottled juice!

Key limes (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle), also known as Mexican limes and West Indies limes, are grown in the Florida Keys, Mexico and the West Indies. They are much smaller than standard supermarket limes, known as Persian or Tahitian limes (Citrus x latifolia). You can see the relative sizes in the photo. (See all the different types of limes in our Lime Glossary.

About the size of a ping pong ball, the Key lime is rounder and more fragrant than the Persian/Tahitian lime, with a much thinner rind. It has more seeds, and we’ll keep it that way: Breeding out features like seeds tends to breed out flavor as well.

But the real reason people love Key lime is that it’s less acidic than the Persian/Tahitian: pleasantly tart rather than puckery sour. It makes a big difference in a dessert. You can make Key lime pie with regular lime juice, but it will have more tang.

 

When purchasing Key limes, don’t worry if the skin is more yellow than green, or vice versa. Choose limes that are heavy for their size, which indicates more juice. The limes can be kept at room temperature for several days, or will keep for a week or more in the fridge (keep them in a plastic storage bag or wrap them in plastic wrap).

As a general tip, before you juice limes or any citrus, bring them to room temperature; then roll them on the counter under firm pressure from your hand. This will release more juice from the sacs.
 
THE HISTORY OF KEY LIMES

The Key lime, a.k.a. Mexican lime and West Indies lime, originated in neither the Florida Keys nor Mexico nor the West Indies, but in the Indo-Malayan region of southern Asia. It was unknown in Europe before the Crusades and is presumed to have been brought to North Africa and the Near East by Arabs.

It was brought by European Crusaders from Palestine to the Mediterranean countries. In the mid-13th century, the lime was cultivated and well-known in Italy and probably also in France. It was taken to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the early part of the 16th century, where it became naturalized in southern Florida, notably in the Florida Key. It was grown in southern Florida at least since the early half of the 1800s, often as an ornamental yard tree.

By 1883 Key limes were being grown commercially on a small scale. When pineapple cultivation was abandoned in the Florida Keys because of soil depletion and the 1906 hurricane, farmers began to plant Key limes as a substitute crop. Because transporting delicate fruit was iffy in those days, Key limes were pickled in salt water and shipped north, where they became a popular children’s snack. (Remember Amy March in Little Women pining for pickled limes?)

 

HOW TO USE KEY LIMES

Use them wherever you might use regular lime juice: in cocktails like Gin & Tonics and Margaritas, in salad dressings (including fruit salad, where just a squeeze will suffice), on chicken and fish/seafood, in marinades, sauces and soups.

But the flavors soar in desserts. Try these Key Lime Bars (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart).

 
RECIPE: KEY LIME BARS

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 2-1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice (about 23 limes)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Garnish: 2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons
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    Replace the ubiquitous lemon bars with Key lime bars. This recipe from My Baking Addition incorporates coconut into the crust. Photo courtesy My Baking Addition.
    .

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. MIX the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Do not turn off the oven.

    2. MAKE the filling: Put the egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium. Add the condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise the speed to high and mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low. Add lime juice and mix until just combined.

    3. SPREAD the filling evenly over the crust with a spatula. Bake until the filling is just set, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking dish halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Cut into 2-inch-square bars. Ungarnished bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

    4. MAKE the optional whipped cream prior to serving. Place the cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Garnish the bars with whipped cream and serve.
    Cook’s Note

     
    MORE KEY LIME RECIPES

  • Key Lime Pie Recipe
  • Key Lime Pot de Creme Recipe
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