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Archive for Food Facts – Food History

RECIPES: Frozen Chocolate Cheesecake & Stout Pops, Chocolate Stout Float & The History Of Stout

Here are two fun, warm-day dessert recipes for the beer crowd, using stout. The history of stout is below, but let’s hop right to the recipes.

Any stout pairs deliciously with anything chocolate. And chocolate stout (photo #1) pairs even better.

RECIPE #1: FROZEN CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE STOUT POPS

We are the Will Rogers of cheesecake: We never met a cheesecake we didn’t like. We’ve never met an ice cream we didn’t like, as well.

And we like alcohol (liqueur) in both our cheesecake and our ice cream.

So when we chanced upon this recipe from Nugget Markets—a frozen chocolate cheesecake fudge pop with stout, photo #3—we knew we had to make them. There’s even a graham cracker “crust.”

Prep time is 15 minutes plus overnight freezing.

Ingredients For 5 Pops

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/3 cup Russian Imperial stout (we substituted chocolate stout)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 6 graham crackers (3/4 cup crumbs [3 ounces])
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX the sugar, softened cream cheese, and sour cream in a blender on low speed, until completely combined. Stir in the milk and stout.

    2. MELT the dark chocolate chips over a double boiler on the stove top (or in the microwave at 30-second intervals) until completely melted. Pour the melted chocolate into blender mixture and mix until well combined.

    3. SLOWLY POUR the mixture into the pop molds, tapping molds as you fill to remove any air bubbles. Leave a 1/2-inch empty space on the top for the “crust.”

    4. SMASH the graham crackers until completely crumbled (we put them in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin). ADD the melted butter and stir until combined. Add on top of the chocolate mixture, spreading evenly. Insert the ice pop sticks and freeze overnight.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: COFFEE-CHOCOLATE STOUT FLOAT

    We published recipes using chocolate stout a few years back: a chocolate stout float a few years back; along with chocolate stout ice cream.

    When we saw a recipe with coffee stout from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (photo #3), we knew it was time to repeat the idea.

    In this recipe, the chocolate float is made with chocolate ice cream and coffee stout, but go for chocolate stout if you prefer.

    Or flip it: Have an all-coffee float with coffee stout and coffee ice cream.

    Here’s a chocolate stout cake recipe to go with it.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 8 ounces coffee stout
  • 1/2 pint chocolate ice cream
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream
  •  
    Plus

  • A straw
  •  
    Preparation

       
    Rogue Chocolate Stout
    [1] Rogue Chocolate Stout is delicious in either of these recipes, plus this chocolate stout cream pie recipe from The Beeroness.

    Chocolate Cheesecake Pops
    [2] Have your cheesecake pops with a glass of stout on the side (photo and recipe from Nugget Markets).

    Coffee-Stout-Beer-Float-eatwischeese-230

    [3] The coffee stout float with chocolate ice cream. Here are step-by-step photos from Eat Wisconsin Cheese..

     
    1. PLACE two scoops of ice cream in a pint glass or other large glass.

    2. SLOWLY POUR the stout on top of ice cream to fill the glass. Serve with a straw

    Serve with a straw and a spoon.
     

     

    Glass Of Stout

    Guinness Pint Glass

    [4] and [5] Guinness, the world’s top-selling stout, is at the low end of ABV: just 5% (photos courtesy Guinness & Co.).

      THE HISTORY OF STOUT

    While man has been brewing beer since an client times, styles evolved over the millennia as different malts, yeasts, and hops became available. Stout is a relatively recent recipe.

    The first known use of the word “stout” for beer is in 1677. At that time, stout was a word for strong, and the document implied a strong beer, not a dark beer. Let’s skip ahead 50 years to porter, the basis of modern stout.

    Porter, which originated in London in the early 1720s. It was so-named because this strong beer—which was cheaper than other beers and increased in alcohol content with age—became popular with porters, among other Londoners.

    Within a few decades, porter breweries in London had multiplied many-fold. Large amounts were exported to Ireland, where by 1780 or so, ale brewer Arthur Guinness decided to brew his own porter (and ultimately created what would one day become the world’s most famous stout).

    The 19th century brought the development of black malt, the darkest of the common roasted malts. It gives beer a dark color and stronger flavor—a brew with a very different character than roasted barley-based beers. It became the standard malt for porter[source].

    At that point, “stout” still meant only “strong,” and the term could be related to any strong beer (stout pale ale, for example).

    But because of the huge popularity of porters, brewers made them in a variety of strengths. The beers with higher gravities were called stout porters.

    Stout became the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters. There is still debate on whether stouts should be designated a separate style from porter (as they are now), or simply be designated as stout [strong] porter.

     
    Like porter, stout is a dark beer made from roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. Stouts were traditionally the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters, typically 7% or 8% ABV.

  • Porter is typically 4% to 5% ABV. Baltic porter, brewed in the Baltic Sea countries of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden, is brewed with a higher alcohol content.
  • Stout is typically 5% to 10% ABV. It’s important to note that some American craft brewers have been making even stronger stouts—up to 11.5% ABV.
  •  
    By comparison:

  • Lager is typically 4% to 5% ABV.
  • Pilsner, a popular style of lager, is typically 3% to 6% ABV.
  • Brown Ale is typically 4% to 6% ABV.
  • India Pale Ale is typically 6% to 7% ABV. [source]
  •  
    In addition to chocolate stout and coffee stout, check out the other types of stout, including cream stout, dry (Irish) stout (e.g., Guinness), milk stout and oatmeal stout.

      

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    RECIPE: Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

    May 31st is National Macaroon Day. Here, David Lebovitz, renowned pastry chef, blogger and author of cookbooks, shares his recipes for chewy, chocolaty macaroons.

    First, some macaroon history:

  • MAC-A-ROON is the English name for the Italian almond meringue cookies (maccarone, mah-cah-ROW-nay) first made by monks, possibly in the 13th century. They most resemble today’s amaretti cookies, with a crisp crust and a soft interior, developed at the court of Savoy in the mid-17th century. Since almond flour made them kosher for Passover, Italian Jews embraced the recipe.
  • COCONUT MACAROONS were developed in the Jewish community as a variation to the original recipe. They became a popular year-round cookie outside of the Jewish community as well.
  • MAC-A-RONS are the French version, delicate meringue cookie sandwiches filled with buttercream, ganache or jam. They were created at the beginning of the 20th century by Parisian baker Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée, had the idea to join two meringues and fill them with ganache.
  •  
    All three versions are gluten-free.

    Who first thought to dip coconut macaroons in chocolate? It isn’t known, but we thank them.

    Here’s a detailed history of macaroons and macarons.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE-DIPPED COCONUT MACAROONS

  • Be sure to use unsweetened coconut (medium shredded coconut or coconut flakes), which is available at most natural-food shops and online.
  • You can prep the dough up to a week in advance, or freeze it for future use.
  • Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 25 minutes.
  •  
    Ingredients For About 30 Cookies

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar (10 oz./315 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2-1/2 cups (9 oz./280 g) unsweetened shredded dried coconut
  • 1/4 cup (1-1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces (60 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. STIR together the egg whites, sugar, salt, honey, coconut and flour in a large fry pan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom as you stir. When the mixture just begins to scorch at the bottom…

    2. REMOVE from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. At this point the mixture can be chilled for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to bake,

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a spoon and your fingers, form the dough into 1-1/2 inch (4 cm) mounds and arrange them evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

    4. LINE a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Melt the chocolate in a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Dip the bottom of each macaroon in the chocolate and set the cookies on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, 5 to 10 minutes.

     

    Coconut Macaroons Chocolate Dipped

    Macaroons On A Silpat

    Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

    Coconut Macaroons Chocolate Dipped

    [1] Dipping in chocolate. Who gets to lick the bowl? (photo courtesy David Liebovitz). [2] A Silpat baking sheet protects the macaroons from over-browning (photo courtesy Silpat). [3] Bet you can’t eat just one (photo courtesy Burdick Chocolate). [4] Dipping the tops in chocolate may cause drips, but there are no sticky fingers from holding a chocolate bottom (photo courtesy The Fosters Market Cookbook).

     
    Recipe originally posted on Williams-Sonoma.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mashed (Or Smashed) Pea Toast, The New Avocado Toast

    Smashed Pea Toast

    Avocado Toast Caprese

    Avocado Toast With Esquites

    [1] Mashed avocado toast gives way to mashed green pea toast, called Smashed Pea Toast at Bluestone Lane, a group of Australian-inspired cafés in New York City, Hoboken and Philadelphia. [2] Served Caprese-style. Here’s the recipe from Two Peas And Their Pod. [3] Esquites-style: Mexican corn salad with cotija cheese, lime and cilantro. Here’s the recipe from Closet Cooking.

     

    Avocado toast is an open-face sandwich, topping a piece of toast (often made with whole-grain or artisan bread) with mashed avocado seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon or lime juice.

    The not-so-recent history of avocado toast is below.

    More recently, mashed peas are being substituted for the avocado, along with more elaborate garnishes:

  • Beans: any beans, including chickpeas with a garnish of hummus, and black beans with salsa.
  • Cucumber slices: (plain or marinated) with fresh dill and cracked pepper.
  • Cheese: from crumbled feta and goat cheese to shaved parmesan.
  • Dried vegetables: beets, broccoli, caulifloer, corn, kale, plantain chips, wasabi peas.
  • Eggs: fried, hard-boiled/sliced, poached eggs.
  • Freeze-dried fruit and vegetables: such as Crunchies (see below).
  • Fresh fruit: berries and sliced fruits, including citrus segments.
  • Herbs and spices: from fresh basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, rosemary and thyme to chipotle, garlic, harissa and ras-el-hanout.
  • Lettuces: baby arugula (try it with goat cheese) or spinach, frisée, mesclun, watercress,
  • Onion family: chopped green onion, minced chives, sliced red onion.
  • Savory garnish: capers, edamame, green peas, jalapeño, microgreens, nuts and seeds, olives, pickled onions, radish slices, red chile flakes, sprouts.
  • Shellfish: crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp
  • Smoked fish: smoked salmon, with thin-sliced red onion and fresh dill.
  • Sweet garnish: citrus peel, crushed pineapple, honey-roasted nuts, pomegranate arils.
  • Tomato: halved cherry or grape tomatoes, plain or marinated (try them Caprese-style with bocconcini—small mozzarella balls—fresh basil and a balsamic glaze drizzle); sliced or diced tomato*, sundried tomato.
  • ________________

    *No decent tomatoes? Drain diced or whole canned San Marzano tomatoes.
    ________________

    There are even sweet avocado toast options, such as:

  • A topping of sliced bananas (try caramelizing them in a hot skillet), with optional coconut
  • Chocolate-avocado toast (recipe follows).
  • Dried fruits (see Crunchies, below).
  • Shredded coconut.
  •  
    For chocolate-avocado, mix 1/2 mashed avocado with one tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1-2 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup. Top with berries, coconut and/or mini chocolate chips.
     
    RECIPE: MASHED PEA TOAST†

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 garlic clove, quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for toast
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 2 pounds pods) or frozen peas, thawed, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 pieces toast of choice
  • Garnish: sliced radishes, whole peas
  • Preparation

    1. COMBINE the garlic, parsley, 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Add the peas and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 5 minutes for fresh peas, 2 minutes for frozen peas). Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.

    2. TRANSFER the pea mixture to a food processor; pulse to a coarse paste. Alternatively, for a chunkier blend, mash with a fork or a potato masher. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the chives, lemon juice and peel, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil.

    3. STIR in the reserved cooking liquid, tablespoon by tablespoonful, until the mixture is still thick but spreadable. Season with salt, black pepper and more lemon juice, if desired.

    4. TOP the toast with pea the mash peas. Garnish with the a sprinkle of whole peas, the remaining lemon peel, and more crushed pepper, as desired.
    ________________

    *Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe for mashed avocado sandwiches with preserved lemon.

     

    CRUNCHY FUN WITH CRUNCHIES FREEZE-DRIED FRUIT SNACKS

    We’ve long been fans of Crunchies freeze-fried fruits and vegetables: a healthful, low-calorie, crunchy, all natural grab-and-go snack with no added sugar.

    In addition to grab and go snacking, we use them as garnishes for everything from salad to sorbet.

    The fruits include blueberries, cinnamon apple, grapes, mango, mixed fruit, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries and strawberry banana.

    Alas, our favorite freeze-dried corn kernels has been discontinued; but it’s been replaced by something equally wonderful: freeze dried sliced beets!

    The line is certified gluten free, kosher (OU) and non-GMO.

    You can find a store locator of buy online at CrunchiesFood.com.

     

    Crunchies Freeze-Dried Beet Chips

    Crunchies freeze-dried beet slices, one of 10 varieties from Crunchies Food.

     
    THE HISTORY OF AVOCADO TOAST

    Although a relatively new trend in the U.S. (we first noticed it about four years ago), avocado toast has been “commonplace for a long time,” according to Wikipedia.

  • In Australia and Chile, large avocado growers, people have been eating avocado toast for decades.
  • In the U.K., it has been a popular snack since the early-1970s.
  • In Mexico, where the avocado is indigenous (the history of avocado), avocado on corn tortillas dates to ancient times.
  •  
    Surely, some conquistador, or more likely one of the nuns who followed in the early 16th century (the nuns created fusion European-Aztec cuisine, adapting New World ingredients to Old World cooking styles), first put sliced avocado on a piece of toasted European bread. But the record is mute on that.

    According to an article in The Washington Post, chef Bill Granger of Sydney, Australia may have been the first person to put avocado toast on a menu, in 1993. Another Australian chef believes that the combination of avocado and toast emerged in Queensland, Australia in the mid-1970s.

    Now, Millennials call it “smashed avo.”

    In 1999, Nigel Slater published a recipe for an avocado “bruschetta” in London’s newspaper, The Guardian.

    Even earlier, in 1962, a New York Times article showcased an “unusual” sandwich of avocado on toast.

    And even earlier than that, in 1937, The New Yorker published an article, “Avocado, or the Future of Eating,” in which the protagonist eats “avocado sandwich on whole wheat and a lime rickey.” [source]

    But credit social media with launching this low-key breakfast and snack into stardom, with an endless number of photos making it a must-have for avocado lovers.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bela Sardines & Mackerel

    School Of Sardines

    Bela Olhao Sardines

    Bela Olhao Sardines Open Can

    Bela Olhao

    Sardine Tapas

    Sardine Tapas

    [1] Close-up on a school of sardines (photo courtesy AP | Ventura County Star). [2] Cleaned, cooked and canned by BELA Brands (photos #2 and #3 courtesy BELA). [3] Open the can and… [4] Dig in (photo courtesy Food52). [5] Easy tapas, with tomato or pimento on a baguette slice (photo Wikipedia Commons). [6] Not-much-more-difficult sardine tapas at Nomad in New York City.

     

    Earlier in our life, we did not care at all for sardines. We turned up our nose at this “cat food.” That’s because what was available in supermarkets then was of pretty low quality. Many Americans grew up eschewing sardines.

    Often, those undesirables weren’t even sardines, but sprats—a different genus, Sprattus in the same family as sardines. They are less tasty cousins of sardines.

    To add to the confusion, sprats are sometimes called brisling sardines, after a canned variety from Norway.

    The sought-after European sardine, also called the pilchard sardine (photo #1), is species Sardina pilchardus Walbaum. You won’t find those words on a can: You have to know the best brands.

    Now we’ve become a foodie nation, and grocers are offering the world’s best. In sardines, that’s the BELA brand. They’re a boon for Mediterranean and Paleo Diet followers, as well as for anyone wanting a quick meal with quality protein.

    Check out the way we enjoy them, below.

    And did we mention they’re just $3 a can?

    BELA SARDINES

    The premium quality “gourmet” sardines from Bela Brands (photos #2, #3 and #4) have found their way into many foodie homes.

    The company also sells premium canned mackerel fillets and skipjack tuna in jars; but given the number of words in this article alone, we’ll have to feature them another time.

    BELA Brand Seafood is a family-owned business which has been sustainably fishing the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve, for generations.

    The large, juicy, delicious Portuguese sardines have been the main crop in this region for centuries. BELA lays claim to be the best canned sardine there is:

  • They’re the only Portuguese sardines packed within 8 hours of catch, for the finest flavor.
  • The fish are carefully washed and cleaned by hand and then cooked—one of the few brands of sardines that are cooked prior to canning.
  • In fact, they’re twice-cooked, which increases the proteins. One low-calorie serving delivers 11g of protein, omega-3s, vitamin D and calcium.
  • Full, premium fillets are packed fresh in organic extra virgin olive oil and organic sauces.
  • Sustainably wild-caught in nets, certified kosher (OU), gluten free and certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
  •  
    And, you get to choose your flavorings, except in the spring water option. Otherwise, the sardines nestle in seasoned organic olive oil:

  • BELA Lightly Smoked Portuguese Sardines in Olive Oil.
  • BELA Lightly Smoked Portuguese Sardines in Lemon Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • BELA Lightly Smoked Portuguese Sardines in Tomato Sauce.
  • BELA Lightly Smoked Portuguese Sardines in Spring Water.
  •  
     
    HOW WE ENJOY BELA SARDINES

    You can eat them at every meal of the day.

  • Breakfast
    _Eggs Benedict à la Portugal.
    _On buttered toast or avocado toast.
  • Lunch
  • _On a grilled vegetable sandwich, with optional mozzarella.
    _A sardine Cobb salad, in addition to, or replacing, the chicken.
    _A Niçoise salad, in addition to or replacing the tuna; spinach salad with hard-boiled egg.
    _Chirashi-style, on a bed of sushi rice or regular rice, with an assortment of vegetables (raw, cooked or pickled, sliced radishes, seaweed or what you feel like. Photo #7, below, adds an egg for a super-protein bowl.

  • Lunch
    _Place the fillets on top of the salad, or the salad on top of the fillets—for example, under a crown of arugula, mesclun or watercress.
  • _On pizza: Who needs anchovies?

  • Tapas
    _With a glass of wine at brunch or cocktails (see photos #5 and #6).
    _We top Finn Crisp flatbread with sardines and pickled onions.
  • Happy Hour
    _Place pieces on toothpicks and serve with beer and wine.
  • Hors d’Oeuvre
    _Add a piece to a cucumber slice, cracker or toast point.
  • Dinner
    _First course: on an individual crudité plate, like a Greek mezze plate, along with pita, olives and optionally, hummus or babaganoush.
    _Salad: Toss pieces with a green salad, or create a sophisticated plating with endive and/or radicchio.
    _Main course: on pasta, with good olive oil as the sauce (add olives, scallions, parsley—anything else you like—and top with toasted breadcrumbs).
  •  
    A can of sardines is also a grab-and-go protein boost for backpacking and other energy-sapping pursuits.

     

    SARDINES HISTORY

    Sardines are small, oily fish within the herring family of Clupeidae, ray-finned fishes, important, nutrient-rich food fishes comprising, among others, herrings, sardines, shads and whitebait.

    They are also important for fish oil and fish meal—and as food for larger marine denizens.

    Sardines are found around the globe today, although all sardines originally came from somewhere in Europe.

    The name “sardine” first appears in English in the early 15th century. Some historians say it may be named for the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.

    There are four genera of sardines, the two most important of which are:

  • Sardina, the European pilchard, Sardina pilchardus Walbaum, the only species in the genus.
  • Sardinops, with four species including the Californian, Japanese, South American and Southern African sardines.
  •  
    They are commonly found canned, tightly packed in—leading to their metaphorical use to describe a space where people or objects are crowded together.

    Canned sardines were a staple of millions of soldiers fighting both world wars. They sustained thousands of workers—the fishermen and packers of Cannery Row in Monterey, California, during the worst years of the Depression [source]. Similarly, they provided important fish protein to ravaged parts of Europe.

    Canning is a relatively recent innovation.

    In 1795, Nicolas Appert, a Parisian chef and confectioner, began to experiment with conserving foods, without altering their flavor or texture. He ultimately developed a process using a glass jar, similar to boiling the contents in a Mason jar.

    In 1810, British inventor and merchant Peter Durand patented his own method, using a tin can [source]. So, canned sardines have been available to export for a bit more than 200 years—and they very high quality and expensive: “gourmet” fare.

    But with the Industrial Revolution (from the mid-18th to the mid-19th centuries) things began to change. Fishing grounds became polluted, and some business practices—like labeling sprats as sardines—transpired to create those less-than-pleasing cans of sardines.

    Good news: The Portuguese Algarve has no industry, and the ocean waters are clean. That’s another reason BELA sardines taste so good.

    Here’s more on the history of sardines.

    WHERE TO GET BELA SARDINES

    Check our local markets, or head online to:

  • Amazon
  • Food 52
  •  

    Sardines On Wilted Greens

    Sardine Chirashi

    Spaghetti & Sardines

    [7] Sardines top a green salad (photo Emily Chang | THE NIBBLE). [8] Sardines in tomato sauce, chirashi style, from Kitchen Gidget. [9] Spaghetti and sardines (photo courtesy Taste Australia).

     
    FRESH SARDINES: IN STORES NOW!

    The Portuguese sardine season runs from May through October (sardines from other waters have their own seasons).

    In season fresh sardines even more wonderful, grilled, pickled or smoked. Grilled sardines fresh sardines with potatoes, bread and a salad are a popular summer meal in Portugal—and will be a revelation to you if you keep an eye out for them.

    Sushi lovers: head to the sushi bar! Raw sardine nigiri is a treat!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: National Hummus Day: Try A New Brand!

    Hope Black Garlic Hummus

    Salad-Topped Hummus

    Chocolate Hummus

    [1] Black Garlic, one of 11 delicious flavors of Hope Hummus (photo courtesy Hope Foods). [2] One of our favorite ways to serve hummus: topped with salad ingredients and, as a lunch dish, with a hard-boied egg (photo courtesy Shayla | NOLA). [3] Woo hoo, chocolate hummus (photo courtesy Hope Foods).

     

    May 13th is International Hummus Day.

    Over the last two decades, hummus has evolved from a mezze at Mediterranean restaurants to the hottest, most nutritious dip and spread at supermarkets nationwide. It’s the darling of nutritionists, nutritious and versatile, and a better-for-you snack.

    Hummus is Arabic for chickpea. The more long-form name for what we refer to as hummus is hummus bi tahina, chickpeas with tahini. Tahini is a paste made of toasted, hulled sesame seeds, which can been joyed as a dip on its own.

    The recipe for hummus is simple: chickpeas, tahini and seasonings (including garlic), mashed and puréed*.

    THE HUMMUS RENAISSANCE

    Two decades ago, the hummus available in the U.S. was the classic: plain. If you didn’t order it at a restaurant or live near a neighborhood with an international market that carried it, you made your own the recipe is easy, once you found a store with tahini).

    But since the hummus renaissance, stores have been sagging under the weight of so many brands and so many flavors. We’ve counted more than two dozen flavors among different brands. Our personal favorites: horseradish and black olive, which we found at Trader Joe’s.

    But, we like everything. So we were very pleased to receive samples of a new brand from Hope Foods. If you head to the website now, you can enter to win a year’s supply of hummus.

    HOPE FOODS ORGANIC HUMMUS

    There are 11 flavors of hummus. We tried three of them, all especially delicious.

    First, the consistency is wonderful, like well-mashed homemade hummus.

    While we enjoy the ultra-smooth texture of big brands like Tribe, we welcome the return of toothsome texture, like Grandma used to make (if your grandma’s ancestry was in the eastern Mediterranean).

    Second, the flavor selection is a bit more interesting, with black garlic, Thai coconut curry, and spicy avocado hummus (the most popular flavor).

    The line is preservative free, certified Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Certified, OU kosher and USDA Organic. There’s a store locator on the website.

    HOPE HUMMUS FLAVORS

    Currently, the line of hummus includes:

  • Black Garlic Hummus
  • Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus
  • Kale Pesto Hummus
  • Lemon Peppercorn Hummus
  • Original Recipe Hummus (nice and peppery)
  • Red Pepper Hummus
  • Spicy Avocado Hummus
  • Sriracha Hummus
  • Thai Coconut Curry Hummus
  • Plus, Dessert Hummus

  • Dark Chocolate Hummus
  • Dark Chocolate Coconut Hummus
  •  
    While we haven’t had Hope’s chocolate hummus, we have had other brands: Thumbs up!

    The company also makes guacamole, which we have not yet tried.

    “Spread” the word!
    ________________

    *Some brands also add olive oil.

     

    THE HISTORY OF HUMMUS

    Chickpeas, sesame, lemon, and garlic have been eaten in the Levant† for millennia. Though widely consumed, chickpeas were cooked in stews and other hot dishes. Puréed chickpeas eaten cold with tahini do not appear before the Abbasid period (750 to 1517 C.E.) in Egypt and the Levant.

    The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus bi tahina are in 13th-century cookbooks from Cairo.

    Some food historians believe it appeared a century earlier, prepared by Saladin, the first sultan of the Ayyubid dynasty (1174–1193); and if so, it was more likely created by a cook in his kitchen, the idea of the warlord Saladin-as-cook being tough to swallow.

    Recipes for cold purée of chickpeas without tahini, but with vinegar, oil, pickled lemons, herbs, spices (but no garlic), appear in medieval cookbooks; as do recipes with nuts vinegar (though not lemon), but it also contains many spices, herbs, and nuts. [source]

    Whomever and however, we’re grateful that it came to be part of our [almost] daily diet,

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    †The Levant is an English term that first appeared in 1497. It originally referred to the “Mediterranean lands east of Italy.” The historical area comprises modern-day Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. Among other popular foods, Levantine cuisine gave birth to baklava, balafel, kebabs, mezze (including tabbouleh, hummus and baba ghanoush), pita and za’atar, among other dishes that are enjoyed in the U.S. and around the world.
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    WHAT IS/ARE MEZZE?

    Mezze (MEH-zay) or meze is the singular form for a number of small dishes served in the Middle East to accompany drinks (add an “s” for the plural form in English). In some countries, an assorted mezze plate is served as an appetizer.

    Each country has its favorites. The ones most often found in the U.S. are:

     

    Mezze Platter

    Hummus Platter

    [4] A mezze plate in California: babaganoush, feta, hummus, olives, pita and a local touch, pickled carrots (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [5] Hummus itself is gluten-free, but not the pita. This gluten-free hummus plate from Glutino Foods offers other options.

  • Babaghanoush, mashed eggplant mixed with seasonings.
  • Dolmades can take many forms. In the U.S., they’re usually Greek-style: grape leaves stuffed with rice, chopped mint and lemon juice (these are also called sarma). In some countries, eggplants, peppers and zucchini are stuffed, often with the same ingredients plus minced lamb.
  • Falafel, a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both.
  • Fattoush – salad made from several garden vegetables and toasted or fried pieces of pita bread.
  • Feta cheese or other local cheese.
  • Halloumi cheese, sliced and grilled.
  • Hummus, a dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas.
  • Kibbeh, a mixture of bulghur, minced onions, finely chopped meat, and spices. Depending on the region, it is shaped into balls or patties and fried, baked, cooked in broth, or served raw (tartare).
  • Souvlaki, bite-sized lamb cubes, grilled on a skewer.
  • Labneh, strained yogurt that is more tart, like sour cream.
  • Tabbouleh, bulgur wheat, finely chopped parsley, mint, tomato, green onion, with lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings.
  • Taramasalata, a carp roe dip based whipped with lemon juice and olive oil. Sometimes, mashed potatoes or bread are added to stretch the recipe. We buy the Krinos brand, which does not add fillers.
  • Tzatziki, a dip made from plain yogurt, chopped cucumber with finely chopped garlic and mint leaf.
  • Yogurt.
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    They are typically served along with Greek-style olives and pita, or other flatbread.

    MORE HUMMUS

  • Beyond Dipping: More Ways To enjoy Hummus
  • Black Garlic Hummus Recipe
  • Carrot Hummus Recipe
  • Hummus Sushi
  • Make Your Signature Hummus
  • Rancho Gordo Hummus Recipe
  • Turn Plain Hummus Into Flavored Hummus
  • 20 Ways To Make A Hummus Sandwich
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