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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 Low Fat

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Chef Gerard & Chuck’s Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is made from the green tomatillo
berry, which is not a tomato. Photo by
Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

 

We’re a nation of salsa lovers; but much of that is salsa roja, red salsa.

In Mexico, the land from which we obtained our love of salsa, it’s the opposite. Only the northern states of Mexico, closest to the U.S. border, have red salsa as their tradition.

Green salsa is based on the tomatillo, which is a distant relative of the tomato (the difference between tomatoes and tomatillos).

We’ve had salsa verde from jars, but only recently experienced the joys of fresh salsa verde, from Chef Gerard & Chuck’s. It made us ask, why isn’t there more fresh salsa verde on the market?

Of course, that’s the very question that got Chef Gerard into the business!

  • Read the full review.
  • Watch the video and learn how to make salsa verde.
  • Check out all the different types of salsa in Latin America, including 20 types you’ve probably never heard of.
  • The history of salsa, all the way back to the Aztecs.
  • How did salsa, the food, become salsa, the dance? The origin of salsa dancing.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fat Separator

    Remember Jack Sprat, who could eat no fat; and his wife could eat no lean?

    We bet that Mrs. Sprat is long gone to her reward from heart disease, diabetes, and/or stroke: a result of her high-cholesterol, high-saturated-fat diet.*

    Jack? He’s a sprightly senior, still eating lean.

    *Our bodies make too much cholesterol when we eat too much saturated fat, which is the type of fat found in animal-based foods, including meat and dairy products.

    Take a tip from Jack: Minimize your saturated fat intake from gravy, soups and stocks.

    Separating fat can be a messy job, but the OXO Fat Separator makes it neat and easy.

     

    One of the easiest ways to eat healthier:
    use a fat separator. Photo courtesy SurLaTable.com

    Old school cooks skim the fat while cooking, or by refrigerating the cooked food. The fat rises to the surface and congeals when cold, so it can be hand-skimmed with a spoon. This process works reasonably well, but it’s tedious and has you shaking or wiping fat from the spoon, over and over again.

    Others use a bulb baster. It’s better than nothing, but it doesn’t make things easy.

    Then some savvy person invented the fat separator. Some look like measuring cups; some, which are used at the table, look like gravy boats.

    Since fat rises to the top, a fat separator allows you to pour the lean juices from a spout connected to the bottom of the device (see the photo). The fat remains inside.

    The OXO Fat Separator adds a mechanism that filters out solid particles, leaving “pure slimmed-down juices” to flow from the spout. It’s available at Sur La Table and other fine stores, and SurLaTable.com; and at Amazon.com in both two-cup and four-cup sizes.

    Comments

    FOOD VIDEO: How To Choose Healthy Snacks

     

    If you’re one of the millions of people who have just made a New Year’s resolution to pursue better food choices, here’s an “inspirational” video. It shows some simple, portion-controlled snack ideas that let you treat yourself without going overboard.

    Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer savory flavors—and there’s no reason you can’t have both—pick up some tips to maintain your 2011 eating plan.


    Some of our favorites:

  • Quality lower-calorie, fat-free and no-sugar-added ice cream is as close as your local supermarket. If your goal is to have more ice cream more often, trade away the superpremium brands for those with half the calories, fat and carbs. It’s not plain vanilla: Edy’s, Dreyer’s and Breyer’s, among others, make exciting flavors.
  • Check out different sugar-free preserves. You can’t tell the difference with the best ones, imported from Europe made sweetened with maltitol. Or check out the organic Fiordifrutta line, sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar and available in an orchard of flavors: Apricot, Blackberry, Cherry, Cranberry, Lemon, Peach, Plum, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry, Wild Berries and Wild Blueberry.
  • No Sugar Added preserves also make good low calorie dessert toppings for ice cream and yogurt, as well as pancake toppings.
  • Salsa is low in calories but bursting with flavor and nutrition. Salsa and baby carrots are a ready-to-eat, healthy snack. Check out some of our favorite salsas and salsa recipes.
  • And speaking of veggies, treat yourself to pickled vegetables. Our two favorite brands are Rick’s Picks and Tillen Farms. Asparagus, okra, red pepper strips, string beans and other veggies never tasted so good!

    Find more healthy ideas in our Cooking Videos Section.

  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Strawberries For The Holidays

    Holiday season is high-calorie season. But you can help your calorie-stressed guests.

    In addition to serving crudités as an option to the seductive Brie Torte, provide fresh fruit for guests who are watching calories or carbs, don’t eat refined sugar or are doing their best to avoid plunging into your brownies and butter cookies.

    Fresh fruit pickings are slim in December, but a big bowl of strawberries is seasonal in color, festive in appearance and usually abundant, thanks to California’s strawberry growers. (It’s warm enough in the southern part of the state to harvest strawberries in December.)

    Packed with antioxidants that are heart-healthy, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory. Strawberries are just about perfect as a fruit. Just compare:

  • Apples: 65 calories/cup, 17.3 g total carb, 16.2 g sugar
  • Grapes: 62 calories/cup, 15.8 g total carb, 14.9 g sugar
  • Pears: 96 calories/cup, 25.5 g total carb, 16.2 g sugar
  • Pineapple: 78 calories/cup, 20.3 g total carb, 20.3 g sugar
  • Strawberries: 49 calories/cup, 11.7 g total carb, 7.4 g sugar
  •  

    A bowl or basket of strawberries is a healthy
    and low calorie holiday option. Photo courtesy WellPict.com.

    The numbers to note are carbs and sugar: Strawberries have half as much sugar than most other fruit, including canteloupe.

    Serve strawberries with a low-calorie, fat-free cinnamon-yogurt dip. Sweeten with a non-caloric sweetener or low calorie, low-glycemic agave nectar.

    Nutrition information from CalorieCount.About.com.

     
    A nice presentation is to place the strawberries in a napkin-lined basket with a bowl of dip in the center. If the caps on the berries are bright green and perky, leave them on—they add to the beauty. Just provide a small bowl for the discarded stems.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Angie’s Kettle Corn

    Kettle corn: a bit salty, a bit sweet. Photo
    by River Soma | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Some people like their popcorn extra-crunchy. Others like a softer chew.

    If you’re in the latter camp and like sweet popcorn, Angie’s Kettle Corn may be the treat you’re looking for. Made in Minnesota, it’s the official kettle corn of the Minnesota Lynx, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Twin and the Minnesota Vikings.

    Popped in small batches in real kettles, Angie’s has classic kettle corn flavor—a bit of salt, a bit of sugar.

    Popcorn contains no cholesterol or trans-fats: just popcorn, corn oil, cane sugar and sea salt. It’s gluten free (Angie’s is produced in an allergen-free environment and is all-natural—no preservatives). And it’s kosher-certified by Blue Ribbon Kosher (BRK) of Minneapolis.

    Angie’s also makes Lite Kettle Corn (50% reduced fat but full flavor) and Caramel Kettle Corn for those who want to sweeten their day a bit more.

  • Learn more and buy Angie’s online at AngiesKettleCorn.com.
  • Find our favorite popcorn and other snacks in our Gourmet Snacks Section.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Chocolate Yogurt & Caramel Yogurt From Oikos

    Dessert yogurt with zero fat? Sure, we’ll try that!

    Oikos, one of our favorite brands of yogurt (made by Stonyfield), has another winner. Its Pure Pleasure yogurts in Caramel and Chocolate will change your perception of yogurt.

    Both are absolutely delicious, 0% fat, certified organic, gluten free, and even OU kosher! The chocolate and caramel flavors ring true. It one could ask for anything more, it would be that others browsing the refrigerator would stop eating it and leave more for us.

    The four-ounce cups provide just enough satisfaction for a quick snack or for dessert. Each cup has 10g protein, 17g total carbs, 110 calories and live and active cultures.

    Unlike most Greek yogurt, the consistency isn’t super-thick. This enables the caramel and chocolate yogurts to be used as a dessert sauce—on pound cake or angel food cake, for example. It’s also a great dipper for fruit.

    You can print out a 50¢ coupon at Stonyfield.com (registration required).

     

    Caramel yogurt and chocolate yogurt are
    delicious dessert and snack options. Photo
    by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

    Ten percent of Stonyfield’s profits go to environmental causes. Feel good yet? You’ll feel even better with your first taste of Pure Pleasure yogurt.

  • Find more of our favorite yogurts plus recipes in our Gourmet Yogurt Section.
  • Learn all the different types of yogurt in our Yogurt Glossary.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Zoku Ice Pop Maker

    You can become the most creative glacier in town with the Zoku Quick Pop Maker from Williams-Sonoma.

    It’s easy to create your own customized frozen pops, including cream-filled varieties, in as little as seven minutes.

    Use your favorite juices and other beverages (coffee, tea, kefir, smoothies) or fresh fruit purées to make the gourmet pops of your dreams.

    Designed to be very user friendly—quick freezing, easy release from molds, reusable plastic pop sticks that have drip guards—Zoku looks to be the best pop-making option we’ve seen.

    Why should you give up storage space to a pop-making machine?

     

    It’s easy to make gorgeous ice pops with
    your favorite flavors and add-ins. Photo
    courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

    • You can make gourmet pops in the exact flavors you want, and express yourself artistically in flavors, colors and patterns. (One of our favorites is to freeze cocktail mixes into Margarita Ice Pops and savory Bloody Mary Mix ice pops. Alcohol doesn’t freeze well, but you can try a teaspoonful per pop.)

    • You have something new and special to serve guests.

    • Things you’d normally drink for health can be turned into pops—from pomegranate juice to probiotic peach kefir.

    • You can control for dietary needs—reduced sugar, no sugar or kosher, for example—and allergies.

    • Ice pops have fewer calories than ice cream and are fat- and cholesterol-free (unless you elect to make cream pops).

    • It’s a fun way to teach the whole family that they can enjoy preparing their own food.

    • And thanks to the plastic sticks, there’s no yucky wood flavor that we so dislike with commercial ice pops.

    Find more of our favorite frozen treats, plus recipes, in our Ice Cream Section.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Chicken Sausage

    Turn a Waldorf Salad, made with apples and
    walnuts, into a Sausage Waldorf with apple
    chicken sausage. Photo courtesy
    AlFrescoAllNatural.com.

     

    Most of us reach for pork sausage at the supermarket—it’s what we grew up with.

    But demand for healthier foods has created a robust business in chicken sausage. Just by switching to chicken over pork sausage, you can save 70% of the fat. You can also enjoy more specialty flavors, since chicken’s milder flavor allows seasonings such as apple, chipotle, spinach and feta and sundried tomato to be more expressive.

    Just as with pork sausage, there dinner and breakfast varieties as well as “cocktail franks.” In addition to far less fat than pork sausage, most chicken sausage brands are free of nitrites, nitrates, preservatives and artificial ingredients. A 3-ounce link is about 130 calories, depending on brand and filling (cheese flavors will add a few calories). That’s not much more than chicken.

    We recently tried two of the nine fully-cooked flavors from Al Fresco, the country’s largest producer of chicken sausage, and look forward to trying the rest.

    There are many recipes on the site, but we epecially love them as easy snacks and hors d’oeuvre—think Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sausage with pineapple mango salsa.

  • Find more information about Al Fresco Chicken Sausage.

  • Comments

    DISCOUNT: Walkers Shortbread, Biscuits & Cakes

    If there’s anyone in America who hasn’t had Walker’s shortbread, then he or she isn’t a cookie person.

    But store shelves have limited space: Unless you visit a theoretical Shortbread Emporium, you’re not likely to find all the different types of Walkers Shortbread—the variety of shapes (fingers, ovals, rounds, petticoat triangles) and flavors (chocolate chip, chocolate covered). And there are oatcakes, which we love with cheese (and so must Queen Elizabeth II, as the boxes carry her royal warrant).

    There is also a bevy of biscuits (the British word for both cookies and savory biscuits): Belgian Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Chunk and Hazelnut, Fruit and Lemon, Oatflake and Cranberry, Stem Ginger, and White Chocolate Chunk & Raspberry.

    Walkers has been baking shortbread in the Scottish Highlands since 1898. While other old-time bakers have substituted cheaper ingredients in their original recipes, Walkers still uses only the finest pure ingredients with no artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives. The cookies are certified Kosher OU-D and are suitable for vegetarians.

     

    petticoat-tails

    Crown a sundae with a Petticoat Tail short-
    bread for an unforgettable presentation. Photo courtesy Walkers.

    For those who can’t succumb to the regular shortbread and biscuits, there’s an entire line of Weight Watchers sweet biscuits and savory biscuits, but it is not available in the United States.

    And then there are the cakes: Courvoisier Liqueur Fruit Cake, Drambuie Liqueur Fruit Cake, Glenfiddich Whisky Cake and more (sorry, the alcohol is not kosher-certified).

    Save 20% Through April 1st

    NIBBLE readers enjoy a 20% discount through April 1st. So try new things—and pick up a few Easter Basket gifts for your friends. Use code nibblewalkers at checkout. Head over to WalkersUS.com and dig in!

  • Check out the history of shortbread.
  • Find more of our favorite cookies and brownies, plus recipes, in our Cookies Section.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Low Calorie Party

    pork-loin-230

    This barbecue pork loin saves many calories
    with a sugar-free blackberry sauce. Here’s
    the recipe. Photo courtesy The J.M.
    Smucker Company.

     

    Want to throw a get-together but fear for your strict diet? Have a pot luck diet lunch or dinner.

    Everyone brings his or her best low-calorie dish, along with copies of the recipe to share and, if it’s a buffet, an index card to set in front of the dish, with the name of the dish and the cook, the ingredients and, if possible, calories per saving.

    For more party fun, everyone can rank their top three dishes, and winners can be named.

    The prizes?

    Something low-calorie, of course! Or something no-calorie, like fancy brands of mineral water.

    It’s a great party idea: Less cooking for you and the opportunity to try lots of new low-calorie recipes with your friends—who will be very thankful for all the new recipes they’ll be taking home.

    This party concept works with any dietary restriction—fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, low carb, vegan, etc.

    Comments

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