THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for August 18, 2015

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Blossom Water

For two years we’ve had our eye on Blossom Water, an innovative beverage in a crowded field that has not yet gotten the distribution we think it deserves. We keep checking the store locator, hoping for something near us.

We drink it at the trade show where we first discovered it; and we do buy it online. A 4-bottle package that’s $12.00 has a shipping cost of $4.95.

And we think it’s worth it. But we want to drink so much Blossom Water, that the shipping charges quickly add up. (Blossom Water folks: Can you put the product on Amazon so we can at least use Amazon Prime?)

Perhaps by publishing a rave review, some retailers will take notice. So here it is:

WHY DO WE LOVE BLOSSOM WATER?

The flavors are perfectly blended:

  • Grapefruit Lilac
  • Lemon Rose
  • Plum Jasmine
  • Pomegranate Geranium
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    Lemon Rose Blossom Water. Photo courtesy Blossom Water.

     
    We have particular favorites, but every palate is different so please try them all.

    The flavors taste exactly as they sound: like a delicious sip of nature. We love each flavor as is, so we haven’t considered adding gin, which itself is made with botanicals that would complement those in Blossom Water.

    We’ll get around to it; but for 45 calories for an entire bottle of heaven, we’re not in a rush to add more calories.

     

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    Grapefruit Lilac Blossom Water. Photo courtesy Blossom Water.

     

    The delicately nuanced flavors are refreshing for every day drinking and for special occasions, including lawn parties, showers and weddings, holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

    The beautifully-designed bottles are also ready to serve as party favors.

    OK, men: You think it’s a chick product. But it’s a beverage for anyone whose palate seeks exciting new flavors.

    The only solution: Taste it for yourself.

    Discover more at DrinkBlossomWater.com, and ask your specialty store manager or supermarket beverage manager to bring some in. They, too, will never know until they try.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Chilled Blueberry Banana Soup

    Our recent article on chilled soup featured a recipe for Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup. It’s a great starter.

    But chilled fruit soups are great summer desserts, and they couldn’t be easier to make. Just toss the ingredients into a blender or food processor, whirl, and it’s ready to serve.

    RECIPE: CHILLED BLUEBERRY BANANA SOUP

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2-¼ cups blueberries, divided
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1½ cups ice
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup frozen vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
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    Preparation

       

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    Blueberry soup: pretty in purple. Photo courtesy BlueberryCouncil.org.

    1. COMBINE 2 cups of the blueberries, the banana, ice, milk, frozen yogurt, sugar and lemon juice in blender.

    2. PROCESS until smooth. Divide equally into four bowls.

    3. GARNISH with the remaining blueberries and frozen yogurt or ice cream.
     
    Find more delicious blueberry recipes at BlueberryCouncil.org.

     

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    When blueberry prices are low in season, try as many blueberry recipes as you can. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.

     

    ABOUT FRUIT SOUP

    A fruit soup can be made from fresh or dried fruits and served hot or cold. It can be served as a first course or for dessert. It also can be an intermezzo or palate cleanser between fish and meat courses.

    Cold soups tend to be made with seasonal fruit and are thus served in warmer weather. Soups made of dried fruits, such as Norwegian fruktsuppe, made of raisins and prunes, can be served hot or cold in any season.

  • Fruit soups can be cream soups or purées, with or without the addition of fruit juice.
  • They can include alcohol, such as brandy, champagne, Port or wine.
  • Sweet fruit soups can include meat; and in at least one instance, a fruit soup can be completely savory, like the Chinese winter melon soup. Technically, cucumber, which makes a delicious chilled soup, is also a fruit (it’s related to watermelon); but it’s treated as a vegetable in Western cuisine.
  • Fruit soup can be garnished with fresh cheese, such as fromage blanc or mascarpone; with cultured creams such as crème fraîche, sour cream and yogurt; and with ice cream or sorbet.
  • Examples of dessert soups from other cultures include etrog, a citron soup eaten during the Jewish feast of Succoth; ginataan (guinataan), a Filipino soup made from coconut milk, fruits and tapioca; and oshiruko, a Japanese soup made from the adzuki bean (the same bean used to make red bean ice cream).
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    Check out the history of soup and the different types of soup in our Soup Glossary.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Lettuce Wraps ~ Wrap It Up

    Lettuce wraps are a Vietnamese specialty, often used as an appetizer or side instead of a main course. But for a light, better-for-you lunch or dinner, we enjoy them as a main.

    Lettuce wraps are a fun, interactive course for lunch or dinner. You can wrap up any boneless protein in a lettuce leaf; or make it a vegetarian dish, using anything from tofu or seitan to stir-fried vegetables.

    While the recipe below is so easy it can be made on weekdays, it’s also festive for Labor Day weekend. The secret is pre-cooked Tony Roma’s Boneless Ribs (other brands sell a similar product).

    The meaty ribs ready to heat and eat. You can heat them on the grill, in the oven or in the microwave. The ribs are sold at Sam’s Club and other retailers nationwide.

    The other tasks are simply to wash the lettuce, make a quick Asian slaw and set out the sauces. If you want to cut back on the number of sauces, just pick the one everyone will like (we recommend hoisin*). Whatever you choose should be thick, so it doesn’t dribble out of the wrap.

       

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    Wrap cooked boneless ribs in lettuce leaves and top with Asian slaw, cilantro and a sauce of choice. Photo courtesy Tony Roma’s.

     
    *Hoisin sauce is a thick, sweet-and-pungent sauce popular in Chinese cuisine as a glaze for meat, an addition to stir fries, as dipping sauce and a condiment (e.g., in lettuce wraps as well as dishes with pancake wrap such as Moo Shoo Pork and Peking Duck). It is dark brown in color. Hoisin is not the same as plum sauce, which is an orange-colored sweet and sour sauce. In Vietnamese, hoisin sauce is called tuong den.
     

    WHAT ARE BONELESS RIBS?

    Boneless ribs, also called country-style pork ribs or or pork shoulder country-style ribs, are thick strips of meat cut from the pig’s shoulder. They come from a cut called the pork shoulder steak; so they are not actually from the rib cage, but look like the meat removed from a rib. They are marinated and seasoned before cooking.

    Boneless ribs, also called pork loin country-style ribs, can be cut from the shoulder blade as well. They can be sold bone-in, but the bone is usually to make them boneless.
     

     

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    Boneless country-style pork ribs. Photo courtesy Calumet Diversified Meats.

     

    RECIPE: BONELESS RIB LETTUCE WRAPS

    Since the ribs are pre-cooked, prep time is just 15 minutes; cook time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 32 ounces† Tony Roma’s Boneless Pork Ribs
  • 12 leaves of crisp green leaf lettuce (we use romaine hearts, but Boston or bibb work well too)
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    For The Slaw

  • 1 radish, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons sweet rice vinegar
  • Salt to taste
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    †There are 3 boneless ribs in each 16-ounce package and 6 boneless ribs in each 32-ounce package. Each person can have two lettuce wraps.
     
    For The Garnish

  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
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    For The Sauces

  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sambal oelek chili sauce or Sriracha hot sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
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    Preparation

    1. WASH the lettuce and pat dry with paper towels.

    2. PREPARE the boneless ribs per package instructions.

    3. MAKE the salad topping: Combine the radish, carrot, cucumber and green onions in a mixing bowl. Add the sweet rice vinegar and season with a pinch of salt (or more to taste). Gently toss and set aside in a cool place. When ready to serve…

    4. INSTRUCT everyone on how to serve themselves: Take a lettuce leaf and place a strip of boneless rib in center. Top with some of the slaw; then garnish with cilantro and choice of sauces (hoisin, Sriracha, sambal oelek, sweet chili).

      

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