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

Archive for Bread-Crackers-Sandwiches

TIP OF THE DAY: Put Fruit On Your Sandwiches

You put cranberry sauce on turkey sandwiches, don’t you? Mango chutney on chicken or cheddar sandwiches? Goat cheese or brie with fig jam?

How about fresh fruit?

Fruit and cheese, a perfect complement on a plate, do equally well on a baguette, croissant or other bread.

Lush stone fruits are a perfect complement, particularly ripe and juicy nectarines, peaches and plums. (With a sandwich, even barely-ripe works).

In the cooler months, turn to apples, grapes, pears, orange, raisins and other dried fruits, including coconut.
 
 
FRUITED SANDWICH TRICKS

  • Slice or dice the fruit as you prefer.
  • Consider turning fruit and berries into a compote.
  • You can also turn the fruit into a spread, by pulsing in a blender or food processor. Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • In an hour, you can pickle the fruits, alone or with onions.
  • Grill, toast, pan-fry or use your panini press as you wish.
  • Before adding the top slice of bread, sprinkle some raisins or dried blueberries/cherries/cranberries and nuts on the filling.
  • Try a sweeter condiment: honey mustard, mayo mixed with a bit of jam, mostarda. As appropriate, use a drizzle of balsamic, honey, even barbecue sauce
  • Play with different breads: not just whole grain, but baguette, brioche, ciabatta, croissants, Portuguese sweet bread (like King’s Hawaiian), etc.
  • Add fresh herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, rosemary or other favorite.
  • Sweet onion adds a counterpoint, as does a bit of heat: cracked black pepper, sliced or minced chiles, red pepper flakes.
  •  
     
    SUMMER FRUIT & SANDWICH RECIPES

  • Blue cheese with peaches or nectarines
  • Brie with apricots, blueberries, fresh basil and a honey drizzle
  • Creamy blue (Castello, Dolcetta, St. Agur) with peaches or nectarines
  • Cotija or feta with guava
  • Feta with watermelon and basil
  • Goat cheese with mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) and a honey drizzle
  • Goat cheese with stone fruit: apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums
  • Goat cheese with fresh figs
  • Mozzarella with cantaloupe, basil leaves, optional pimento
  • Mozzarella or burrata with fresh figs (or any fruit)
  • Smoked gouda or smoked mozzarella with plum
  •  
     
    YEAR-ROUND FRUIT & SANDWICHES RECIPES FOR SUMMER

  • Blue cheese and pear
  • Brie with apple, grape, mango or pear on baguette
  • Cheddar and Granny Smith apple, with a sprinkling of raisins and toasted pecans/walnuts
  • Chicken, egg or tuna salad (or curried chicken/tuna/egg salad) with grapes; with Delicious or other sweet apple; with kiwi or pear
  • Cream cheese with any fruit: apples, berries, grapes, pears, etc.
  • Fried paneer or halloumi with mango
  • Goat cheese with dried fruits, figs, raspberries, strawberries and optional chopped pistachios or toasted pecans
  • Grilled cheese or panini with Granny Smith apple and caramelized onion
  • Grilled proscuitto with mozzarella with fig (fresh, dried, jam)
  • Grilled tofu and pineapple with a drizzle of barbecue sauce.
  • Ham and cheese with pineapple
  • Mozzarella with sliced strawberries and a balsamic glaze drizzle
  • Waldorf chicken salad (with apples, grapes, celery, chives and toasted walnuts) on a croissants
  •  
     
    SWEET RECIPES FOR DESSERT OR SNACK

  • Grilled gjetost* cheese (photo #5) with apples on cinnamon-raisin bread
  • Grilled brie on pound cake with fig jam
  • ________________

    *Gjetost (JEE-nust) is a unique, caramelized, fudgy cheese that some say tastes like dulce de leche or a Sugar Daddy. A blend of cow’s and goat’s milk is boiled until caramelization occurs, then packed into blocks. The taste is super unique but If I had to compare it to something, I wo.
     
     
    RECIPE: GOAT CHEESE & PEACH SANDWICH WITH CILANTRO

    This recipe from Good Eggs was the inspiration for today’s tip. The recipe was adapted from one in Samin Nosrat’s cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking.

    This recipe works well as a wrap and go sandwich for lunch or snacks.
     
    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 1 log goat cheese
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 pound peaches (substitute nectarines)
  • Cilantro or other herb
  •  

    Goat Cheese & Peach Sandwich
    [1] For a sweet touch, add fruit to your sandwiches. The recipe for this goat cheese, peach and cilantro baguette is below (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Mixed Stone Fruit
    [2] In the summer, head for the stone fruits. Slice ‘em, dice ‘em, picked ‘em (photo courtesy Washington State Fruit Commission).

    Bowl of Grapes
    [3] Grapes are available year-round. Pick red grapes for more color, and be sure they’re seedless (photo courtesy Sun World).

    Mixed Berries
    [4] Berries are a treat on cheese sandwiches. Even if they’re not sweet enough for eating plain, no added sugar is needed on a sandwich (photo courtesy Green Giant Fresh).

    Gjetost Norwegian Cheese

    [5] Gjetost, a caramelized cheese from Norway that tastes like dulce de leche.

     
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the baguette into 4 pieces, and slice each in half. Toast as desired.

    2. SLICE the log of goat cheese into 8 coins.

    3. SLICE around the hemisphere of each peach, and twist to pull apart. Remove the pit, and slice the peach into wedges.

    4. PICK the cilantro leaves from their stems.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Layer 2 slices of goat cheese onto four of the slices of baguette, and top with a few peach wedges and cilantro leaves. Top each sandwich with another slice of bread, and serve.

      

    Comments off

    GLUTEN FREE: Three Bakers Snackers Crackers

    A gluten-free recommendation from Georgi Page-Smith, who reports on GF products for THE NIBBLE.

    One of the perks of my gluten-free lifestyle is the license I give myself to eat limitless quantities of cheese.

    Years ago I indulged my cheese cravings with perhaps the best cheese crackers ever to exist (including Cheez-Its): Gluten Free Cheddar Snackers, by The Grainless Baker.

    These crackers were unabashedly rich and cheesy, with just the right melt-in-your-mouth crumb. I purchased them in bulk from a local store until they were discontinued by the store; then I stalked them online.

    One day in 2011 the crackers disappeared completely. I searched, I Googled…and I found the Grainless Baker website. It said that the company had recently joined forces with The Gluten Free Food Group and would be replacing their old products with a new gluten-free product line under a new brand name, Three Bakers.

    I joined their Facebook community and waited to hear about the rollout. I think I even wrote a sad note “beg-couraging” them to not change their Cheddar Snackers formula. And then I cold-stored the information in a mental box with other sad things and doubled-down on my brie consumption.

    Recently, however, these crackers drifted into my mind again and I went to check their Facebook page for an update. The page was defunct and a cheerful selection of Snackers were now available from the Three Bakers website!

    I swung into action and within days, four bags of Snackers—Cheddar, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Honey Graham flavors—arrived at my doorstep. That was Friday. As of this Sunday’s writing there is about one-quarter of one of the bags left. They were that good.

    Four Flavors, Cheesy Or Sweet

    The Cheddar Snackers, though not as intense and decadent an experience as the originals, are incredibly good. The flavor is authentic tangy-and-toasty cheese, and they are quite light, delivering more flavor than you would expect in such a small package. The only downside on these was the texture, which was slightly more brittle than the other Snackers.

    Use them as dippers, as croutons on salad or chili (photo #1), in a crust for apple pie or pot pie, as a garnish on mac and cheese, or as a snack with apple wedges.

    The Chocolate Chip Snackers, with only 4 grams of sugar and 90 calories per 1 ounce serving, were simply scrumptious, with a gently dissolving crumb that quickly delivers the flavor to every part of your mouth. Best of all they are not too sweet, with no cloying aftertaste!

     

    Three Bakers Cheddar Snackers
    [1] Cheddar snackers add some crunch to chili (photo courtesy Three Bakers).

    Three Bakers Snackers Chocolate Chip
    [2] Time for dessert: chocolate chip snackers with ice cream (photo courtesy Gluten Free Palate.

    Three Bakers Snackers Crackers

    [3] Just plain snacking (photo courtesy Gluten Free Palate).

     
    The chocolate is of a high enough quality to carry the cookie, without additional sweeteners. The Chocolate Chocolate Chip Snackers increase the chocolate ratio, for aficionados.

    The Honey Graham Snackers deliver a very tasty, roasty flavor— again, with a gorgeous texture. These would also be fantastic on an ice cream sundae (photo #2), or crushed up to use in a crust. I was also impressed with the low sugar level, at 1 gram per 1 ounce serving, it made it that much easier to eat the whole bag.

    All Three Bakers’ Snackers are Ccrtified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) and are made with non-GMO ingredients. The whole grains provide a source of fiber and the low sugar and salt mean that you can feel good about serving them to kids.

    Three Bakers also produces gluten-free breads, buns, pizzas and more. The products are available across the country; here’s a store locator.

    For more information head to ThreeBakers.com.

    —Georgi Page-Smith

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Create An International Version Of Your Favorite American Sandwich

    August is National Sandwich Month.

    We love sandwiches so much, we created a glossary with the different types of sandwiches.

    It is true that the Earl of Sandwich was inadvertently responsible for creating the modern English sandwich. But what we recognize as a sandwich—bread and filling—likely dates to around 9000 B.C.E., when permanent settlements were established in the Middle East.

    The hunter-gatherers began to plant and harvest grain, which was turned into the first breads: unleavened flatbreads that were baked over an open fire. They were also “edible plates,” holding roasted meat or fish on the journey from pot to mouth.

    People would eat “bread and cheese” or “bread and meat”; they just didn’t call it by a formal name. Check out the (sandwich history).

    Since the original sandwich was Middle Eastern, put a spin on your favorite sandwich today.

  • Plan A: Adapt an American sandwich. Pick any international cuisine you like, and add elements of it to an American sandwich.
     
    Examples: turkey with curried mayonnaise, curried egg salad or tuna salad, jambon de Paris and brie instead of American ham and cheese, tuna salad with feta and kalamata olives (photo #1, recipe below), etc.
  • Plan B: Have a sandwich that originated in another country. Examples: French croque monsieur or croque madame (photo #2), Greek gyros, Italian panini, Venezuelan arepa (photo #3), Vietnamese bánh mì (photo #4).
  •  
     
    GREEK-INSPIRED TUNA SALAD

    This recipe (photo #1) takes the chief ingredients of the popular Greek salad (horiatiki) and adds tuna, creating “Greek tuna salad.”

    We adapted the recipe from one featured by Put On Your Cake Pants.

    Since local tomatoes are at peak now*, enjoy hefty slices on each sandwich.

    Ingredients For 2 Single-Decker Sandwiches

  • 1 can tuna (5 ounces), drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber (about 1 Persian cucumber)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped (substitute other color)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta†
  • 1 tablespoon kalamata olives, pitted and diced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oil-based salad dressing (red wine vinaigrette or bottled Italian dressing)
  • 2 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato
  • Dried oregano to taste
  • Optional seasoning: lemon zest to taste
  • Optional toppings, mix-ins or garnishes: anchovies, capers, pepperoncini, sardines
  • Bread of choice: large pita pockets, crusty loaf, multigrain
  •  
    For The Dressing

  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt†
  • 1 tablespoon milk†
  • Salt or garlic salt, pepper and dill to taste†
  •  
    _________________
    *When tomatoes are not in season, substitute 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes, mixed into the salad.

    †For a dairy-free sandwich, eliminate the feta and use a red wine vinaigrette dressing.
     
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the tuna, cucumber, feta, and dried dill in a bowl.

    2. MIX the dressing in a separate bowl: Greek yogurt, milk and salad dressing. Add to the tuna mixture and still until combined.

     

    Greek Tuna Salad Recipe
    [1] Greek tuna salad, a fusion of American tuna salad and Greek horiatiki (photo courtesy Put On Your Cake Pants).

    Croque Madame Sandwich
    [2] Croque madame from France: grilled jambon de Paris and gruyère cheese, dipped into beaten egg and sautéed in butter, with a fried egg on top (photo courtesy Eggs Fresh Simple).

    Pulled Pork Arepa
    [3] Pulled pork arepa (here’s the recipe from Serious Eats).

    Banh Mi Sandwich

    [4] Banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich inspired by French baguettes (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Caprese Sandwich

    Caprese Sandwich
    [1] Caprese Sandwich on a baguette. Here’s a recipe from Somewhat Simple.

    Caprese Sandwich

    [2]Melt the mozzarella on a panini press! Here’s a recipe from Cooking Classy.

     

    Every restaurant menu we’ve seen this summer has Caprese Salad on the menu. That’s because July and August deliver the best tomatoes of the year, and a Caprese—tomato, mozzarella, basil and olive oil—will never taste better.

    First “discovered” on the Isle of Capri in the 1950s, Caprese Salad became a favorite of King Farouk, and then a summer dish at Italian-American and Continental restaurants throughout Europe and across America. Here’s the history of Caprese Salad.

    It’s so popular, you’ll even find Caprese Salad on winter menus—when the tomatoes are hard and have no flavor.

    We’ve since made Caprese pasta salad, Caprese pasta (topped with uncooked tomato sauce, ciliegine—mozzarella balls the size of cherry tomatoes), Caprese appetizer bites, Caprese cocktail garnishes and a Caprese with other fruits subbing for the tomato (mango, peach, watermelon).

    We’ve even made a vegan version with tofu instead of cheese, and Caprese gazpacho (blender tomatoes with shredded basil, topped with perlini (tiny mozzarella balls—the different sizes of mozzarella).

    But we’ve never made ourselves a Caprese sandwich—until now, because August is National Sandwich Month.

    RECIPE: CAPRESE SANDWICH

  • Bread: baguette, ciabatta roll, pita, rustic
  • Tomatoes: cherry, heirloom, plum, marinated in olive oil
  • Optional: 1 clove garlic, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil: fresh leaves, de-stemmed, patted dry
  • Mozzarella (format of choice—sliced, perlini, etc.)
  • Balsamic balsamic glaze or vinegar
  • Optional garnish: black olives
  •  
    Variations

    While these stray a bit from the purity of a Caprese, they’re tasty alternatives when you want a bit “more.”

  • Toast the bread.
  • Rub the bread with a cut garlic clove.
  • Marinate the tomatoes with sliced sweet onions and oregano.
  • Substitute the tomatoes for sundried, or roasted red pepper (pimento)—a good choice in the winter.
  • Substitute pesto or arugula for the basil leaves.
  • Grill the sandwich on a panini press.
  • Preparation

    1. SLICE the tomatoes and cover with olive oil. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for 10 minutes or more.

    2. SLICE the bread (note: for a picky guest who didn’t like the “wet bread” from the balsamic and olive oil, we toasted the baguette and added a thin slick of sweet butter to the cut faces).

    3. SLICE the mozzarella and drain the tomatoes.

    4. ASSEMBLE the sandwich: first the basil, then the mozzarella, then the tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve. We love black olives, so we served them in a ramekin on the side.

     
      

    Comments off

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Bagelfest Day & The History Of Bagels

    Perhaps we should have saved this post, published a few months ago, for today, because…

    July 26th is National Bagelfest Day, the perfect day for that article, which features delicious bagels with different savory and sweet spreads and toppings—including those off the beaten path.

    So if you want a true bagelfest, check out the article. Today, we’ll make the record clear on the history of bagels.
     
     
    BAGEL HISTORY

    One legend traces the history of the bagel to the shape of a stirrup, to commemorate the victory of Poland’s King Jan Sobieski over the Ottoman Turks in 1683’s Battle Of Vienna. This is not true.

    It mirrors another legend of the creation of another popular bread that allegedly commemorates this battle: the croissant.

    The story is that the croissant was shaped for the crescent in the Turkish flag; that is to say, to symbolically eat the Turks. Here’s the real history of the croissant.

    What is it with these legends regarding bread and the Battle Of Vienna?

    The bagel was actually invented much earlier in Kraków, Poland, as an alternative (some would say, improvement) on the bublik, a traditional Polish-Russian roll that’s also very close to the Turkish simit (photo #3), and which some historians call the ur-bagel.

    It looks like a sibling of the bagel, but with a much bigger hole and a recipe to make it even denser and chewier than the bagel that emigrated to New York.

    The bublik was originally designed for Lent, but in the 16th century began to become a staple of the Polish diet.

    The bagel was evolution, not revolution. Other countries also had round, individual-serving breads with a hole in the middle (the hole was used for convenience in delivery (strung through with a string) and space-saving at stores and homes. They were also stacked on poles and hawked in the market place).

    Examples include Greek koulouri (with sesame seeds), Finnish vesirinkeli, and ciambella in Puglia, Italy.

    The first documentation of the bagel is in a 1610 list of sumptuary laws.

    Many food historians believe that bagel originated from the German word beugal, now spelled bügel, which has numerous meanings, including stirrup and ring.

    But why? Two explanations:

  • Traditional handmade bagels are not perfectly circular but slightly stirrup-shaped, a function of how the bagels are pressed together on the baking sheet.
  • Variants of the word beugal are used in Yiddish and Austrian German to describe a round loaf of bread.
  •  
     
    How Bagels Are Made

    Yeasted wheat dough is traditionally shaped by hand into a ring shape, around four inches in diameter. In the U.S. today, they are supersized. Measure the next bagel you buy!

    With true bagels, the rings are then boiled in water for about a minute. This sets the crust, resulting in the firm, shiny crust of a true bagel.

    The longer the boil, the more dense and chewy the interiors—along with the use of high-protein flour to make the dough.

    They then get pressed face down in the seeds or other toppings. These days, there are also different dough types such as bran, oat, pumpernickel, rye, whole-grain and gluten-free.
     
     
    Bagels Arrive In America

    Bagels came to the United States with Eastern European Jews, who began to immigrate to the United States in significant numbers after 1880.

       

    National Bagelfest DayBagelfest
    [1] Make your own bagelfest! A luscious bagelfest from Arla Cheese.

    Bagel Smoked Salmon
    [2] Got smoked salmon? They have it at Good Eggs.

    Simit Vs. Bagel

    [3] A comparison of bagel and simit, the latter considered the ur-bagel (photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE).

     
    However, they didn’t eat them with cream cheese and lox, but with schmaltz (rendered chicken fat—here’s a recipe) and herring. Modern cream cheese wasn’t invented until 1872, in the U.S.(cream cheese history).

    Lox wasn’t known by Eastern European Jews until Jewish immigrants met Scandinavian immigrants [source].

    Bagel bakeries thrived, and by the early 1900s in New York City, they were controlled by Bagel Bakers Local 338, which had contracts to supply bagel bakeries in and around the city for the workers who prepared all the bagels by hand.

    Bagel bakeries were soon found in major cities with large Jewish populations, in Canada as well as the U.S. They became a mainstream food in the last quarter of the 20th century, partly due to the efforts of the second generation at Lender’s Bakery in New Haven, Connecticut.

    The son of the founder, Murray Lender, pioneered automated production and distribution of pre-sliced frozen bagels 1960.

    [NOTE: We don’t know what Lender’s Bagels were like before the frozen variety, but these bagels are nothing like New York bagels. The consistency was/is more like a white bread rolls in a bagel shape. They are soft and doughy, and lack true bagel flavor. Unfortunately, this style became the template for many bagels produced in America, and what many Americans think of as bagels.]

    While early bagels were plain or poppy, they evolved in the 1960s to other popular flavors, like garlic, salt and sesame. The cinnamon-raisin bagel appeared in the mid-1950s.

    Can’t decide? Have it all (mostly) on an everything bagel (here’s the history of the everything bagel, which debuted around 1980).

    Cream cheese rose to the occasion, appearing in flavors like pimento, olive and smoked salmon.

    And bagels became not just breakfast bread, but sandwich bread for lunch. Not to mention that double-comfort food, the pizza bagel.

    By the turn of the 21st century, you could get a blueberry bagel, cheddar bagel, a jalapeño bagel…any bagel your heart desires. And just about any flavor of cream cheese, too.

    More recently, bagels headed into space with Canadian-born astronaut Gregory Chamitoff, who took a batch of bagels on his 2008 Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station. What did he take? Eighteen sesame seed bagels. The record does not say if he brought cream cheese or lox.

    ________________

    *It is made in most of Central and Eastern Europe.

     

    Bagel With Walnut Raisin Spread

    [4] Raisin-walnut spread from Eat Wisconsin Cheese. The trade organization created a lighter version of a cream cheese, raisin and walnut spread by using half cottage cheese. But you can go full cream cheese.

     

    RECIPE: SWEET AND CRUNCHY CREAM CHEESE SPREAD

    If you like raisin bagels, or raisin and walnut cream cheese, here’s a spread to match from Eat Wisconsin Cheese.

    It’s made lighter by substituting cottage cheese for part of the cream cheese. Or, you can substitute cream cheese for the cottage cheese.

    Ingredients For 2-1/2 Cups

  • 1 cup small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in medium bowl, using a spoon or electric mixer. Blend well.

    2. COVER and chill 4 hours or overnight, for the flavors to meld. Serve with toasted bagels, toast or muffins.

      

    Comments off



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