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Archive for March 20, 2015

FOOD HOLIDAY: National Bock Beer Day

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A double bock beer from Samuel Adams, shown with a scattering of the hops used to brew it. Photo by Julia Tomases | THE NIBBLE.

 

Bock is the German word for strong, referring to a strong beer brewed from barley malt. It’s a dark, heavy, rich, sweet, complex beer, similar to Münchener* beers, but stronger. A true bock-style beer has a foam collar “thick enough to steady a pencil.”

Bock is a style that originated in Saxony (capital Dresden), on the eastern border of central Germany, adjacent to Poland and the Czech Republic.

Originally used to celebrate the end of the brewing season† (May), bock beer (Bockbier in German) was brewed in the winter for consumption in the spring.

It was originally brewed by top fermentation in the Hanseatic League‡ town of Einbeck (beck bier became bock bier) in Lower Saxony, where it is still brewed and known as Ur-Bock, the original bock.

But the style has evolved. Initially brewed with top fermenting yeast (“ale yeast”), German bock beers are now brewed by bottom fermentation (with “lager yeast,” which weren’t discovered until the 15th century). and are usually dark brown.

A modern bock can range from light copper to brown in color. There are varieties that can be very different in style:

 

  • Doppelbock (double bock), a stronger and maltier recipe.
  • Eisbock (ice bock), a much stronger variety made by partially freezing the beer and removing the ice, thus concentrating the flavor.
  • Maibock (pronounced MY-bock), also called helles bock or heller bock, a paler, more hopped version generally made for consumption at spring festivals (hence Mai, the German word for May).
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    Pale bocks are increasing in popularity, and a distinction is sometimes made between light bock beer and dark bock beer. Because the word bock also means billy goat in German, a goat is often found on the labels of bock beer brands.

     
    *Munich is the capital of Bavaria, in southeast Germany; the German name is München. A Münchener is a beer from Munich; for example, Münchener Dunkel, a full-bodied, malty and sweet-style dark lager beer that is a model for other Bavarian-style beers.

    †Modern refrigeration enabled brewers to make a uniform product year round. Previously, brewers had to work with the natural temperature of caves to provide an environment cold enough for the yeast to ferment. As a result, styles evolved to work with seasonal temperatures (lighter beers in the summer, for example).

    ‡The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds in Northern Europe. Created to protect commercial interests and privileges, it existed from the 13th through 17th centuries.

      

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    PRODUCT: Snappers ~ Pretzels, Chocolate & Caramel

    March Madness is underway. At THE NIBBLE, it’s not just about rooting for your favorite college team(s). It’s what to snack on while you’re watching the games.

    Made by the third generation of a family whose grandparents established a soda fountain and confectionery in Pittsburgh, Snappers are a sweet-and-salty snack made from rectangular pretzels, drizzled with chocolate and caramel. Yum!

    You can find them in:

  • Original Snappers
  • Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Snappers, with a sprinkling of sea salt
  • Peanut Pretzel Snappers, with salted peanuts added to the mix
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    The 6-ounce bags are available nationwide at Target stores and other major retailers including Albertsons, Costco, Giant and Jewel-Osco. Here’s the longer list of retailers.

    At $3.99 a bag, Snappers hit the spot!

     

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    Snappers are in our snack bracket. Photo courtesy Snappers.

     

      

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    PRODUCT: Gluten-Free Walkers Shortbread

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    Our favorite Walkers Shortbread is chock-full
    of chocolate chips. Photo by Julia Tomases |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    Good news for gluten-free followers: Scotland’s Walkers Shortbread, beloved by many, now has GF options. And they’re delicious: the same pure buttery shortbread flavor, freed of gluten:

  • Gluten Free Pure Butter Shortbread, the classic
  • Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread, our favorite (because what cookie can’t be made even better with the addition of chocolate chips?)
  • Gluten Free Ginger & Lemon Shortbread, made with stem ginger
  • The company worked on the recipes for a long time, to maintain the traditional flavor of Walkers Shortbread without compromise on texture and flavor.

    Every batch is tested to be sure it meets the FDA standard* for gluten free food.

    Founded in 1898, the family owned company still bakes the shortbread, cookies and oatcakes in their home village of Aberlour, in the Scottish Highlands. It’s the leading brand of food exported from Scotland.

     
    Walkers products are fit for royalty: In 2002, by Royal Warrant of Appointment, Walkers became the official supplier of oatcakes to Her Majesty the Queen.

    The line is all natural and certified OU-D kosher. Discover more at US.WalkersShortbread.com.

    Approximately 2 million people in the U.S. suffer from celiac* disease, and another 18 million have gluten sensitivity. Still others choose to eat a gluten-free diet.

    And now, that diet can include shortbread!
     
    *Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people. The ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Eat Sunny Food

    It’s no fun looking out the window on the first day of spring, waiting for the snowfall to begin. So to counter the gray skies and eat something bright and sunny.

    Anticipating the weather, we acquired a ripe papaya and other fruits for this recipe from Hannah Kaminsky, who is wintering in Hawaii.

    “At the Salted Lemon Smoothie & Juice Bar,” she writes, “they’ve perfected the art of building an unsinkable papaya boat. Local orange and pink-hued fruits, more brilliant than a sunrise in paradise, are hollowed out and stuffed to the brim with granola, yogurt, banana slices and blueberries, and finished with a light shower of chia seeds.

    “The contrast between creamy yogurt and crunchy cereal, flavored with the ripe and juicy fresh fruits, is so simple yet so satisfying,” she concludes.

    And on a day like today, in the gloomy Northeast, it provides something bright that says “Happy spring!”

    RECIPE: PAPAYA BOAT

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 medium or large papaya, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 6-ounce yogurt, fruit, plain or vanilla
  • 1 medium banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries or raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
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    Have papaya as part of a sunny breakfast or lunch. Photo © Hanna Kaminsky.

  • Optional: sweetener to taste* (agave, honey, maple syrup)
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    *If the fruit isn’t sweet enough.

     

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    A halved papaya with a fanciful cut. Photo ©
    Hannah Kaminsky.

     

    Preparation

    1. DIVIDE a half cup of granola between two plates to set up a “foundation” for the papaya boat. This will help prevent it from capsizing when you eat it, and it also provides a layer of crunchy cereal to enjoy.

    2. PLACE the remaining granola inside the papaya halves (1/4 cup inside of each) and top that with the yogurt, spooning equal amounts into the two boats.

    3. ARRANGE the sliced banana and berries as desired. Top with a sprinkle of chia seeds.

    4. FINISH with a light drizzle of syrup as desired.
     
    HOW TO BUY PAPAYA

    1. When papaya ripens, the green skin will turn mostly yellow with patches of red. Smell the fruit at the stem end; a ripe papaya will be fragrant.

     
    2. Squeeze the papaya gently; it will give a little if it is ripe. Avoid papayas that are overly soft. You can ripen the papaya on the counter in a brown paper bag overnight, or place it in a sunny spot for a day or two.

    3. You can refrigerate a ripe papaya in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days.
     
    CAN YOU EAT PAPAYA SEEDS?

    You can use papaya in any number of recipes, or simply eat it like a melon. Wash the outside, cut the fruit lengthwise and discard the seeds.

    But do the seeds have any other use?

    While there is no scientific evidence, in some circles the seeds have caught on as a potential health food. They are nontoxic, should you want to try them.

    You can eat papaya seeds whole, or can grind them up. Here’s how to do it from WikiHow, which claims that the taste is “fairly similar” to ground pepper.

    The skin should not be eaten.
     
    MORE SUNNY FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Yellow/Orange fruits: apples, apricots, cape gooseberries, cantaloupe, golden kiwi, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, nectarines, oranges/mandarins, papapyas, peaches, pears, persimmons, pineapples, tangerines, yellow figs, yellow watermelon.
  • Yellow/Orange vegetables: acorn/butternut/pumpkin/other squash varieties, beets, bell peppers, carrots, corn, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, summer squash, Yukon gold/other yellow potatoes, yellow tomatoes, yellow winter squash varieties.
  • Red/pink fruits: apples, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, grapes, grapefruit, pears, pomegranates, raspberries, red pears, strawberries, watermelon.
  • Red/pink vegetables: beets, bell peppers, radicchio, radishes, red onions, red potatoes, rhubarb, tomatoes.
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