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

Archive for June, 2017

PRODUCTS: 4 New Favorite Foods & Beverages

Belvoir Elderflower & Rose Lemonade

Cholula Sweet Habanero

[1] A drink that says “summer” (photo courtesy Belvoir Fruit Farms). [2] A new, limited edition Cholula Hot Sauce (photo courtesy Jose Cuervo).

 

In two days we head to the Fancy Food Show, a trade show of specialty food producers so vast that, like Disneyland, you can’t possibly see it all, much less eat it all.

So before we head out to find new favorites, here are five more of our current faves, in alphabetical order.
 
 
1. BELVOIR FRUIT FARMS: CORDIALS & FLAVORED LEMONADES

Belvoir calls their beverages “non-alcoholic fruit cordials.” We’d call them elegant non-alcoholic sparkling drinks or a very sophisticated soft drink. But evidently, in the English countryside where they are made, says the company:

“Cordials were originally a way for country people to preserve some of each summer’s glut of fruit for the coming winter. Adding sugar to the fruit juice would stop fermentation and keep the juice fresh for a few months.”

Belvoir Castle is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland. The current duke’s mother infused elderflowers, grown on the estate, into a delicious beverage for family and friends, who couldn’t get enough of it.

Her husband saw a revenue potential, and the family business has been pressing and cooking fresh flowers, fruits and spices since 1981, combining them with local spring water. The line expanded, and is now sold worldwide.

The all-natural flavors include:

  • Elderflower Cordial
  • Ginger Cordial
  • Flavored lemonades: Elderflower, Organic Elderflower, Elderflower & Rose
  • Ginger Beer
  •  
    Each one is a must-try. There are 25.4-ounce full bottles and 8.4-ounce individual bottles. Buy them for yourself, buy them as party favors or as gifts to summer hosts.

    Discover more at BelvoirFruitFarms.com.

    Trivia: Originally, all the elderflowers were handpicked from bushes growing around Lord and Lady John Manners’ garden. The whole family helped to make the first batch of elderflower cordial, chopping the lemons and stirring the syrup. Lord John then popped the 88 cases of drinks into the back of his car and went around to local farm shops, persuading the owners to buy a bottle or two.
     
     
    2. CHOLULA HOT SAUCE: SWEET HABANERO

    Cholula Hot Sauce as had a cult following for some time. Now the cult has another flavor to enjoy.

    Sweet Habanero is a limited-edition flavor in a line that includes Chili Garlic, Chili Lime, Chipotle, Green Pepper and Original. The sweetness comes from pineapple flavor, and it’s a charmer, especially to those, like us, who like sweet + heat.

    The brand is thanking fans for their support by launching the Order of Cholula, in tandem with the new Sweet Habanero.

    Only 1,000 bottles of Sweet Habanero were made, so head to the Order Of Cholula and sign up.

    Trivia: The hot sauce is named after the 2,500-year-old city of Cholula, Puebla, the oldest still-inhabited city in Mexico. The name is derived from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) Chollollan, meaning “the place of the retreat.”

    Cholula, a third-generation family business, is now licensed by Jose Cuervo. It was begin by the Harrison family, originally of Chapala, Jalisco, now of Dallas, Texas. The image on the bottle is a portrait of Harrison family matriarch, Camila Harrison.

     

    3. DR. PEPPER CAKE

    Café Valley Bakery, a leading bakery producer for better grocers, has partnered with Dr. Pepper to create a Dr. Pepper Cake.

    We’re wary of foods that sound like gimmicks, but we’re always willing to try a sample when offered. We’re both happy and sad about this, because Dr. Pepper Cake is so delightful, we ate the whole thing.

    Made with real Dr. Pepper, the cake has a bottom of yellow cake, topped by a Dr. Pepper-flavored layer. The cake is drizzled with white icing.

    Dr. Pepper Cake is is certified kosher (dairy) by OK Kosher. It joins an array Café Valley Bakery soda cakes, including 7UP, Orange Crush, and A&W Root Beer (we haven’t tried any of these).

    The new flavor is available at grocers nationwide. The 26-ounce cake has a suggested retail price of $5.99. Here are the retailers that carry the line.

    Trivia: The Dr. Pepper soft drink is made from a secret formula of 23 flavorings.
     
     
    4. P.B. CRAVE: COCONUT MILK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER

    We have long been fans of P.B. Crave’s flavored peanut butters. These days, the line includes peanut butter and chocolate combinations:

  • Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter
  • Raspberry Dark & White Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Sweet & Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter
  •  
    and the latest:

  • Coconut Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter
  •  

    Dr. Pepper Cake

    PB Crave Milk Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter

    [3] A Dr. Pepper Cake, which goes great with…Dr. Pepper soda pop (photo courtesy Dr. Pepper). [4] The latest in a line of chocolate-peanut butter flavors (photo courtesy PB Crave).

     
    The company calls their newest flavor “a Caribbean beach escape with a blend of coconut, organic honey, and milk chocolate chips.”

    Resistance is futile!

    Discover more of this all-natural line at PBCrave.com. Might we suggest an all-flavor tasting party?

    Trivia: Peanut butter was originally developed by a physician as a protein-packed food for patients who no longer had teeth to chew meat. Here’s the history of peanut butter.

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Turkey For July 4th & All Year ‘Round

    Jennie O Oven Ready Turkey

    Jennie-O Oven Ready Turkey

    Sweet Potato Salad

    [1] and [2] Roast turkey is a year-round treat, especially when all you have to do is put a frozen turkey in a bag in the oven (photos courtesy Jennie-O). [3] Sweet potato salad made summery with corn and tomatoes. Here’s the recipe from Averie Cooks.

     

    June is National Turkey Lover’s Month.

    There are turkey burgers and turkey hot dogs, ground turkey for meatballs or meat loaf, and turkey sandwiches from turkey breast or [far less appealing] turkey roll.

    But the turkey everyone looks forward to is the Thanksgiving turkey (well, except a few folks like our friend Terry’s dad, who doesn’t like poultry).

    So why is a roast turkey on the table only once a year?
     
    THE EASIEST ROAST TURKEY YOU CAN MAKE, ANYTIME

    You can have a delicious turkey (photo #1) year-round with very little effort, with an oven-ready frozen turkey from Jennie-O. It’s our best discovery so far this year.

    The turkey comes in a bag with a handle for easy carrying (photo #2). Thanks to whomever thought of this (and other turkey producers, take note).

    Just take the turkey from the freezer, remove the outer bag, and place the frozen turkey, housed in an inner bag, into the oven.

    That’s it: There’s nothing to baste or watch over. It cooks up super-moist and juicy. And clean-up is minimal.

    We received our Jennie-O Oven-Ready Whole Turkey as a sample. We couldn’t believe it would be as easy as described, or produce as good a turkey as the typical frozen turkey, thawed before roasting.

    But it is! Jennie-O has a new customer in us, and we’ll have whole roasted turkey much more often, and soon (see the next section).

    We also will likely forgo our annual heirloom bird at Thanksgiving, because Jennie-O Oven Ready is just too easy to pass up. (And who likes to scrub a roasting pan?)

    TURKEY FOR JULY 4TH

    We’re having a roast turkey on July 4th. Turkey was almost America’s national bird, after all. As for those burgers, franks, chicken and steaks: We have them all the time. They’re not exactly a celebration.

    There won’t be stuffing or cranberry sauce. We’re making summer sides: sweet potato salad, and a farmers market green salad with a dried cranberry vinaigrette.

    We have three bags of cranberries in the freezer, and are planning cranberry sorbet for dessert.

    Some participants have been asked to bring potluck dishes that complement a summer roast turkey. We know two of them: corn salad and zucchini ribbon “pasta” salad. We can’t wait to see what the others bring!
     
    BACK TO JENNIE-O…

    Jennie-O Oven Ready Whole Turkey is also available with Cajun seasonings. Both come with a packet of gravy.

    The gravy included with our turkey is not the greatest; but we added Gravy Master, and then bourbon, which helped.

    Truth to tell, the turkey is so moist and flavorful, no gravy is necessary. Or, you can make gravy from the drippings in the bag.

     
    Don’t like dark meat? Jennie-O offers Oven Ready Turkey Breast options: Bone In, Cajun Bone In, and Boneless.

    Check out the line of Jennie-O turkey products including fresh, natural turkeys; cutlets; franks and brats; burgers and ground meat; tenderloins; sausages; meatballs, bacon; even turkey pot roast!

    Need turkey tips? Visit Jennie-O for:

  • How to Buy a Whole Turkey
  • How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey
  • How to Brine a Turkey
  • How to Marinate a Turkey
  • How to Rub a Turkey
  • How to Cook a Turkey
  • How to Ensure a Juicy Turkey
  • How to Grill a Turkey, Gas Or Charcoal
  • How to Smoke a Turkey
  • How to Carve a Turkey
  • How to Store Leftover Turkey Properly
  • How To Slow Cook A Turkey Breast
  •  
    THE HISTORY OF THE TURKEY
     
      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Recipe You’ve Been Saving “For The Right Time”

    We have the bad habit of collecting recipes. Not making them, mind you, just collecting them.

    Whether torn from magazines or saved digitally, we have so many recipes, we could publish a cookbook series called “Recipes We Never Tried.”

    Yesterday, we tore from The New York Times the this recipe for namoura, a Lebanese semolina pan cake, soaked in a flavored sugar-syrup and garnished with almonds.

    It sounded delicious and we wanted to try it, but we wondered if we’d ever get around to making it. And then we created a tip for ourselves:

    A Really Good Idea

    Once a month, go through the collection of Recipes We Never Tried and make one, just one. At the same time, toss 10 recipes we’re not likely to make anytime soon, if ever.

    If you do this on a Friday night or Saturday morning, you have the weekend to cook the chosen recipe.

    Following the accounting principle of FIFO—first in, first out—we’re making namoura on Saturday. If we don’t get to Kalustyan’s for lavender extract, we’ll use rose water.

    What We’re Tossing Today

    Digging through the pile, we came across the recipe below, from Whole Foods. We’re not sure why we saved it; we make crostini with goat cheese and strawberries often.

    But since it’s summer and strawberries are a nice summer crostini topping, before we hit the delete button, we share it with you, adapted from the original.

    More Summer Crostini Suggestions

    Try this BLT guacamole crostini recipe with juicy summer heirloom cherry tomatoes.

    For entertaining, set up a DIY crostini bar (or if you’re outdoors near a grill, a DIY bruschetta bar.

    The difference between crostini and bruschetta starts with the bread: crostini is toasted; bruschetta is rubbed with a garlic clove, brushed with olive oil and grilled.

    RECIPE: GOAT CHEESE & STRAWBERRY OR TOMATO CROSTINI

    Ingredients

  • 12 slices baguette, lightly toasted
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese or other spreadable cheese
  • 1 cup diced strawberries (or berries of choice, or tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Feta-Pear Crostini

    Strawberry Goat Cheese Crostini

    Pint Of Strawberries

    Cherry Tomatoes

    [1] and [2] The crostini recipe (photos courtesy Whole Foods) with [3] strawberries (photo courtesy Good Eggs). Or, [4] substitute tomatoes for the strawberries (photo courtesy Sunset Produce).

     
    1. SPREAD the toasted baguette slices with goat cheese and top with strawberries and basil, pressing to help the strawberry pieces adhere.

    2a. DRIZZLE with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with basil and a generous amount of black pepper.

    2b. VARIATION: Instead of drizzling, toss the diced berries and basil in oil and vinegar.

    The variation makes the crostini less drippy than if they were drizzled with oil and vinegar; and it better integrates the strawberries and basil. The net taste remains the same.

    FOOD 101: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN APPETIZERS & HORS D’OEUVRE

    These terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference:

    Hors d’oeuvre, pronounced or-DERV, a French term that refers to finger food(s) served with drinks prior to the meal. The name means “outside the work,” i.e., not part of the main meal.

    Hors d’oeuvre were traditionally one-bite items, artistically constructed, like canapés (a subgroup of hors d’oeuvre). Today, in the U.S., the category of has expanded to include such bites as mini quiches and tarts, skewers, baby lamb chops, stuffed mushrooms, etc.

    Note that in French, there’s no extra “s” for the plural: It’s the same spelling as the singular form.

    An appetizer is a first course, served at the table and, in larger portions than hors d’oeuvre.

    While you can plate multiple hors d’oeuvres as an appetizer, an appetizer can be many things—from a crab cake to a plated slice of quiche to a salad (in the U.S.—the French serve salad after the main course).

    What about crackers and cheese, crudités and dips, salsa and chips, and other American snack foods served with pre-dinner drinks?

    Since they are finger foods, technically you can call them hors d’oeuvre. Or, as the French might say (sneer?), American hors d’oeuvre.

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Ingredients For Summer Tacos

    Summer Chicken Tacos

    Fish Mango Tacos

    Chicken tacos with radish and avocado. Here’s the recipe from Heather Christo. [2] Fish tacos with mango. Here’s the recipe from How Sweet It Is.

     

    The 2017 summer solstice falls on Wednesday, June 21st at 12:24 A.M. If you’re having a midnight dinner tonight, you can officially have summer tacos.

    What are summer tacos? Tacos with lighter ingredients: chicken, fish and vegetarian instead of beef; summer vegetables used as garnish or in vegetarian tacos.

    Bonus: These ingredients are more bountiful in the summer; hence, better priced.

    Here are 12 ingredients to add to your tacos:

    1. Basil. While it’s available year-round, fresh basil in a Caprese salad is the aroma of summer. Add some shredded basil to the taco or mix chopped basil into salsa. If you’re near a farmers market, pick up different varieties: lemon basil, opal (purple) basil, etc.

    2. Beans. Add beans and/or grilled tofu to a vegetarian taco. Use black beans, or think outside the conventional box of beans.

    3. Chives. For a subtle onion flavor, consider some chopped chives. We often add chopped red onion; but in the hot weather, chives are a lighter alternative.

    4. Corn. Use fresh corn kernels as a topping. You don’t need to cook them. Or, make corn salsa.

    5. Eggplant. While not the most obvious addition to a taco, it makes a delicious vegetarian taco and also pairs well with chicken and fish. Grill it and add it. For a vegetarian taco, combine it with summer squash and beans.

    6. Fish. Most Tex-Mex restaurants use frozen tilapia, a lower-cost fish (better restos use mahi-mahi). After you fry it and add the garnishes, who notices? We notice! During the summer, better fish are available in larger quantities; thus the price goes down. Treat yourself to black sea bass or striped bass, grouper, hake, mahi-mahi or red snapper (if you like strong fish flavors, we recommend bluefish, usually a bargain). Enjoy the fresh fish flavor with grilled—not battered and fried—fish.

    7. Jalapeños. Pickle your own: Slice them and add to a jar with brining liquid to cover (one part white vinegar, one part water and a big pinch each of salt and sugar). Add garlic or other spices or aromatics (e.g. diced onion). Then cap the jar, shake to blend, and keep in the fridge.

    8. Mango and pineapple. Dice and use them as a sweet contrast. We like mango as is, and the pineapple grilled.

     
    9. Radishes. This spicy veg adds crunch to the taco. Check farmers markets for heirloom varieties.

    10. Summer squash. Zucchini and yellow squash, also available year-round, are at their best in the summer. Chop them raw, add grilled zucchini to chicken and fish tacos, make squash salsa.

    11. Tomatillos. These green orbs—not related to tomatoes—are the base of salsa verde. You can add them raw, sliced, to the taco, or make your own salsa verde. Simply husk the tomatillos, give them a light char on the grill or under the broiler, and toss them into a food processor with cilantro, sliced jalapeños, salt and lime juice.

    12. Tomatoes. They’re at their best and least expensive in summer. Treat yourself to heirloom tomatoes. Diced or sliced, they make a big difference over the bland plum tomatoes used year-round.
     
     
    These ingredients will make better Taco Tuesdays, for sure!

    Tonight we’re having black bean, grilled zucchini and corn tacos. How about you?

     
      

    Comments off

    PRODUCT: Grow Your Own Tea

    If you live in hardiness zones 8-10—the southern United States—and have a spot with full sun, you can grow your own tea with plants from Burpee.

    One individual commenting on the Burpee website had success in Zone 6.

    Here’s the USDA map of hardiness zones.

    Tea, Camellia sinensis, is a perennial plant. The same plant yields black, green and white tea. The difference is in the processing; basically, how much heat is applied to dry the leaves.

    At $16.95 per plant, it’s a fun opportunity to grow what you drink; and if you have younger children, a nifty project.

    You harvest and dry the tea leaves in a wok or pan.

    Buy the plants now and harvest them in the fall. Send some as gifts to tea-loving friends with green thumbs. Here’s where to order.

    Different states have particular shipping restrictions. For example, you can’t ship lemongrass plants to California or Colorado, or potato plants to Florida or Montana.

    Check here to see if tea plants can be shipped to your state.
     
     
    PREFER HERBAL TEA?

    Herbs can be grown anywhere! Read our article on growing herbal tea at home.
     
     
    TEA TIME: TIME TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TEA

    A Year Of Tea Party Ideas

    Black Vs. Green Vs. White Tea

    Brewing The Perfect Cup Of Tea

    Have An Iced Tea Party

    The History Of Tea

    Pairing Tea With Food

    Tea Glossary: All The Tea Terms You Need To Know

     

    Grow Your Own Tea
    Grow it.

    Cup Of Tea
    Drink it.

    Cup Of Green Tea

    Enjoy it! (Photo #1 courtesy Burpee, photo #2 courtesy Chateau Rouge Fine Foods, photo #3 courtesy Republic Of Tea._

     

      

    Comments off



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