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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 Giftable

PRODUCT: Fischer & Wieser Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

fisher-wieser-raspberry-chipotle-sauce-230

Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
is an award winning condiment. Photo
courtesy Fischer & Wieser.

 

Perhaps we’re in a raspberry state of mind. Yesterday we recommended the delicious jam from Chad’s Raspberry Kitchen. Today it’s the Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce from Fischer & Wieser.

The motto of the Fischer & Wieser specialty foods company is “inspiring your culinary adventure.” The company manufactures more than a hundred items, but the one that lingers in our memory is smoky Raspberry Chipotle Sauce.

A blend of raspberries and chipotle peppers, it is a smokey, sweet and spicy condiment for meat, fish or poultry. We mix it with a bit of mayo for a sandwich spread, and also enjoy it with scrambled eggs or an omelet. It is delectable!

You can’t run out of ways to use it. For example:

  • Bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Baked beans
  • Brie en croute
  • Chicken dippers
  • Cowboy coleslaw
  • Easy appetizer with cream cheese and crackers
  • Grilled beef or pork tenderloin or roast
  • Grilled salmon
  • Kebabs
  • Ribs
  • Shrimp tacos
  • Salsa
  • Sandwiches (great with ham and cheese)
  • Spinach salad and other salad dressings
  • Steak
  • Stuffed chicken breasts
  • Tomato and feta salad
  • Turkey
  • Wings
  • Don’t forget dessert:

  • Bread Pudding
  • Brownies
  • Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Sherry Sauce
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Melon Salad
  • Peach sorbet
  •  
    All of the recipes can be found on the company website. There’s even one for a spicy Margarita.

     

    WHERE TO FIND IT

    Raspberry Chipotle Sauce is sold online, at specialty food stores, club stores and grocery stores in the U.S., and internationally in Canada, Mexico and the U.K. We really like it as a small house gift, party favor or stocking stuffer.

    A 15.75-ounce bottle is $8.74 on Amazon.com; a 40-ounce bottle is $17.95.

    From its origins as a road-side peach stand, Fischer & Wieser now produces more than one hundred products in the same tradition as their first jar of peach preserves. Nestled in the fruitful farmland of the Texas Hill Country, Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, Inc. is still family owned and operated. But it’s now a bustling international company that has become the number one specialty food company in Texas.

    The company’s URL reflects its origins: Jelly.com.

    Fischer & Wieser recommends “sauce pooling,” serving a grilled, roasted or poached protein (in the photo, roasted turkey) with an assortment of sauces and other condiments. It’s our friend Andy’s favorite way of eating!

     

    turkey-sauce-plate-fisherwieser-230

    Fischer & Wieser recommends “sauce pooling,” serving a plain protein with an assortment of sauces and other condiments. Photo courtesy Fischer & Wieser.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Chad’s, The Best Raspberry Jam?

    Utah’s Bear Lake is a beauty: a natural freshwater lake on the Utah-Idaho called the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for its turquoise-blue color.

    Although the lake lies relatively near the Oregon Trail, which was traveled by many pioneers between 1836 and the 1850s, it seems that none of traveled south enough to find the lake. It wasn’t until 1863 that Mormons settled in the Bear Lake Valley, home to some Shoshone tribes.

    Fast forward 150 years or so: The area has become famous for its delicious red raspberries. A Raspberry Days festival is held in Garden City to celebrate the harvest of raspberries, generally during the first week of August. The raspberries are sweet and plentiful.

    So we almost kicked ourselves when we found a box of Chad’s Raspberry Kitchen products tucked away, forgotten in a storage area. Boy, are they delicious!

    First up was the Raspberry Jam, the company’s best seller. It’s one of the best raspberry jams we can remember: solid fruit that falls apart into jam during cooking. Chad’s cooks the whole berries with natural fruit pectin and sugar, “the way your grandmother would make it” (or at this point, Chad, our great-grandmother).

     

    chads-raspberry-jam-230

    Great rapsberry jam at a great price. Photo courtesy Chad’s Raspberry Kitchen.

     

    Sustainably farmed located in Laketown, Utah (population 248 at the 2010 census), all natural and preservative free, Chad’s other products include:

  • Raspberry Jalapeño Jam, the classic raspberry spiced up with jalapeño chiles.
  • Seedless Raspberry Jelly.
  • Raspberry Honey, made by bees from the nectar of the raspberry blossoms.
  • Raspberry Syrup, for pancakes, ice cream and other desserts and to make raspberry iced tea or lemonade.
  • Raspberry Salsa, raspberries mixed with a tomato based salsa to create a sweet salsa for dipping or garnishing grilled meats and seafood.
  • Gift box assortments.
  •  

    Everything is very well priced at $4.99 (the honey is $5.99), and they’re more delicious than products selling at twice the price. Chad’s is a great idea for holiday gifting.

    Get yours at ChadsRaspberryKitchen.com.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Outer Spice No Salt & Low Salt Spice Blends

    Outer Spice aims to be the gourmet’s version of Mrs. Dash.

    Low Salt and No Salt seasoning blends are made from the finest, quality ingredients. The blends are made from whole, freshly ground herbs and spices.

    The line debuts with two no-salt blends, original and spicy, and two low-salt blends, ditto. The blends are all-natural, gluten-free, free of MSG and rich in antioxidants.

    These well-balanced spice mixes can transform and improve the taste of any dish, without adding any—or much—sodium.

    LOW SALT SPICE BLENDS

    Both low salt versions use pink Himalayan sea salt. They contain 95mg of sodium per serving, 4% Daily Value of sodium.

  • Outer Spice Original Low-Salt is a blend of Himala pink sea salt, garlic, black pepper, onion, allspice, nutmeg, thyme, scallions, red pepper, onion powder, peppers, cinnamon, dill, caraway and spices.
  • Outer Spice Spicy Low-Salt, for those who like a bit of heat, is a blend of Himala pink sea salt, garlic, black pepper, onion, allspice, nutmeg, thyme, scallions, red pepper, onion powder, peppers, cinnamon, dill, caraway, cayenne pepper and spices.
  •  

    outer-spice-no-salt-outerspice-230

    Season your foods with a choice of two blends, regular and spicy, with no salt or low salt. Photo courtesy Outer Spice.

     
    NO SALT SPICE BLENDS

  • Outer Spice Original No Salt is a blend of garlic, black pepper, onion, allspice, thyme, lemon thyme, basil, scallions, red pepper, peppers, dill, caraway, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and other spices.
  • Outer Spice Spicy No Salt kicks it up a notch with chile. It combines garlic, black pepper, onion, allspice, thyme, lemon thyme, basil, scallions, red pepper, peppers, dill, caraway, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and other spices.
  •  
    WAYS TO ENJOY OUTER SPICE

  • Sprinkle on eggs, grains, pastas, salads and vegetables.
  • Rub on beef, chicken, fish and pork.
  • Mix into dips, dressings and marinades.
  • Pick up instead of the salt shaker.
  •  
    A 3.75-ounce jar is $6.99. Gift a bottle to anyone who should be cutting back on salt.
     
    Get yours at OuterSpiceIt.com.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Chillsner Beer Cooler

    chillsner-230

    Chill that beer in a minute. Photo
    courtesy Hewy Wine Chillers.

     

    We’re quite enamored of the Corkcicle, a reusable, gel-filled plastic icicle. Kept in the freezer until you need it, it becomes a wine cooler and bottle stopper that chills down a bottle of wine or maintains the temperature of an already chilled bottle.

    Forget a bulky ice bucket: This the perfect way to keep opened bottles of wine at just the right drinking temperature. It’s available in a standard edition, Corkcicle Classic, and a deluxe edition, Corkcicle One, which has a built-in aerator and pouring spout. Either is a great gift for wine lovers.

    Now Corkcicle has a beer brother: the Chillsner, for standard long neck beer bottles. The stainless steel frame contains the same proprietary thermal gel used in the Corkcicle. As with the Corkcicle, you keep the Chillsner in the freezer until you need it; then, simply insert it into the bottle.

    You can place the Chillsner in a warm bottle of beer and immediately sip cold beer through the spout (or pour it into a glass). Or, use the Chillsner to keep a pre-chilled bottle cold.

    If you’re drinking alfresco, the Chillsner also keeps the bugs out.

    Give as a summer gift, or plan for the holidays. Any beer drinker will be delighted.

     

    The list price is $29.95 for a two-unit gift box; but you’ll find the Chillsner for $20.95 on Amazon.com.

     
      

    Comments

    BOOK: Beat The Heat With The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook

    It’s too darn hot, wrote Cole Porter, in the days before air conditioning.

    But even if you benefit from modern cooling system, it may still be too darn hot to turn on the oven.

    Turn up the flavor—not the heat!

    Pick up a copy of The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook, and avoid turning on the stove or oven during the heat of summer.

    Featuring 101 good-for-you recipes—author Matthew Kadey is a registered dietitian—you can quickly assemble breakfasts, lunch and dinner mains and delectable desserts, including:

  • Applesauce Pie
  • Breakfast Prosciutto Pear Sandwiches
  • No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake With Cherry Sauce
  • No-Bake Flourless Fig Brownies
  • Peach Prosciutto Salad
  • Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bars
  • Raspberry Mint Frozen Yogurt
  • Salmon Mango Ceviche
  • Shrimp and Noodles with Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • Smoked Tofu Wraps
  • Sunflower Tomato Pâte Nori Rolls
  • Teriyaki Tofu Wraps
  • Tex-Mex Chipotle Beans
  • Very Berry Parfait Pudding
  •  

    The-No-Cook-No-Bake Cookbook-230

    Eat well without turning on the oven or stove. Photo courtesy Ulysses Press.

     

    Hungry? Get your copy at Amazon.com. If you need summer house gifts, buy extras.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cookie Cutter Gift

    If you need a special house gift for a summer host, consider baking cookies in special shapes. Or, bring the cookie cutters as gifts, along with pre-measured ingredients, as an activity gift.

    Most people who bake have cookie cutter circles, flowers and hearts, and perhaps some holiday shapes. But with more than 15,000 listings on Amazon.com, you can find something personal for your friends and family.

    For Families With Children

  • Dinosaurs
  • Farm animals
  •  
    For People With Beach Houses

  • Beachware
  • Marine life
  •  
    For Sports Enthusiasts

  • Golf clubs
  • Horses
  •  

    sea-creature-cookie-garnish-wilton

    Cookies on sticks, cookies in cakes. Photo courtesy Wilton.

     

    Just decide on your hosts’ recreational interests, and find a cookie cutter to match it.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Assorted Burger Box From Omaha Steaks

    Owe someone a gift? We saw this burger collection on sale at Omaha Steaks, and knew it was the solution to some of our own gift-giving challenges, to thank everyone who has invited us to spend a summer weekend outside the city.

    The “Burger Mania Combo” includes four each of:

  • Beef Burgers, ground from the trimmings of Omaha steaks
  • Brisket Burgers, a bold, beefier take on the traditional sirloin blend
  • Pork & Bacon Burgers, a savory flavor explosion
  • Salmon Burgers, full of flavor and color
  • Veggie Burgers: delicious and packed with fiber
  •  
    THE SALE

     

    assorted-burgers-omahasteaks-230

    A burger bonanza: five different types of burger. Where to begin? Photo courtesy Omaha Steaks.

    The collection of 20 burgers, regularly $146.00, is on sale for $54.99. That’s a savings of $91.01, which more than offsets the shipping.
     
    The patties are four to six ounces, depending on variety. Order yours at OmahaSteaks.com.

    The burger patties arrive frozen. BYO buns and garnishes.

    For starters, here are 12 burger recipes from Omaha Steaks.

    That’s part of the fun. Make a party out of mix-and-match burgers, buns, sauces and garnishes. And beer, of course.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Cake In A Jar

    Way back in 2009, we discovered the excellent cake in a jar from Yummy Cupcakes in Los Angeles. It became a Top Pick Of The Week, and one of those products that, years later, we still pine for, remembering every spoonful.

    The trend was slow in starting. After five years, in the past week we’ve received notice of two more cake in a jar products.

    DUFF’S CAKEMIX

    The Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, Duff Goldman, has a custom bakery in Baltimore, a line of cake mixes and cake decorating accoutrements sold nationwide, and most recently, a bakery café, Duff’s Cakemix, also in L.A., which includes a studio where Duff wannabes can decorate their own cakes.

    The bakery offers an array of freshly baked sweets, including Dinkies (Duff’s version of Twinkies) and Cake in a Jar.

    The latter presents an opportunity to send a special occasion “slice” of cake in a Mason jar, which keeps it moist and fresh for five days (not that there will be any left by then).

    So gift challenges are solved: You can send cake in a jar as a birthday gift, or to celebrate any occasion. There’s currently a seasonal red, white and blue Star Spangled Cake In A Jar.

       

    confetti-cake-duffscakemix-230

    Confetti Cake is sweet and celebratory. Photo courtesy Duff’s Cakemix.

     
    You can buy them in two, four or six units, and in two sizes: 8 ounces ($14 for two jars) or 16 ounces ($20 for two jars). The eight-ounce size is more than enough, but the larger size will keep for five days and affords the opportunity for continuous celebration.

    Flavors include Chocolate With Chocolate Buttercream and Chocolate Chips, Confetti With Vanilla Buttercream, Marble With Chocolate And Vanilla Buttercream and Vanilla With Vanilla Buttercream.

    We received a sample of the Confetti With Vanilla Buttercream. The confetti says “celebrate”; the recipe was a bit on the sweet side for us, but should be just the thing most American palates are looking for.

    Order them online at DuffsCakemix.com.

     

    jar-open-chicagocake-230

    Skip the wedding cake; almost everyone will
    prefer cake in a jar. Photo courtesy Chicago-
    Cake.com.

     

    CAKE CHICAGO

    We then received news that one of our favorite artisan bakers, Cake Chicago, is selling cake in a jar.

    Cake Chicago began life as a wedding cake specialist, subsequently branching out into daily treats like cookies, bars and chocolate truffles.

    So it’s no surprise that their cake in a jar achieves a higher standard. Just look at the elegant layers in the jar, perfectly fitted.

    We’d give these as wedding favors and serve a dessert that most guests will prefer to wedding cake. As you can see in the photos, the perfectly-fitted layers and make an excellent presentation.

    Like Duff’s, the jars can be wrapped in grosgrain ribbon, and tags can be added for quantity orders.

     
    Flavors include:

  • White buttermilk cake with raspberry conserve and Italian meringue buttercream
  • Chocolate fudge cake with salted caramel filing
  • Carrot cake with cream cheese filling
  • Banana cake with fudge filling
  •  
    The price is the same as Duff’s: $7.00, with a two jar minimum (8 ounce size only). Order online at Cake-Chicago.com.

    And if anyone out there wants to send us a gift: More cake in a jar, please! It’s a happy way to enjoy a nice piece of cake.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Buy Peaches

    bowl-summerset-peaches-froghollow-230

    Summerset peaches. Photo courtesy Frog
    Hollow Farm.

     

    This tip is from Pearl Driver, the marketing director at Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, California (in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area) and Farmer Al Courchesne, a co-owner and farmer-in-chief.

    “Before I started working with Frog Hollow Farm,” says Pearl, I would carefully inspect each individual piece of fruit and select what I believed was the sweetest and most ready-to-eat—only to go home and find out how off the mark I was!”

    She now shares her “insider tips” on how to select peaches.

    HOW TO BUY PEACHES

    There are three main characteristics help to identify a sweet, juicy, ready-to-eat peach: color, touch and skin texture.

     
    Color

    The real color you want to look for is not the rosy blush but the background color of the fruit. It should be deeply golden, not pale yellow.

    The rosy red color is deceptive: Our brains are genetically evolved to think that the color red implies delicious and sweet. As a result, peach growers have bred the red color into their peaches. It doesn’t ensure superior fruit.

     

    Touch

    You can tell if a peach is ripe by a gentle yet firm squeeze with your fingers (not hard enough to bruise it). If there’s a little bit of a give, it means that the fruit is almost ripe—but not quite.

    Leave that peach on the kitchen counter for another 2 to 3 days, until it is soft to very soft.

    Skin Texture

    This is the most telling of all three characteristics, and the one least known.

    You can tell that a peach is ready to eat by looking for signs of shriveled skin around the stem end. Those wrinkles indicate a really ripe peach.

    The wrinkles develop during ripening, when water starts to evaporate from the fruit’s porous skin. As the peach starts to dry up, the flavors intensify.

    Now you’re ready to head out and pick out some peaches.

     

    organic_peaches_autumnFlame-froghollowfarm-230

    Autumn Flame peaches. Photo courtesy Frog Hollow Farm.

     
    Storage

    When you get them home, here’s a grower’s tip: Always store fruit on your kitchen counter in such a way that no two pieces of fruit are in contact with each other.

    In other words, it’s better to line them up on the counter than have them touching each other in a fruit bowl.

    A final suggestion:

    Pearl’s favorite fruits from the farm are the O’Henry peach and the Flavor King pluot. So keep checking the website and when you find them, treat yourself to a box.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Jam For Inspector Clouseau

    gift-box-deptofsweetdiversionsFB-230sq

    Jam in covert gift packaging. Photo courtesy Dept. Of Sweet Diversions.

     

    With popular television franchises like CSI, Law & Order and NCIS, detective culture has finally seeped into specialty food.

    The perps (actually, they’re the good guys) moved from Europe to Los Angeles to form their artisan jam agency (“a top secret covert organization”).

    Agent Copperpot hails from France, where she learned the craft of small batch jam making from both of her grandmothers. Chester Pinkerton, born and raised in Switzerland, is a professional illustrator.

    They created the Dept. of Sweet Diversions with a primary objective “to create delicious little diversions so you can treat yourself to something truly special.”

    Otherwise stated, their goal is to elevate the art of preserving to inspire people to try new fruit and flavor combinations.

     

    They source local organic and/or sustainably grown fruit in bountiful southern California, and make jams, jellies, marmalades and fruit butters. (Check out the different types of jam and other spreads.) Most of the ingredients come from farmers markets within a 12 mile radius of their kitchen.

    The jam is made by hand in small batches using traditional techniques. Each flavor features organic ingredients and is completely free of preservatives. Nothing is processed (even the pectin is homemade).

    The pair are quick to note that “Breakfast isn’t the only meal of the day that should feature jam, it’s just the first!”

    Their jams pair exquisitely with fine cheeses, mixed into cocktails and served as a condiment with fish and meat dishes. But don’t stop there: Here are 20 of THE NIBBLE’s favorite ways to use fine jam.

     

    The current line consists of eight choices, available plain or in “covert” gift packaging.

  • The Cocoa Caper: orange jam with dark chocolate. Enjoy it on a crêpe.
  • The Grand Scheme: strawberry jam with Grand Marnier liqueur. Pair it with brioche.
  • Master of Disguise: tomato jam infused with basil. Pair it with burrata cheese.
  • Mr. Bartlett’s Stepchild: pear jam with ginger and acacia honey. Pair it with Cheddar.
  • Operation Peppercorn: strawberry jam with balsamic vinegar & the refined heat of black pepper. Pair it with goat cheese or Brie.
  • The Return of Mr. Bartlett: pear jam with vanilla bean and chestnut honey. Pair it with blue cheese or top French vanilla ice cream.
  • The Sanguine Seduction: blood orange marmalade with vanilla bean. Enjoy it on toast.
  • The Suite Surprise: apple butter sweetened with agave. Enjoy it on a peanut butter sandwich.
  •  

    mr.bartlett-pearjam-vanillabean-chestnuthoney-230

    We devoured the contents with a spoon! Photo courtesy Dept. Of Sweet Diversions.

     
    We received samples of Master of Disguise (tomato jam), Operation Peppercorn (strawberry balsamic), The Return of Mr. Bartlett (pear jam) and The Sanguine Seduction (blood orange). We’ll be ordering more of the delicious blood orange marmalade and tomato jam. We demolished the contents with a spoon!

    And we’ll be trying more flavors, too. A six-ounce jar is $12, or $14 with Top Secret gift wrap.

    Discover more at Dept.OfSweetDiversions.com.

      

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