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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Bread, Crackers, Muffins, Sandwiches

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Scuffins

apricot-scuffin-230

Surprise: a center of apricot conserve. The
black flecks are flaxseeds. Photo courtesy
Frog Hollow Farm.

 

Today’s tip comes from Frog Hollow Farm, a beloved grower of organic fruit in Brentwood, California, an hour east of San Francisco in the fertile Sacramento River Delta.

Before there was the cronut, there was the scuffin. Necessity was the mother of invention.

Some five years ago, Frog Hollow Farm began to make frozen purées from fruit that wasn’t cosmetically attractive enough to sell to consumers. They then set about creating products from the purées, and the winner was the scuffin.

What sounds like a cross between a scone and a muffin is actually a triple hybrid, which includes the center of a jelly donut— substituting conserve, jam or preserve for the jelly. (Here are the differences between jelly, jam, conserve, etc.)

A hearty, sconelike dough formed into a muffin shape, a scuffin is more dense than a muffin, with a texture that goes from a crisp exterior and crumbly scone interior to center of smooth fruit filling, made from the purée. It eliminates the need to choose between a scone and a muffin. They can be breakfast bread, snack or dessert.

Served at the Frog Hollow Café in San Fransicso’s Ferry Building, the scuffin was an instant hit. The whole grain flour and flaxseeds, add healthful elements and a nuttiness that pairs well with the jam.

 
Total prep and baking time is 1 hour.

RECIPE: SCUFFINS

Ingredients For 12 Scuffins

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 ounces), plus 2 tablespoons for buttering muffin cups
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (4 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (3 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal or wheat germ (1 ounce)
  • 3 tablespoons light brown or raw sugar (2 ounces), plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup fruit jam, conserves, preserves or fruit butter (do not use jelly or marmalade)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a microwave or over very gentle heat. Using a pastry brush, butter the cups of a standard-size 12-cup muffin tin (3-1/2-ounce-capacity). Let each coat of butter cool, then apply another coat; continue until the 2 tablespoons are all used.

    2. COMBINE dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, add to the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until just combined.

    3. WHISK together the egg, milk and cream in another bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and mix to combine (the dough will be quite sticky).

    4. RESERVING about a quarter of the dough for topping, scoop 2 tablespoons dough into each cup. Using the back of a spoon, press the dough gently down into the cups. The dough will move up the sides, and there should be a shallow well in each dough cup. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t come all the way up to the top; there should be about 1/2 inch of space between the top of the dough and the rim of the cup.

     

    nectarine-scuffin-froghollowfarm-230

    Scuffins filled with blueberry preserves. Photo courtesy Frog Hollow Farm.

     
    5. SPOON about 1 tablespoon of jam into each well. Using your fingers, pinch the remaining dough into small clumps and scatter evenly over the jam in each cup, making a bumpy topping. Sprinkle sugar over the tops.

    6. BAKE 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned. Let cool in the pan on a rack; run a blade around the sides of each scuffin before turning out.

    Variations

  • Try different flavors of jams and preserves.
  • Use different spices—nutmeg, ginger or allspice, for example, instead of cinnamon or cardamom.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Get Better Crackers

    raincoast-crisps-boxes-230

    The Nibble’s reigning favorite cracker. Photo
    by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We’ve eaten more than our share of supermarket crackers—Carr’s Water Biscuits, Keebler Club Crackers, Nabisco Saltines, Ritz Crackers and the like. They’re good, but sometimes we want amazing.

    Special occasions deserve special crackers—to accompany cheese, dips, salads, soups, spreads, whatever. They may be pricier than the supermarket varieties, but if your palate craves excitement and your eyes want visual allure, it’s money well spent.

    Otherwise stated, Cracker Barrel makes perfectly tasty Cheddar cheese. But if we want a great Cheddar experience, we’ll spring for Fiscalini Farmstead, a great artisan wheel from California.

    It can be a challenge to find great crackers, even when you know what you’re looking for. Recently we raced through three specialty food stores in search of Raincoast Crisps, our current favorite cracker. We finally found them at Dean & Deluca retail and etail, and also online at iGourmet.com.

    They’re $6.79 for a six-ounce box at iGourmet, and a whopping $10 at DDL. The amazing flavors and textures and small batch production make it worth the special-occasion splurge. They’re exquisite absolutely plain or however you wish to serve them.

     
    Three more-affordable brands of special crackers we favor, all natural and artisan (small batch, better ingredients):

    Dr. Kracker

    Rolled by hand, these artisan flatbreads are long on flavor and unique in their appearance. Each cracker is topped a generous number of attractive—and healthy—seeds, sesame, sunflower, and/or pumpkin.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
  •  

    Mary’s Gone Crackers

    Mary’s Gone Crackers are gluten-free and vegan, yet packed with so much flavor you start to wonder what is in them that makes them taste so vibrant and delicious (the answer: whole grain brown rice, whole quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds). They’re also organic, whole grain and OU kosher.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
  •  
    La Panzanella Croccantini

    Unlike the previous recommendations, which are whole grain and laden with seeds, nuts or fruits, La Panzanella Croccantini provide classic Italian flare. Made from white flour, even the plain version is wonderful, but cracked pepper, garlic and rosemary versions add extra flavor. The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
  •  
    You can also browse the shelves at specialty food stores and try whatever looks good.

     

    raincoast-crisps-blue-cheese-230

    Raincoast Crisps with cheese. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    As with government, people get the crackers they deserve. If no one wants to pay more for better products, the shelves get stacked with more varieties of Ritz and saltines.
     
    HOW TO RE-CRISP SOGGY CRACKERS

    As crisp as they begin, crackers will attract moisture over time and get soggy. But you can easily re-crisp them:

    1. Put the crackers in the microwave on a paper towel. Don’t overlap.

    2. Microwave them for 40 seconds on medium/high.

    3. Allow the crackers to cool for 3-5 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool down.

    Crunch away!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Roasted Cherry Tomato Cups

    roastedtomato-solo-triscuit-230

    Crunchy Triscuit cups. Photo courtesy
    Nabisco.

     

    Just in time for Labor Day lounging, the folks at Triscuit sent us this fun appetizer idea. Who’d have thought of soaking Triscuits to form crunchy cups?

    You can fill the cups with anything, from hummus to artichoke dip; but start with colorful cherry tomatoes and enjoy with a glass of wine or beer.

    Prep time is 25 minutes, total time is 45 minutes. You can find more recipes on the Triscuit website.

    RECIPE: ROASTED CHERRY TOMATO CUPS

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

  • 24 Triscuit Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (recipe follows)
  • 24 tiny sprigs fresh thyme, optional for serving
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.

    2. FILL a 9-by-13-inch pan halfway with warm water. Add Triscuit crackers in 2 batches and soak, turning twice until just soft, about 2 minutes, no more than 3 minutes.

    3. OIL two 12 cup or one 24 cup mini muffin tins. Press a softened Triscuit into each cup, pressing and molding any cracks together. Sprinkle each with cheese. Bake until firm and slightly more golden, about 25 minutes. When ready to serve…

    4. FILL each cup with a roasted cherry tomato, and drizzle a little sauce over top of each one. Garnish with thyme and serve immediately.
     

    RECIPE: ROASTED CHERRY TOMATO SAUCE

    Prep time 5 minutes, cook time 40-45 minutes.

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Arrange tomatoes and garlic in a non-reactive 9×5-inch baking dish/loaf pan (see note below on non-reactive cookware).

    2. WHISK together olive oil, vinegar, thyme, sugar and salt. Drizzle over tomatoes and garlic.

    3. BAKE until the tomatoes are wilted and caramelized, about 40-45 minutes. Let cool. You can pre-make and store cooled tomatoes and juices in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

    WHAT IS A NON-REACTIVE PAN?

    Cookware can be made of reactive or non-reactive materials. Reactive materials can interact negatively with acidic foods and light-colored foods, and should be avoided in preparing these them.

  • Reactive Pans: Aluminum and copper are two popular cookware metals that conduct heat extremely well, but react chemically with acidic foods, imparting a metallic taste. They also can discolor light-colored foods like soups and sauces. (Metal utensils—spoons or whisks, for example—can also react with these food, so opt for silicone or silicone-coated.)
  •  

    Triscuit_BOX_Rosemary_Olive_Oil-230

    How many different varieties of Triscuit are there? The answer is below. Photo courtesy Nabisco.

  • Most copper pots and pans are lined with tin to prevent any reaction, but the tin can scratch easily and expose the food to the copper underneath. Similarly, anodized aluminum provides some protection; but it’s best to choose a different vessel. Note that while cast-iron is considered reactive, we and our colleagues have cooked tomato-sauce based recipes for years in a heavy cast iron pot, with no problem whatsoever.
  • Non-Reactive Pans: Non-reactive cookware is made from clay (terracotta), enamel, glass, plastic and stainless steel. While they don’t react with food, these materials don’t conduct or retain heat as well as the reactive metals. Stainless steel cookware can be made with an aluminum or copper bottom to better conduct the heat. Glass cookware retains heat well but conducts it poorly. Enamelware is non-reactive but can easily scratch and chip.
  •  
    TRISCUIT TRIVIA

    When you think Triscuit, do you think “shredded wheat?” That’s what they’re made from!

    Now made by Nabisco, Triscuit snack crackers were invented in 1900 at the Shredded Wheat Company of Niagara Falls, New York. They were awarded a patent in 1902, and commercial production began in 1903.

    For their first 20 years, Triscuits were not today’s two-inch squares, but 2-1/4 by 4-inch rectangles. In 1935, the manufacturer began spraying the crackers with oil and adding salt.

    In 1984, new flavors were introduced, and the crackers were made even crisper. We counted 21 varieties:

  • Whole Grain Wheat Line: Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil, Dill & Olive Oil, Fire Roasted Tomato & Olive Oil, Garden Herb, Hint of Salt, Original, Original Minis, Reduced Fat, Rosemary & Olive Oil, Roasted Garlic, Wheat Rye With Caraway Seeds.
  • Brown Rice & Wheat Line: Cinnamon Sugar, Roasted Red Pepper, Roasted Sweet Onion, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Sour Cream & Chives, Sweet Potato & Sea Salt, Tomato & Sweet Basil, BWasabi & Soy Sauce.
  • Thin Crisps Line: Original, Parmesan Garlic.
  •  
    In terms of where you find the supermarket shelf with all of these tempting choices, we know not!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Party With Veggie Sandwiches

    philly-cheesesteak-portabella-230rl

    Pile grilled veggies onto a sandwich. Photo
    courtesy Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

     

    Why wait for Meatless Mondays to have a great veggie sandwich? Every healthcare professional advises eating less animal protein and more vegetables and grains. And of course, eating less meat is far better for the environment.

    So start by switching some of your sandwich intake to delicious vegetarian sandwiches. It’s painless!

    While we love a sliced avocado and tomato sandwich using local summer tomatoes, we think that grilled vegetables make the best vegetarian sandwiches. While it’s still prime grilling season, develop some signature veggie sandwich recipes. You can even turn the concept into a veggie sandwich party—a build-your-own sandwich buffet.

    Creative flavor layering is at the heart of a great veggie sandwich. Peruse the following groups for inspiration, and offer something from each group.

    GROUP 1: HEARTY VEGETABLES, GRILLED OR ROASTED

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Bok choy
  • Broccolini
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Onions
  • Poblano Chiles
  • Portabella mushrooms
  • Romaine
  • Summer squash: yellow squash and zucchini
  • Tofu (not a vegetable, but an excellent vegetarian addition to this list)
  • GROUP 2: RAW VEGETABLES

  • Avocado, sliced or diced
  • Cabbage, shredded
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Cherry tomatoes in vinaigrette
  • Cucumber
  • Leafy greens: arugula, spinach, watercress
  • Mustard greens/mizuna/tatsoi
  • Sprouts
  •  

    GROUP 3: SPREADS

  • Bean dip
  • Greek yogurt or labneh, plain or seasoned
  • Guacamole
  • Hummus
  • Soft, spreadable cheeses
  • Tapenade
  • Tzatziki
  •  
    GROUP 4: CONDIMENTS

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Chutney
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise/flavored mayonnaise
  • Mustard(s)
  • Pesto
  • Relish
  • Salsa/Chimichurri
  • Sauces: horseradish, yogurt-dill
  • Vinaigrette & other salad dressings
  •  
    GROUP 5: FLAVOR ACCENTS

  • Chopped herbs
  • Dried fruit: cherries, cranberries, raisins
  • Kimchi
  • Pickled beets, cucumbers, onions or peppers
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sliced olives and/or chiles
  • Toasted seeds
  •  

    grilled-radicchio-230

    Grilled raddicho, endive and romaine are delicious, on a sandwich or as a side. Photo courtesy Radicchio.com.

     
    GROUPS 6 & 7: SIDES & SANDWICH BREADS

    Of course, the remaining ingredient to make veggie sandwiches is bread. We won’t add more long lists here, just two bullets:

  • Bread and rolls: Three or more different styles for a party. If you’re grilling, grilled bread is delicious.
  • Sides: The usual suspects, including chips, cole slaw, potato salad, even green salad.
  •  
    Party on, veggie-style!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Best Burger Buns

    Beefburger on a bun with assorted dips.

    A brioche roll adds a gourmet touch to any type of burger. Photo © Craig Holmes | BSP.

     

    Gearing up for a Labor Day cookout? Go beyond the traditional burger bun and generate excitement with a selection of specialty burger buns (also, a selection of burgers—beef, bison, turkey, veggie, etc.). Here are our favorite options:

  • Bakery Rolls. Check your local bakery. Those that make good bread often make delicious hamburger rolls.
  • Batard. Wider than a baguette and pronounced buh-TARD, this crusty French bread can be pre-sliced into burger-size. Here are the different types of baguette-like breads.
  • Biscuits. You can turn refrigerated biscuit dough into homemade burger rolls. See the recipe below.
  • Brioche Buns or Challah Buns. Our personal favorite! Eggy yeast breads with rich with a soft, fluffy texture, both deliver rich flavor. They are best for smaller patties and lighter ingredients, so the bun absorbs the juices, but doesn’t fall apart. The difference between challah and brioche: Brioche is made with lots of butter and is richer; challah, which is made to be kosher parve with all meals, has no dairy ingredient.
  • Gluten Free Buns. All health-conscious people, including those with this option, will appreciate tis option. Gluten-free rolls from Rudi’s and Udi’s are so delicious, you can’t tell that they’re gluten free..
  • Potato Rolls. Typically made with mashed potatoes, these rolls are characteristically soft and light, yet durable.
  •  

  • Pita. We have a fondness for lamb burgers in pita, but look for a thick variety since the pita can break.
  • Portuguese Sweet Rolls. A refreshing burst of sweetness against roasty meat. Look for the King’s Hawaiian brand, which makes hamburger and hotdog rolls in addition to dinner rolls and other styles.
  • Pretzel Rolls. A sturdier bun, pretzel rolls are ideal for meaty burgers topped with many ingredients.
  • Skinny Buns. Those watching their carbs will appreciate this lighter replacement option. These are sold under different names. Skinny Buns is one brand; among others, Pepperidge Farm makes Deli Flats.
  • Whole Wheat Buns. Those watching their carbs will appreciate this lighter replacement option.
  •  
    LIGHTER BURGER OPTIONS

    If you’re hosting a crowd of calorie counters, Chef Leo from Grecian Delights, maker of Skinny Buns, shares his three favorite “lighter burger” recipes:

  • The Kickn’ Cow. Beef burgers made with lean beef, stacked with shredded lettuce, tomato and Zesty Greek Yogurt Feta Dip on a toasted 100% Whole Wheat Skinny Bun.
  • The Swiss Bird. A turkey burger topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato on a toasted 100% Whole Wheat Skinny Bun.
  • The Ultra Vegetarian: A veggie burger layered with hummus, lettuce, tomato, red peppers, green peppers and red onion on a toasted Multigrain Skinny Bun.
  •  
    Switch the sweet ketchup for a spicy salsa, avoiding the high fructose corn syrup or other sweetener.

     

    RECIPE: BURGER ON A BISCUIT

    Make your own burger biscuits with refrigerated biscuit dough. This recipe is from Pillsbury, and there’s also a hot and spicy version with jalapeño, Jack cheese and chipotle mayonnaise.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, total time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Burgers

  • 2 pounds lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 slices American, Cheddar, Swiss or other cheese
  • 1 can (16.3 ounces) Pillsbury Grands Homestyle refrigerated original biscuits
  • Cooking spray
  •  

    biscuit-burger-pillsbury-230

    Make your own burger rolls from refrigerated biscuit dough. Photo courtesyPillsbury.

  • Toppings: lettuce, tomato slices, onion slices, pickles, ketchup and mustard
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT gas or charcoal grill. In medium bowl, mix beef, salt and pepper; shape into 8 patties.

    2. PLACE patties on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, until meat thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160°F. Place cheese slices on patties to melt. Keep warm; reduce heat to medium-low.

    3. SEPARATE dough into 8 biscuits. Spray both sides with cooking spray. Place biscuits on double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Place foil on grill over indirect heat. Cover grill; cook 4 minutes; turn. Cook 2 to 4 minutes longer or until biscuits are golden brown.

    4. SPLIT biscuits in half. Place burgers on one half of each biscuit; top with desired toppings and remaining biscuit half.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Mozzarella & Prosciutto Sandwich

    mozz-prosciutto-sandwich-WMMB-230

    A great sandwich, any time. Photo courtesy
    Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Find more
    great cheese recipes at
    EatWisconsinCheese.com.

     

    We think of this as a “summer sandwich” because of the bright colors; although there’s nothing particularly summery about it (no great-tasting tomatoes, for example).

    It’s so flavorful, you’ll enjoy it year-round!

    RECIPE: MOZZARELLA & PROSCIUTTO SANDWICH

    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 1 cup mixed red, yellow and green peppers, julienned
  • 1/4 cup prepared balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 8 slices hearty bread (such as roasted garlic or rosemary), toasted
  • 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive tapenade (store bought or made with this recipe)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE peppers, vinaigrette and tarragon in small bowl; set aside.

    2. PLACE 4 slices toasted bread on clean surface. Top each slice with 1/4 of the prosciutto (1 ounce). Spread 2 tablespoons olive tapenade on top of prosciutto.

    3. DIVIDE mozzarella slices evenly over the tapenade. Top with the pepper mixture and cover with remaining toast slices.

     

    WHAT IS TAPENADE

    A Provençal specialty, tapenade (tah-pen-ODD) is a thick paste of olives, capers and seasonings. You can use black or green olives, or a combination. Here’s a classic recipe.

    It is typically used as an hors d’œuvre spread, on crackers or bread, or with crudités. It can be used in recipes as well; for example, to stuff fish fillets. We serve it as a condiment with grilled fish, atop or to the side.

    There are many variations to the recipe. For example, you can add a can of drained tuna for tuna tapenade (the recipe is below). You can purchase ready-made tapenade in better food stores; but it’s so easy to make: Just combine the ingredients in a food processor.

    RECIPE: TUNA TAPENADE

    You can substitute green olives for the black olives (some people use a half cup of each). If you don’t like anchovies, leave them out. If you don’t like anchovies and tuna, you can substitute artichoke hearts, cooked eggplant, mushrooms, red bell peppers or sundried tomatoes. This is an easy recipe to customize to your own preferences.

     

    tapenade-IST-230

    Tapenade on crackers or crostini is delicious with cocktails, wine and beer. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

     
    Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted black olives*
  • 4 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)†
  • 1 can tuna (5 to 6 ounces), drained
  • 1 can (2 ounces) anchovies, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until desired consistency is reached.

     
    *Canned olives are famously bland. If you like a stronger olive flavor, buy better-quality olives in the jar or from the olive bar at some supermarkets and specialty food stores—although you may need an olive pitter to remove the pits.

    †We find that the oil in the drained tuna and anchovies is often sufficient. Process the mixture without the added olive oil; then decide if you need it. The added olive oil will give the tapenade a thinner consistency. If you’d like it thinner still, add more olive oil, bit by bit.

      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: Simits Vs. Bagels

    We are so happy that simits have come into our life. This traditional Middle Eastern street food is breakfast fare or snack in Turkey and other parts of the Mediterranean and Middle East.

    Thanks to a Turkish family whose children moved to a simit-less New York City, simits are now baked in the area, served at the company’s Simit + Smith cafés and sold at specialty food stores (a partial list: Agata & Valentina, Amish Market, Blue Olive Market, Food Cellar, Francela, Garden of Eden, Parrot Coffee and Zeytuna).

    We’d like to offer our perspective of simits versus bagels.

    Wanting to make their product stand out, the Simit + Smith folks don’t want to compare simits with that ensconced American standard, the bagel. They suggested that we call it “artisan bread,” a generic term that applies to any bread that’s handmade.

    But we don’t agree. What’s the best way to convince people to try something new? Compare it to something everyone already knows and loves.

    So take it from THE NIBBLE: If you like sesame bagels, you’ll like simits—maybe a lot more.

    SIMITS & BAGELS: THE DIFFERENCES

       

    bagel-simit-1-kalviste-230

    A simit (on top) with its cousin, a sesame bagel. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Like bagels, simits are made with all natural ingredients, without fat or preservatives, and are hand rolled and baked fresh daily. The recipes and process are slightly different, but here are the key differences:

  • Shape. As you can see in the photos, simits are larger and flatter, even when compared to the overblown bagel from our neighborhood, made with a scant hole in the middle so the fillings don’t fall out. Simits are not used for sandwiches in Turkey—it’s not a tradition, and besides the fillings would fall out through the center. To make simit sandwiches, Simit + Smith also bakes a non-traditional, “American” simit roll without the hole.
  • Texture. Simits are crispy on the outside, and the inside is light and fluffy, in contrast with the denser, chewier bagel.
  • Fewer carbs. The flatter shape of simit means less crumb (the bready inside). You get bagel-like flavor with less bread.
  • More flavor. Comparing a simit to a sesame bagel, simits have more flavor. Why? The sesame seeds are adhered to the simit with a mixture of water and 5% molasses. That 5% adds wonderful flavor and there’s a bonus: It makes the sesame seeds really adhere. They don’t fall off and make a mess (as with a sesame bagel).
  •  

    bagel-simit-inside-vertical-230

    Inside the simit and bagel. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    MORE ON THE MENU

    In its home countries, simits are always coated with flavorful, healthful healthy sesame seeds. To meet American’s tastes, Simit + Smith also offers multigrain and whole wheat simits (you won’t find them in Turkey).

    If you’d like a simit sandwich, there are traditional Mediterranean fillings such as black olive paste and kasseri cheese, and American-style fillings as chicken, Nutella and banana (wonderful!), roast beef and our favorite, smoked salmon and cream cheese.

    There are toasted Simit chips with a variety of Mediterrean dips and spreads. We’ve been enjoying simit in some form or other for breakfast, lunch and snacks.

    Other products include beverages (the tea and coffee are delish), oatmeal, yogurt and fresh fruit, soups, salads, paninis, scones and excellent baked goods sourced from top local bakeries.

    The company has also makes pogaca (poh-AH-cha), a savory pastry filled with feta and parsley or kasseri cheese and olives. Here’s the whole menu.

     
    Simit + Smith cafes are located at 124 West 72nd Street, 111 Worth Street and 100 Williams Street in New York City. In New Jersey, visit the bakery itself at 721 Anderson Avenue in Cliffside Park.

    For more information on Simit + Smith,including a list of specialty food stores that carry simits, head to SimitAndSmith.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fresh Fruit & Toast, a.k.a. Breakfast Tartines

    Many people spread jam on their toast. But in the summer season, why not use fresh berries instead?

    Pair those berries with your favorite dairy spread: cottage cheese, cream cheese, crème fraîche, fromage blanc, fromage frais/quark, goat cheese, mascarpone, sour cream, yogurt.

    In France, these would be called tartines: open-face sandwiches.

    You don’t have to toast the bread. Toast adds crunch and texture, but if fresh-baked bread is calling to you, enjoy it straight from the loaf.

    You can also enjoy these tartines as a snack. They’re just right for a mid-afternoon tea break.

    RECIPE: FRUIT TOAST / BREAKFAST TARTINES

    Ingredients

  • Fruit: berries, mango or other soft fruit
  • Bread of choice
  • Dairy spread
  • Optional garnish: fresh or dried herbs or other seasonings
  •    

    strawberry-toast-vermontcreamery-230

    Who needs jam when you have fresh fruit? Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     

    radish-cheese-spread-latartinegourmande-c--230

    Not a fruit fan? Use vegetables; here, sliced
    radishes and fresh-snipped chives atop
    Greek yogurt. Photo courtesy La Tartine
    Gourmande
    .

      Preparation

    1. Choose some delicious bread: date nut bread, Irish soda bread, multigrain, peasant bread, pumpernickel, raisin bread, rye, sourdough, spelt, whole grain or other bread with great flavor and texture.

    You can also use crispbread, like Wasa. Mild breads like challah, English muffins and white bread are best left to another occasion. See the different types of bread.

    2. Pick your dairy product: cottage cheese, cream cheese, crème fraîche, goat cheese, Greek yogurt, mascarpone, sour cream, quark or other spreadable dairy.

    3. Pick your fruit: berries, dates, figs, mandarin or orange segments, mango and sliced stone fruits (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums) are our favorites.

    4. Toast the bread (or not); spread with the dairy, top with the fresh fruit and enjoy. If you need more sweetness, drizzle with honey or cinnamon sugar.

     

    VARIATIONS

  • Herbs and spices. Sprinkle with a chiffonade of basil, chili flakes, cinnamon, ground black pepper or other favorite accents.
  • Veggies. Top with vegetables instead of fruit. We like grated carrots (and raisins!), tomatoes* with fresh herbs, radishes or shaved zucchini. With vegetable tartines, you can use other herbs such as cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley.
  •  
    *Yes, tomatoes are a fruit, but they are eaten a vegetable. Here’s why the tomato is fruit, not veggie.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Yummy Breads From Ozery Bakery

    morning-rounds-230

    Morning Rounds: the deliciously better
    alternative to breakfast pastries. We’re
    addicted to them. Photo courtesy Ozery
    Bakery.

     

    Ozery Bakery is a family owned business that bakes better-for-you breads and crackers, holesome and delicious.

  • The grains are organic whole grains: Kamut/Khorasan wheat, oats, rye, spelt, and whole wheat.
  • The breads use only natural ingredients—no preservatives or additives.
  • Each variety is heart healthy, low in fat and sodium and protein rich.
  • The line is allergy-friendly: soy free, dairy free, peanut and nut free (made in a nut-free facility) and vegan.
  • Everything is baked in small batches. The line is certified kosher (pareve) by KSA, certified organic and certified non-GMO.
  •  
    And you can buy them online by the case—which is no problem, since the preservative-free, perishable breads should all go into the freezer anyway.

    It’s as close as you’ll get to guilt-free bread.

     
    Fifteen years ago, the Toronto-based sandwich shop owners grew weary of commercial bread. They decided to bake a loaf from a family recipe.

    From that first bite of fragrant, chewy bread, they began baking their own flavorful bread for their sandwiches, and began selling the bread in the sandwich shop. Then, the bread started outselling the sandwiches, with many customers ordering bread in bulk and spreading the word.

    Gourmet and health food companies began knocking on the door. A breakfast bread was created: Morning Rounds, a fusion of the family’s homemade pita baking techniques and Canadian tastes for muesli and fruit.

    And now, the four-product line is available in the U.S., at natural food stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods Markets.

     

    OZERY BAKERY BREADS

    Morning Rounds are a fruit and grain bun, evocative of fruited English muffins. The sweetness of the fruit makes them an easy replacement for doughnuts, muffins and breakfast pastries.

    You can enjoy them from the bag or toasted, plain or spread with butter or jam. The flavors include Apple Cinnamon, Cranberry Orange and Muesli; we find the Cranberry Orange to be addictively delicious.

    Each contains 5g of protein, 170 calories, and is a source of fiber, iron, calcium, Vitamin B, antioxidants and folic acid. The company also bakes mini Snacking Rounds in the same flavors.

    OneBun thin, whole grain buns were invented as a healthy alternative to classic burger buns.

    They’re soft, flavorful and pre-sliced rounds, named OneBun because this one bun can be use for sandwiches, burgers, homemade pizzas, dips, even taco fillings.

    Choose from OneBun Multigrain*, OneBun Organic (plain), OneBun Sprouted and OneBun Whole Wheat. Another benefit: The halves are much thinner than traditional hamburger buns or sandwich breads, saving calories—just 100 calories for both halves.

     

    one-bun-wheat-230

    OneBun is one bun that works for everything. Photo courtesy Ozery Bakery.

     
    The halves are much thinner than traditional hamburger buns or sandwich breads, saving calories: just 100 calories for both halves.

    Freeze, Don’t Refrigerate

    Since the breads contain no preservatives, the best way to keep them fresh is to freeze them right away. Freezing quickly locks in the moisture.

    It’s easy to restore fresh-baked flavor and texture: Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes, microwave for 10 seconds or pop into the toaster oven to toast or warm at 400°F for a minute.

    Never refrigerate bread. Refrigerators work on the principle of drawing out heat, which removes the moisture along with it.
     
    OZERY BAKERY CRACKERS

    Crispy Pita Snacks are very flavorful and crunchy in Cranberry Pumpkin Seed, Organic Spelt With Flax, Organic Wheat and Rosemary Garlic. Use them as dippers, with soup, or snack from the bag.

    Skinny Dippers are lavash strips in Flax and Honey, Multi Grain and Honey, Organic Spelt and Organic Whole Wheat. Pair them with cheeses, soups or spreads.
     
    *More than a simple combination of grains, the blend includes with flax seeds, sunflower seeds, barley, millet, triticale, cracked wheat, and rye.

    We really enjoyed this simple snack idea, a mock bruschetta (the bread for bruschetta is grilled, not toasted), which tops a OneBun with goat cheese, ribbons of fresh zucchini, lemon juice and olive oil.

    RECIPE: ZUCCHINI & GOAT CHEESE BRUSCHETTA

    Ingredients

  • Fresh zucchini
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Multigrain OneBun
  •  
    Preparation

    1. THINLY SLICE the zucchini with a potato peeler. Place in a bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings. Mix well.

    2. PLACE the goat cheese in a bowl and mash it with a fork.

    3. TOAST the OneBun, spread with goat cheese and then top with zucchini ribbons.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Prosciutto and Fig Appetizer Wraps

    Our earlier tip for prosciutto and peaches reminded us of this recipe, an appetizer for prosciutto, figs and Brie.

    Per La Tortilla Factory, which provided the recipe, it’s a classic Sonoma County combination, enjoyed as an hors d’oeuvre or a snack. We like them with a beer or a glass of wine.

    La Tortilla Factory makes these pinwheel sandwiches with their Multigrain Extra Virgin Olive Oil SoftWrap, a tortilla that’s 9.5 inches in diameter and, as the name indicates, is softer and more pliable than a standard wrap.

    SoftWraps are also available in Traditional and Tomato Basil. Depending on the flavor, one tortilla delivers 8-9g protein and 48%-52% DV of fiber—about 52% of your recommended daily intake of fiber. What we especially like is that each wrap has only 100 calories.

  • Of course, you can substitute other wraps.
  • Instead of slicing into appetizer bites, you can slice it in half for a sandwich.
  •  

    fig-prosciutto-rolls-latortillafactory-230

    Fun yet sophisticated snacks with wine or beer. Photo courtesy La Tortilla Factory.

  • If figs are out of season, substitute thinly sliced apple, pear or even dried cranberries.
  •  
    Prep time is 5 minutes, plus 2 hours of chilling time.
     
    RECIPE: PROSCIUTTO & FIG APPETIZER WRAPS

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 multigrain tortilla wrap
  • 2 ounces Brie cheese
  • 2 thin slices prosciutto
  • 1 fresh fig, sliced
  • 1 ounce spring mix baby lettuce
  •  
    Prepration

    1. PLACE tortilla on a flat work surface. Warm Brie in microwave 10-20 seconds to soften.

    2. SPREAD Brie over entire tortilla. Top with prosciutto, fig and lettuce. Roll tightly. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-3 hours.

    3. REMOVE plastic wrap and slice into 1-inch pieces. Serve with wine or beer.

      

    Comments

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