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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 Lactose-Free

PRODUCT: Vegan Pesto From Sauces ‘n Love

Sauces-n-Love_Vegan-Pesto-230

Vegan, lactose free and cholesterol free
pesto. Photo courtesy Sauces ‘n Love.

 

Keeping a good jar of pre-made pesto at hand can make any dish extraordinary in only a matter of minutes.

Pesto sauce, traditionally consists of basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses and salt for seasoning. Add a dollop to dinner and suddenly you’re a fancy cook who understands how to dazzle with delicate herbs. Pesto is vegetarian, low in carbs and packed with fresh ingredients: a bright, healthy addition to your meals.

Pesto originated in the Italian province of Liguria, 220 miles of crescent-shaped Mediterranean coastline that is sometimes called the Italian Riviera. Liguria, the capital of which is Genoa, is home to superb produce, most notably the sweetest, mildest basil. Its people enjoy one of the freshest, healthiest cuisines in all of Italy.

Just as pesto can be made with different nuts (hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts) and greens (arugula, spinach)—or even non-greens, like red pepper pesto—it can be made vegan instead of vegetarian. One way to do this is to substitute vegan Parmesan.

 

But Sauces ‘n Love has creating a pesto condiment, dip and sauce that eliminates the cheese or cheese substitute. Using only extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and black pepper still creates a delicious pesto.

 

Why vegan pesto? Aside from accommodating the growing number of vegans, it’s a boon for non-vegans who are lactose intolerant, those cutting back on cholesterol, and kosher consumers who want to serve pesto with meat-based meals.

Sauces ‘n Love, a NIBBLE Top Pick of The Week is one of our favorite lines of Italian-style sauces, sold fresh in the refrigerator case. A sister line, Scarpetta, is shelf-stable and will stay fresh without refrigeration for nine months. Learn more at SaucesNLove.com.
 
MORE ABOUT PESTO

  • Pesto Overview
  • The History Of Pesto
  • Pesto Serving Suggestions
  • Homemade Pesto Recipe and Pesto Prep Tips
  • More Favorite Pestos
  •  

    Pesto-SalmonCakes-230

    Beyond pasta: Pesto can be used to enhance most savory dishes. Photo by Guyer Wood | IST.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Dannon Oikos Greek Frozen Yogurt

    June 4th is National Frozen Yogurt Day. Treat yourself to a pint of Oikos Greek frozen yogurt. You can print a $1.00 coupon online.

    The brand recently launched a frozen yogurt line in:

  • Black Cherry
  • Cafe Latte
  • Chocolate
  • Key Lime
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    We received pints of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla to taste. The strawberry and vanilla didn’t do much for us. There are other brands with better strawberry and vanilla flavor.

     

    chocolate-frozen-yogurt-230

    Chocolate was our favorite in the Oikos Greek frozen yogurt line. Photo courtesy Dannon.

     

    But the chocolate was most satisfactory, especially given that it’s 150 calories per four-ounce serving—a nice break from, say, Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream at 260 calories. It may be an apples-and-oranges comparison, but we’d go for the lower calorie option.

    And the lower fat option: Frozen yogurt also has more than half the fat of regular ice cream: 2.5g versus 7g per half-cup serving, according to Dannon. Since much of that fat is saturated (cholesterol), that’s a good thing.

    Finally, if you’re lactose-sensitive, the Oikos frozen yogurt line is made from lactose-reduced nonfat milk.

    The line is certified kosher by OU.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Dear Coco Toffee Chocolate Bars

    Quite a few artisan chocolatiers are also pastry chefs. Rachel Ferneau makes chocolates as Dear Coco, but was previously the proprietor of Eden Cake, a made-to-order kosher pareve bakery serving metro Washington, D.C.

    While we’ve missed the opportunity to try her desserts, she was kind enough to send us some chocolate.

    Everything from this artisan chocolatier is 100% handcrafted in small batches. The chocolates are completely dairy-free, all natural and certified kosher pareve by Star-K.

    In both her baking and her chocolates, flavors of the world are evoked with coffees and teas, exotic salts, fine herbs, flowers, fruits, roasted nuts and spices.

    Recently, Dear Coco launched a creative line of vegan-friendly artisan chocolate bars: Toffee Chocolate Bars. Eight unique bars are embedded with toffee and the spices that evoke each of the eight globally-inspired locations.

    The toffee is made with vegan butter* in order to be pareve† and lactose free. This substitution, so that the bars can be enjoyed anytime by kosher observers, makes them vegan-friendly as well. Yes, it cuts down on the butteriness of the toffee; but there is so much other layering of flavors that no one will notice.

     

    oaxaca-bar-front-back-230

    The Oaxaca bar invokes the moles of Oaxaca, Mexico with cinnamon toffee and pepitas. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    group-tablecloth-230

    Five of the eight “destination” toffee
    chocolate bars. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    NEW & SPECIAL: TOFFEE CHOCOLATE BARS

    All of the bars are made with dark chocolate and a touch of sea salt.

  • Barcelona Toffee Chocolate Bar: Influenced by the flavors of Spain—roasted almond toffee and sea salt.
  • Istanbul Toffee Chocolate Bar: Inspired by the flavors of baklava—cinnamon clove toffee with rosewater, roasted walnuts.
  • Madras Toffee Chocolate Bar: A tribute to the curries of Southeast India—sweet curry toffee with roasted sunflower seeds.
  • Oaxaca Toffee Chocolate Bar: A recognition of the mole dishes of Oaxaca—Mexican cinnamon and smoky hot chile toffee with roasted pepitas.
  • Savannah Toffee Chocolate Bar: A tribute to the pecan pie of “The Hostess City of the South”—pie spice toffee with roasted pecans.
  • Shanghai Toffee Chocolate Bar: Honoring a staple spice of Cantonese cooking, Chinese five spice toffee (here a blend of cassia cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger and cloves) with roasted white sesame seeds.
  • Sidama Toffee Chocolate Bar: For the coffee lover, crunchy caramelized coffee toffee infused with Ethiopian coffee beans.
  • Tokyo Toffee Chocolate Bar: Homage to the sushi bar—ginger toffee with crispy rice.
  •  

    The 3.5-ounce bars are $7.50 each. A gift set of eight (all the flavors) is $54.00.

    Get yours at DearCoco.com.

     
    *Products like Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks are made from expeller-pressed oils that have 0g trans fats. More information.

    †Kosher law prohibits the consumption of dairy and meat products together. Pareve is a classification of foods that contain neither dairy nor meat ingredients, and can be eaten with both groups. Pareve foods include eggs, fish and all foods that are grown—cereals, fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Ian’s Sausage Pancrepes

    Really tasty: Ian’s Sausage Pancrepes. Photo
    courtesy Elevation Brands.

     

    More than 10 years ago, a concerned dad learned that his son, Ian, had multiple food allergies. He set off on a journey to develop a line of kids’ favorites, so Ian and other children with allergies wouldn’t have to miss out.

    “Can you imagine going through life unable to eat pizza or onion rings or a chocolate chip cookie?” says Chuck Marble, CEO of Elevation Brands? “Imagine sitting down at the dinner table and everyone else gets to eat chicken tenders or fish sticks except you.”

    If the rest of the line is as delicious as the Sausage Pancrepes we just demolished, everyone will be scrambling to enjoy the products. Nothing in the very tasty pancakes gave any hint of a dietary restriction. The box front told a different story: NO wheat or gluten, NO milk or casein, NO nuts, NO soy.

     

    But NO here means YES, it’s delicious. The box of four small sausages wrapped in pancakes (9 ounces net weight) was an instant hit, without the need for maple syrup or any other seasoning. They went quickly, and we could only wish for a few dozen more boxes.

    Ian’s manufactures approximately 40 allergy-friendly foods for every time of the day: breakfast, entrées, desserts, snacks and sides. There are gluten-, dairy- and soy-free Mac & No Cheese; gluten-free chicken patties and tenders; onion rings and more.

    There’s a store locator on the website, and if there’s no store near you, you can email your local retailer’s information to their sales team.

    For more information, visit IansNaturalFoods.com.

      

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    PRODUCT: Sara Snacker Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

    We’ve written about Sara Snacker cookies in the past, a business that began a decade ago in Sara’s college dorm room in Arizona. These days, the mother of three runs her business from New York City.

    We enjoy most of the line very much, and are always happy when a new sample rolls in.

    This week, we trued the company’s first gluten-free, dairy-free cookie: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chippy.

    While they don’t come out of the package looking like much (there’s a lot of cookie “dust”), they go into the mouth tasting great. We couldn’t stop eating them. The 12 cookie balls lasted maybe 24 hours.

    The ingredients are all natural, and include creamy peanut butter, crunchy whole grain oats and semisweet chocolate chips.

    In addition to a gluten-free recipe, the cookies are certified kosher by Star-D.

    There’s a store locator on the website. The retailers are largely on the East Coast, but you can shop online at SaraSnacker.com.

     

    Peanutbutterlicious, gluten free, dairy free and kosher. Photo courtesy Sara Snacker.

     

    There are 12 cookies per bag; the bags are sold online in lots of three bags ($22.50) and six bags ($36.00). Any peanut butter lover who observes a gluten-free diet will be very pleased.

    Or, in our case, a peanut butter lover who isn’t on a gluten-free diet can happily make them disappear.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Substitute Tofu For Cream & Try This Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding Recipe

    Soft tofu can be turned into a substitute for
    heavy cream. Photo courtesy House Foods.

     

    We learned from Japanese and Asian-influenced restaurants that you can have lush, creamy tofu-based desserts and not even notice there’s no cream. Substituting tofu for heavy cream helps to save calories and avoid cholesterol. It produces recipes that support kosher, lactose-free and vegan diets. It’s also less expensive than cream, and is available in organic and conventional varieties.

    Erin Dow of Guiding Stars shared how to make a heavy cream substitute from soft (silken) tofu.

    “Abstaining from heavy cream, regardless of the reason, can pose a serious challenge in the kitchen,” Erin notes. “Its thickening power, its silky rich mouth feel, and the flavor-balancing power of its fat content, are tough to replicate with plant-based alternatives. But for certain applications, a substitute made with silken tofu can help. The recipe is simple.”

     

    RECIPE: SOFT/SILKEN TOFU “HEAVY CREAM”

  • Combine one part silken tofu with one part liquid of your choice (see last two bullets) in a blender and process until smooth.
  • If desired, strain through a fine mesh strainer before using.
  • For sweet recipes, use coconut milk or unsweetened vanilla soy milk for the liquid. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla for every cup of cream you make.
  • For savory recipes, use almond or oat milk. They will help balance out the flavor without risking a curdled mess.
  •  
    Soft/silken tofu heavy cream is a great substitute for pastry creams and other desserts, quiches and chocolate truffles and for thinning out frostings and dips. Use it to add body to sauces, gravies and smoothies. Extra firm or firm tofu is used for scrambles, kabobs, stirfries and other mains.

     

    And pudding—chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, etc.: Tofu substitutes easily for cream. The following recipe is dairy free and cholesterol free. It’s a companion to the tofu chocolate mousse recipe we published last year for National Chocolate Mousse Day.

    It was created by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, hosts of Cooking Channel’s show “Extra Virgin.” Budino is the Italian word for pudding.

    RECIPE: TOFU CHOCOLATE BUDINO

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 package (14 ounces) soft/silken tofu
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  •  

    No cholesterol, no lactose. Photo courtesy Cooking Channel.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE sugar, water, and cocoa water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cool slightly.

    2. MELT chocolate in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water.

    3. PLACE all ingredients in a blender and purée until completely smooth. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
     
    ABOUT TOFU

    Tofu was first created from soybeans more than 2,000 years ago in China. While lots of tofu and soy sauce are consumed, approximately 85% of the world’s soybean crop is processed into soybean meal and vegetable oil.

    In Japan, edamame (immature soybeans), miso (soybean paste), natto (fermented soybeans) and kinako (roasted soybean flour) are popular foods. Soy milk, tempeh and textured vegetable protein are increasing in popularity in the U.S.

    If you’re ingredient-conscious, look for organic tofu, made from sustainably grown, non-GMO soybeans. Commonly used tofu processing aids such as defoamers, bleaches and preservatives are not used in organic tofu.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Garden Lites Veggie Muffins

    The producers of our favorite Garden Lites Veggie Soufflés have introduced new Veggie Muffins: a fluffy carrot muffin and a deep chocolate zucchini muffin.

    The all natural Veggie Muffins line is made of 1/3 fresh vegetables. Each muffin is shrink-wrapped for easy portability. Just let the frozen muffins defrost naturally or heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds; you’ll have an extremely moist treat that’s right-sized (not super-sized) at 120 calories per muffin (3 Weight Watchers points).

    The recipe contains eggs, but is dairy free, gluten free, nut free and soy free. The line is certified kosher by Star-K.

  • Carrot Berry Veggie Muffins are made with fresh vegetables plus blueberries, cherries and cranberries.
  • Zucchini Chocolate Veggie Muffins are very chocolaty, from cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate chips—so chocolaty that no one will detect the zucchini. They’re great for chocolate cravings or to sneak extra servings of vegetables into resistant loved ones.
  •  

    This moist carrot muffin is a great 120- calorie treat. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Pair Veggie Muffins with coffee or tea for quick breakfast, tuck in with your lunch or for a healthful snack. You can keep them in the office freezer—although you’ll have to disguise them so co-workers don’t polish them off.

    While the muffins don’t have as much veggie content as the larger-portion souffles, each muffin is made from 1/3 fresh vegetables and comprises not quite one daily serving of vegetables. But hey, they’re muffins!

    The yummy muffins are available at select Costco locations and other retailers. Check the store locator for the store nearest you.

    The four-pack will retail for around $4.99, and the Costco 14-pack is a bargain at $9.99.

    Garden Lites calls itself “the delicious vegetable company.” We agree.

    For more information, visit GardenLites.com.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker

    A frozen banana (or your favorite fruit) goes into the machine, banana soft serves comes out in a minute. Photo © Corinna Gissemann | Fotolia.

     

    Are you an ice cream addict but want to give up those refined sugar calories and carbs? Do you want to add more fruit to your diet?

    Now, you can make your own 100% fruit soft serve “sorbet” without added sugar, thanks to the Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker.

    Yonanas almost instantly transforms your favorite fruits—banana, berries, mango, pineapple, the whole fruit department—into a silky-smooth frozen confection.

    The frozen fruit—pre-frozen or frozen by you—goes into the chute (see the photo in the full review). It emerges as thick, creamy soft serve-like “sorbet.”

    The compact Yonanas machine is well worth the cost (list $49.99) and the space. It’s not only easy to make, it’s easy to clean the machine. Everything but the motor portion goes right into the dishwasher.

     

     

    Get yourself a Yonanas machine: You deserve it!

    And, you may become more popular as people begin to invite themselves over for some Yonanas. Tell them to BYOFF: bring your own frozen fruit.

    Read the full review.

    Find more of our favorite frozen desserts and recipes.

     

    Get a Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker. You deserve it! Photo courtesy Yonanas.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese For Lactose Intolerant People

    Cabot Cheddar labeled “Lactose Free.” Photo
    by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    The other day, at a social gathering, one twentysomething guest turned down a Godiva liqueur-spiked milkshake, announcing he was lactose intolerant.

    “So am I,” said another guest. “Me too,” chimed a third. “And cheese was my favorite food.”

    We can develop lactose intolerance at an early age: After being weaned, roughly 70% of the world’s children begin to lose the ability to make lactase, the enzyme which breaks down lactose in the intestine. This lack of lactase causes lactose intolerance. Much of it is undiagnosed, brushed off as a generic stomach ache.

    Today’s tip is for anyone who may have noticed some type of digestive upset after eating cheese.

    Most cheeses are 98% lactose free, but the 2% that remains can cause severe digestive problems.

    There’s good news here, though: Most aged, hard cheeses are naturally lactose free, including the popular and versatile Cheddar. You might not be able to enjoy fresh goat cheese, Brie and mozzarella without side effects. But don’t lament what you can’t have: Rejoice in what you can have.

     

    That list starts with Cheddar. In the cheese-making process, the whey, where most of the lactose resides, is drained from the curd in the milk. With hard, aged cheeses like Cheddar, the remaining 2% of the lactose is consumed in the aging process.

    Since most people don’t realize this, Cabot Cheese, a Cheddar specialist, has been labeling one of its products as “Lactose Free.” That’s like labeling olive oil “Cholesterol Free,” but it’s part of the education process for the majority of people, who just don’t know.

    Other cheeses to try: Colby, Swiss, Parmesan or other hard grating cheeses such as Asiago, Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano.

    Note, however, that people who have zero lactase activity (are completely lactose intolerant) may not be able to eat any kind of dairy product unless it has undergone an extra step in production: a specific enzymatic process that predigests all the lactose into galactose and glucose. Green Valley makes excellent lactose-free yogurt and sour cream. More products like this are coming onto the market, but be prepared to pay a bit more for the extra time and effort required.

    Do you like cottage cheese? It can range from 0 to 4 grams of lactose per half cup. You can contact the producer to see where a particular brand ranks; or you can try different brands to see which you tolerate.

    Like American cheese on your burger? Switch to Cheddar or Swiss: A 1.5-ounce slice of processed American cheese can contain up to 6 grams of lactose!

     

    LACTOSE IS HIDING IN YOUR FAVORITE FOODS

    While you might expect to find milk derivatives in processed foods such as blue cheese dressing, cocoa mixes, cream soups and frostings, you may find them in unexpected places.

    It’s used in breads, candies, cold cuts, cookies, dry cereals, frozen breaded fish and chicken, hot dogs and—surprise—packets of sugar substitutes, where it is used to bulk up the packets. The spoonable versions—what you’d sprinkle on cereal—have even more of it.

    Beyond giveaways such as buttermilk, cream, half and half and milk, words to look for and avoid:

  • Lactose
  • Malted milk
  • Margarine
  • Milk solids
  • Nonfat milk solids
  • Sour cream
  • Sweet cream
  • Whey
  •  
    Read the labels carefully.

     

    Hard grating cheeses are lactose free. Enjoy! Photo by Yin Yang | IST.

     

    Here’s a collection of lactose education materials from the National Dairy Council.

    Find more of our favorite cheeses—including lactose-free cheeses—in our Cheese Section.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Chocolate Pudding, Lactose Free & Cholesterol Free

    People who are diagnosed with a food allergy have to give up some favorite foods or turn to less-than-tasty substitutes. But enough Americans are diagnosed with allergies that businesses are rising to the occasion to make good-tasting alternatives.

    Often, allergen-free products are made because a family member develops the condition. In one of the more ironic situations, the Coffins, a Montana farm family that has been dairying for generations, had to remove all dairy products from the diets of mom and the kids.

    After trying the less-than-satisfactory alternatives the family began to create their own substitutes, tasty enough that everyone—including the non-allergic—could enjoy. The WayFare line of puddings, cheese spreads (regular, Mexican and smoked, our favorite) and sour cream was the happy result. Ice cream is currently under development.

    The “secret” ingredient in the line is certified gluten-free, whole grain oatmeal. In the course of using oatmeal to replace the body of milk, the products also became cholesterol free and vegan.

    The line is 100% dairy-free, soy free, cholesterol free, trans-fats free and non-GMO. The products are certified kosher by Star-K.

     

    WayFare lactose-free puddings. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    So how do they taste?

    The butterscotch and chocolate fare well; the vanilla, to us, doesn’t have significant vanilla flavor and works better as a hard sauce or creamy topping.

    There’s a store locator on WayFareFoods.com, and information for retailers who want to amp up their lactose free foods.

    FOOD ALLERGY FACTS

    There’s an economic opportunity in products that address food allergies. Anheuser-Busch makes a gluten-free beer, the Girl Scouts sell three varieties of milk-free (lactose-free) cookies and General Mills reformulated Rice Chex earlier this year to be gluten-free. Kellogg’s makes its Pop-Tarts in nut-free factories. If vodka is your drink of choice, look for products distilled from non-grains, such as grapes and potatoes.

    An estimated 12 million people in the U.S. have food allergies; 2 million more have celiac disease, a potentially deadly form of gluten allergy.

    Medical experts don’t know why the number of people with food allergies is increasing. Theories include reduced contact with germs, exposure to certain environmental pollutants and, in the case of peanut allergies, the way peanuts are processed and at what point they are introduced into a person’s diet. Much research is needed; there is very little of it, even though allergic reaction to food causes about 30,000 emergency room visits and 150 to 200 fatalities each year.

    Statistics from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) reveal that in the U.S.:

  • Some 8% of children have a food allergy: an estimated 5.9 million children, of whom 38.7% have a history of severe reactions. Peanut is the most prevalent allergen, followed by milk and then shellfish.
  • The prevalence of food allergy among children under the age of 18 increased 18% percent from 1997 to 2007 (peanut allergy doubled from 1997-2002).
  • Some 3% to 4% of adults have one or more food allergies. Six and a half million Americans (2.3% of the general population) are allergic to seafood; more than 3 million people are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts or both.
  • Food allergies account for 35% to 50% of all cases of anaphylaxis. Mayo Clinic studies estimate that the number of cases more than doubled, from 21,000 in 1999 to 51,000 in 2008. Fatal food anaphylaxis is most often caused by peanuts (50%-62%) and tree nuts (15%-30%).
  •  
    So read the labels, and look for more good food coming from allergen-free manufacturers.

      

    Comments

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