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TIP OF THE DAY: Creative Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Combos

April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. The Tip Of The Day is: Think outside the box.

How can you make your grilled cheese sandwiches more complex, more creative, more…celebratory?

Campbell’s did just that, creating four new approaches—if not exactly simple ones—to that American lunch favorite, grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Kudos to Chef Eli Kirshtein’s recipe curation : We love the flavor combinations and fun factor.

And we never would have thought of any of them!

RECIPE #1: GRILLED CHEESE BENEDICT

This riff on Eggs Benedict places the egg on top of a grilled cheese sandwich, and turns the hollandaise sauce into a tomato hollandaise with their iconic tomato soup.

It makes this Grilled Cheese Benedict recipe we published in 2015 look so tame.

Ingredients Per Sandwich

  • 2 slices honey wheat bread
  • 3 slices sharp cheddar (we’re fans of Cabot’s)
  • 2 eggs
  •  
    For The Hollandaise

  • 3 egg yolks, separated
  • 8 tablespoons (¼ pound) butter, melted
  • ¼ cup white wine, reduced by half
  • ¼ can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: fresh basil, shredded
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the hollandaise. Whisk the egg yolks and white wine over a double boiler until you have a ribbon consistency. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the melted butter.

    2. WHISK in the tomato soup slowly. Taste and season.

    3. MAKE a traditional grilled cheese sandwich with the bread and cheese. Cut in half. (Here’s a basic recipe and tips).

    4. FRY two eggs sunnyside-up and place eggs on top of grilled cheese. Top with hollandaise and garnish with basil.
     
    RECIPE #2: GRILLED CHEESE BREAD BOWL WITH TOMATO SOUP

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 1 individual sourdough bread bowl (here’s a recipe)
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 ounces soft mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

       

    Grilled Cheese Benedict

    Grilled Cheese Benedict

    Grilled Cheese Soup Bowl

    Campbell's Tomato Soup Cans

    [1] and [2] Grilled Cheese Benedict. [3] Grilled Cheese Soup Bowl (all photos courtesy Campbell’s). [4] America’s favorite tomato soup.

     
    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Carefully pile all the cheese on top of the sourdough.

    2. PLACE the bread in the oven until all the cheese is melted and browned. Let the loaf cool to room temperature.

    3. SLICE off the top of the bread and reserve. Carefully scoop out the inside of the loaf, with care not to puncture the bottom.

    4. PLACE the soup concentrate in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the fresh thyme; then pour the soup into the bread bowl.

    5. GARNISH the top of the soup with chives. Place the reserved top back onto the bread and serve immediately.

     

    Grilled Cheese Pockets

    Michelada Grilled Cheese

    [5] Grilled Cheese Pockets With Tomato Sauce. [6] The drinking man’s/woman’s lunch (photos courtesy Campbell’s).

     

    RECIPE #3: GRILLED CHEESE POCKETS WITH TOMATO SAUCE

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 4 sheets store-bought puff pastry
  • 2 ounces cheese curds
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) Campbell’s Tomato Soup concentrate
  • 2 eggs (for egg wash)
  •  
    Plus

  • Pastry brush
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.

    2. DEFROST the puff pastry and lay on flat surface. On two pieces, place the cheeses in the center, leaving a half inch border.

    3. MAKE the egg wash: whisk the eggs with a splash of cold water or milk until they are pale yellow and completely integrated. Lightly brush the egg wash around the edges of the pastry.

    4. PLACE the remaining sheets over the top, pressing the edges to create a seal. Trim neatly with a knife, and use a fork to impress a pattern (crimp) on the edges. Brush some additional egg wash on top of the pastry.

    5. BAKE for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Meanwhile…

    6. REDUCE the tomato soup concentrate slowly in a sauce pan, until thick and dark red. Serve the pastry hot, with the tomato sauce on the side.

     

    RECIPE #4: MICHELADA WITH QUESO FUNDIDO GRILLED CHEESE

    Pronounced mee-cha-LAH-dah, a michelada is a Mexican “beertail” (beer cocktail) made from beer, tomato juice, hot sauce and lime, served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass.

    This “adult” lunch gives you a michelada with a Mexican-style grilled cheese.

    If you’ve never had a michelada, here’s some more information.

    This recipe requires a panini press or a George Foreman-type grill.

    The recipe can make one tall drink or two in rocks glasses.
     
    Ingredients For The Michelada /font>

    For The Rim

  • 1 lime, halve juiced, half sliced into wedges
  • Salt
  • Chili powder—or—Tajin seasoning
  •  
    For The Drink
    1 can Campbells Tomato Soup concentrate

  • Optional: 2 tablespoons clam juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 Mexican lager (e.g. Modelo), chilled
  • Ice
  •  
    Ingredients For The Grilled Cheese

  • 1 cup Mexican melting cheese (e.g. asadero, queso de papa, queso oaxaca,queso quesadilla)
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, sliced
  • 1 soft yeast roll
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CREATE the rim garnish by combining equal parts of salt and chili powder in a small dish. Or if you have Tajin seasoning, use it straight. Place the juice of half the lime in a shallow dish. Twist the rim of the glass in the juice, and then twist it in the dish of seasoning. You can use a Collins glass or a beer mug (or two rocks glasses). Set aside.

    2. COMBINE the drink ingredients except the beer; set aside in the fridge.

    3. MAKE the grilled cheese. Slice the roll open and toast the inside. Place the cold cheese inside the roll, press it into the bread somewhat so the layers adhere. Add slices of jalapeño to taste.

    4. BUTTER the outside of the roll lightly and, using a panini press or in a pan on the stove top, toast it until the cheese is melted. While the cheese is melting…

    4. COMBINE the beer and the michelada mix over ice and garnish the glass with a lime wedge.

    5. TO SERVE: You can serve the sandwich, halved, on the side, or quartered on a long toothpick or skewer over the michelada.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easier Soft Boiled Eggs & Easter Breakfast

    Some people have never had a hot, runny, seductive soft boiled egg.

    That’s because they’re such a pain to peel when hot that even most restaurants don’t offer them.

    Soft boiled eggs were popular in our family. Nana had a set of vintage silver-plated egg cups; Mom had ceramic cups.

    The eggs were served with “toast soldiers” (photo #2): slices of toasted bread cut into half-inch vertical strips, for dipping into the yolk. (In the photo, the soldiers are topped with lots of yummy salmon caviar.)

    Soft boiled eggs have long been popular among those who could afford the egg cups: Egg cups were found in the ruins of Pompeii.

    No egg cups? Small ramekins, juice glasses and even some cocktail glasses will work. You can also nestle the egg in rock salt (photo #3) or small pebbles.

    You can even make origami egg cups (photo #5). Just follow the video below or this visual from Gathering Beauty.

    TAKING THE TOP OFF THE EGG

  • Nana’s Spoon Method: With a teaspoon tap the top of the cooked egg several time to crack the top of the shell. Place the tip of the spoon under a crack and slice through the egg, lifting the top half inch off as work around.
  • Mom’s Knife Method: With a regular flatware knife, whack the top of the egg as if the knife were a guillotine. For a more pleasant visual, then, as if you were one of Napoleon’s Hussars, whacking the neck off a Champagne bottle with your saber [the technique is called sabotage]). This should cut through the shell and most of the egg. Use the knife to lift off the top of the egg.
  •  
    We are incapable of doing either of these correctly. With the spoon, we end up with fragmented pieces of shell. With the knife, the force can end up spilling yolk.

    Practice makes perfect, but we found a better solution: an egg cutter, also known as an egg topper. It’s an inexpensive gadget and takes up very little room in the gadget drawer.

  • Our Egg Cutter Method: Place the egg cutter (photo #4) around the top half inch of the egg. Squeeze to cut. Remove the top.
  •  
    EASTER EGGS

    Dye The Eggs: Photo #1 shows how they do it at Petrossian.

    Top With Caviar: For Easter or other festive occasion, top your eggs with affordable caviar: capelin, lumpfish, salmon, tobiko, trout or whitefish roe.

    For bright colors, we’re partial to salmon caviar or colored and flavored whitefish roe. (For sturgeon caviar, we waive this suggestion.)

    Check out the different types of caviar and roe* in our Caviar Glossary.

    FOR SCRAMBLED EGGS

    If you want to fill the egg shells with scrambled eggs, you need to sterilize the insides of the shells or else (far easier) buy pasteurized eggs, such as Davidson’s Safest Choice.

    Here are instructions to sterilize the shells from Rem Cooks.

    ________________

    *The Difference Between Roe And Caviar

    All caviar is roe, the uncooked eggs of any fish. While caviar has traditionally referred only to sturgeon roe, the roe of many (or any) fish is now commonly called caviar. In the U.S., it is legally permissible to call any roe caviar as long as the fish is identified, e.g. salmon caviar.

    As food writers, we prefer to use the latter with the fish identified, even if it is sturgeon caviar. There are enough different kinds of sturgeon caviar, that even confining the word to sturgeon requires a modifier: beluga caviar, Black Sea caviar, Iranian osetra caviar, farmed white sturgeon caviar, etc.

    By the way, caviar is not a Russian word, nor is it used by Russian speakers. Khaviar, meaning eggs, is of Persian origin, found in the Iranian and Turkish languages. Russian speakers use the word ikroj (pronounced EEK-ruh, with a rolle “r”) for all roe, and use a modifier (beluga, salmon) to specify which type. Habitués of sushi bars will note that the Japanese adapted this word into ikura, salmon roe.

     

    caviar-easter-eggs-petrossian-230sq

    Salmon Caviar Egg

    Caviar Egg

    Egg Cutter

    Origami Egg Cups

    [1] For Easter, dye the eggs after you’ve cooked them (photo courtesy Petrossian). [2] Salmon caviar and toast “soldiers” (photo courtesy Le Coq Rico | NYC. [3] No egg cups? Use rock salt (photo courtesy Sturia Caviar). [4] Or make origami egg cups, with these instructions from Gathering Beauty. [5] How to cut the tops from the eggs (cutter from Amazon)..

     
    HOW TO MAKE ORIGAMI EGG CUPS

    There are several origami egg cup tutorials on YouTube. This one is the slowest (i.e., easiest to follow).
     
     

      

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    PRODUCTS: 5 New Specialty Food Favorites

    Every week new products arrive at THE NIBBLE. Most are good if not noteworthy. Some are so good that they become part of our personal shopping list.

    In alphabetical order, here are five favorites of the last few weeks:

    1. CAVA GRILL MEDITERRAEAN DIPS & SPREADS

    Cava Grill, a casual Mediterranean restaurant chain with locations on the East Coast an California, is now selling a dozen of its popular dips and spreads. You can find them at Whole Foods Markets and other specialty markets (here’s a store locator).

    Choose from:

  • Dips/Spreads: Crazy Feta, Eggplant & Roast Pepper, Harissa, Tzatziki.
  • Hummus Flavors: Greek Yogurt, Kalamata, Roasted Garlic, Roasted Red Pepper, Spicy, Traditional.
  • Organic Flavors: Organic Caramelized Onion Hummus, Organic Traditional.
  •  
    One of our favorite light dinners is to serve as many varieties as we want with fresh pita, accompanied by a lettuce salad with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, vinaigrette and chopped fresh herbs; capers and olives optional.

    Or, uncork some wine and invite friends and neighbors for a wine break.

    See the whole line at Cava.com.
     
     
    2. LACTAID MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM

    Ice cream is one of our favorite foods, and every day we bless Lactaid for an excellent (and well-priced) line. Every flavor is a winner.

    We recently had our first quart of Lactaid Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, and it’s the best supermarket mint chocolate chip ice cream we can recommend: truly refreshing, with lively mint flavor and toothsome chunks of chocolate.

    You don’t have to have lactose sensitivity to enjoy Lactaid dairy products. The cottage cheese, ice cream and milk taste just like any other quality products. (Lactaid dudes: We need cream cheese and sour cream, too.)

    The only difference is that a minute amount of lactase, the natural enzyme that helps people digest milk products—is added. You can taste it; no one would know the difference.

    Check out the other Lactaid ice cream flavors. Salted Caramel Chip is another must-try.

     
     
    3. NESTLÉ DAMAK CHOCOLATE BARS WITH PISTACHIOS

    The Damak brand of chocolate was established in Turkey in 1933. Turkey is the world’s third largest producer of pistachio nuts (after Iran and the U.S.), and the bars, in milk or dark chocolate, are packed with the nutritious little nuggets.

    The 2.82-ounce square-ish bars are something not readily available in the U.S.: pistachio chocolate bars at the suggested retail price of $2.49. The name, pronounced DUH-mok, is Turkish for “taste.”

    Nestlé, which now owns the brand, has committed a million dollars to teach Turkish pistachio farmers more effective agricultural techniques to improve and increase harvests.

    See more at NestleDamak.com.
     
     
    4. NOOSA YOGHURT

    Noosa has been one of our favorite yogurt lines since it first popped up in the U.S. via Australia, where yogurt is spelled with an “h” (see our review).

    Each new flavor the brand introduces is better than the last (although the Mexican Chocolate Yoghurt has yet to be topped on our personal list).

    New flavors this season:

  • Orange Ginger
  • Pear Cardamom
  • Strawberry Hibiscus
  •  

    Cava Grill Dips & Spreads

    Lactaid Mint Chocolate Chip

    Nestle Damak Pistachio Chocolate Bars

    Nonni's Limoncello Pistachio Biscotti

    Noosa Orange Ginger Yoghurt

    [1] Cava Grill Mediterranean Dips (photo Cava). [2] Nestle Damak pistachio chocolate bars (photo Nestle). [3] Lactaid Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (photo Lactaid). [4] Nonni’s Limoncello Pistachio Biscotti (photo Nonni’s Foods). [5] Orange-Ginger, one of three new Noosa Yoghurt flavors (photo Noosa).

     
    But every flavor hits the spot, and all are delicious enough to be served as a creamy dessert as well as breakfast, lunch and snack fare. See them all at NoosaYoghurt.com.
     
     
    5. NONNI’S BISCOTTI

    Nonni’s, the nation’s leading biscotti baker, salutes spring with two new limited-batch flavors.

  • Nonni’s White Chocolate Cherry Biscotti are filled with cherries and white chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate icing.
  • Nonni’s Limoncello Pistachio Biscotti are made with chopped pistachios and lemon peel zest, then dipped and drizzled inwhite chocolate.
  •  
    The biscotti are a softer style that are easy on the teeth, and are individually wrapped for grab-and-go.

    Check out the entire line at Nonnis.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Stenciled Cheese For Holidays (St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas…)

    Add a little luck of the Irish to cheese and other foods, by creating a shamrock garnish made of herbs.

    You can apply the same technique to other themes: Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day hearts, stars for Christmas, Independence Day and New Year’s, pumpkins for Halloween, and so forth.

    You also can use edible glitter, which provides no flavor but adds gorgeous color.

    Spices allow you to play with the colors of the garnish, for example:

  • For Christmas, make separate stencils for green herbs and red spices.
  • Red spices for hearts: cayenne, chile flakes, kebab masala, paprika, red tandoori spice blend.
  • Yellow spices or gold glitter for stars: coriander seeds, cumin, curry, fenugreek, ras el hanout, turmeric.
  • Orange spices for Halloween and Thanksgiving: Cajun seasoning, tandoori masala.
  •  
    RECIPE: STENCILED CHEESE

    Select any cheese(s) that’s moist enough to hold the herbs: burrata, cream cheese log, goat cheese log, feta, fresh mozzarella, paneer, queso panela or ricotta salata.

    Print out the shamrock stencil (or other design) here. Print out a few copies for cutting practice.

    You can make a regular stencil or a reverse stencil, both shown in the photo.

    Ingredients

  • Assorted fresh herbs, finely chopped
  • Cheese(s) of choice
  • Paper stencil
  • Small piece plastic wrap
  • For serving: bread, crackers, fruit
  •  
    ________________
    *Blend two or three herbs: dill, chervil, chives, parsley or tarragon, etc.

     

    Shamrock Cheese

    Herb & Spice Colors

    [1] Shamrock style with a stencil (photo and recipe idea courtesy Vermont Creamery). [2] Spices and herbs provide colors for any occasion (photo courtesy Renegade Expressions).

     
    Preparation

    1. CUT out the shamrock stencil and press it firmly onto the cheese.

    2. PRESS the herbs into the stencil. You can place a piece of plastic wrap over the herbs for easier pressing.

    3. GENTLY PEEL off the plastic and stencil. Clean the lines with a pointed tweezers, as needed.

    4. SERVE with bread, crackers and fruit (apples, grapes, orange/mandarin segments, pears, etc).
     
     
    TIP FOR SLICED FRUIT

    Instead of coating apples or pears in lemon juice to keep them from browning, coat them in calcium-fortified 100% apple juice.

    Here are more ways to keep fruits from browning.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Beer & Cheese Party

    basiron-green-pesto-close-ig-230sq

    Kerrygold Dubliner

    Kerrygold Dubliner With Irish Stout

    [1] Basiron Pesto Rosso has an Italian name, is made in Holland and is perfect for an Irish celebration (photo courtesy Atalanta Corp). [2] Kerrygold’s Dubliner is a unique cross between cheddar and parmesan cheeses. [3] It also is made in a limited edition with Irish stout.

     

    Yesterday we featured a recipe for “Irish Nachos,” made with potatoes. We recommended serving them with a tasting of Irish beers:

  • Beamish Irish Stout
  • Fuller’s
  • Guinness Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout
  • Harp Lager
  • Murphy’s Irish Red
  • Murphy’s Irish Stout
  • O’Hara’s Celtic Stout
  • O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
  • Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
  • Smithwick’s Irish Ale
  •  
    If you don’t want to cook anything, taste the beers with a platter of Irish-themed cheeses.

    Today we feature four brands. Three are Irish—Cahill, Cashel and Kerrygold—but we couldn’t help but recommend our favorite green cheese, made in The Netherlands.

    All cheeses Your local cheesemonger may carry them; or look for them online.

    All cheeses are made with milk from grass-fed cows, who enjoy a natural life (no hormones).

    1. BASIRON PESTO VERDE

    This green beauty (photo #1), made green with the addition of basil-garlic pesto, is a a Gouda*-style cheese, made from pasteurized cow’s milk and vegetarian rennet.

    It is made in The Netherlands by the Veldhuyzen family, who make other fabulous-flavored Goudas (below).

  • Breakfast: Green cheese grits or a cheese omelet.
  • Lunch: Green grilled cheese, ham and cheese, etc.
  • Happy Hour: With a beer, an Irish whiskey and soda, or a glass of fruity red wine.
  • Dinner or Snack: On a cheese plate.
  • Dinner: Gouda fondue; shaved over pasta, potatoes, rice or vegetables; melted over anything; stuffed in a chicken breast.
  •  
    The line includes Alpine (with herbs from The Alps), Garden Herbs, Garlic, Kummel (caraway), Hot Chili (deep yellow for Halloween), Jalapeño, Mustard, Nettles, Olive Tomato, Pepper, Pesto rosso (a deep orange color for Halloween or Thanksgiving), Smoked Bacon, Sweet Red Pepper, Tricolor, Truffle, Walnut, Wasabi and Wood Garlic!

     
    Obviously, there’s quite a demand for Basiron flavord Goudas.

    We’ve had four of them, but on our bucket list: to try them all at one big tasting.
    ________________

    *How Do You Pronounce Gouda? Most Americans pronounce it “GOO-duh.” But the Dutch might not understand your request. The name of this cheese is pronounced variously as “GAOW-duh” or “HOW-duh” (with the H standing for the Dutch guttural “ch” sound, like clearing your throat).

     

    2. KERRYGOLD

    Kerrygold (photos #2 and #3 above) may be better known in the U.S. for its Irish butter, which has national distribution.

    But its cheeses deserve equal recognition!

  • Aged Cheddar is an outstanding, limited production, one-year-aged cheddar, noted for its rich, rounded flavor and firm, smooth body (more).
  • Dubliner is a unique cheese, a mixture between Cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano (more).
  • Skellig is a popular cheddar variety in the U.K., a class of European cheddars that focuses on complex flavors, without the intense, sharp bite of traditional aged cheddars. The complex cheese is firm yet creamy, with a distinct nuttiness and sweet apple and butterscotch notes (more).
  •  
    Kerrygold also makes specialty versions of two of these cheeses

  • Kerrygold Dubliner With Irish Stout.
  • Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey.
  •  
    Serve one or all of them. Kerrygold also makes a Swiss cheese, if you want to see how Ireland interprets Switzerland.
     
     
    3. CAHILL’S FARM CHEDDAR

    Marion Cahill of Cahill’s Farm is recognized as a pioneer of today’s fine Irish cheese.

    The Cahill family has been farming and cheesemaking for four generations. Originally the milk was sold locally and the cheese was made for the family. Thankfully, that has changed.

    Using a base of tangy Irish cheddar, Marion experimented with flavors, and developed a head-turning range of flavored cheddars (photo #4).

     

    cahill-farm-cheddar-ig-230

    Cashel Blue Cheese Ireland

    [4] Cahill makes cheddar infused with three different spirits: porter, elderberry wine and whiskey (photo courtesy Cahill Farms). [5] Cashel Blue is an Irish blue cheese in a sweeter style, not salty (more).

     
    The curds are variously soaked in elderberry wine, porter and Irish whiskey. While elderberry and porter are visually stunning, all three deserve a place on the cheese board.

    Cahill’s makes other flavored cheeses which can be hard to find in the U.S. But keep an eye out for Ardagh Chalice Wine Cheese, Ballintubber Cheese with Chives, Ballyporeen Cheese with Mixed Irish Herbs and Kilbeggen Irish Whiskey Cheese.
     
     
    4. CASHEL BLUE

    When you think of Irish cheese you don’t think of blue cheese. But Louis and Jane Grubb of Beechmount Farm produces Cashel Blue, a noteworthy blue among all options.

    From the rolling hills of Tipperary, will delight people who don’t like robust blue cheeses. It’s extra creamy and not salty (photo #5).
     
     
    So eat, drink and be merry, as you treat friends and family to a special “Irish cocktail hour” or beer tasting.

    You don’t have to hold it on St. Patrick’s Day. No one would turn down the opportunity, whenever the invite arrives.

      

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