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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 Kosher Nibbles

RECIPE: Christmas Stuffed Avocado

How red and green and Christmassy! Consider this festive avocado as the first course of a holiday dinner.

Fresh lingonberries and their leaves have been used to garnish this stuffed avocado, but they are hard to come by. Instead, if you want to use the garnish, substitute pink peppercorns (look for the reddest ones). Note: You’ll get plenty of red and green without the peppercorn-leaf garnish, but it sure does look nice!

We mixed in some crabmeat we had on hand. You can also add chunks of lobster or shrimp.

This recipe is from Bella Sun Luci, whose sun dried tomatoes (from the sunny state of California) we used in the recipe. We love their entire family of sundried tomato products, which include:

  • Sun Dried Tomato Halves or Julienne Cut
  • Julienne Cut Sun Dried Tomatoes with Italian Basil or Greek Oregano, Basil & Garlic (we use them in omelets and pasta)
  •  

    A dish that says “Christmas!” Photo courtesy Bella Sun Luci.

  • Sun Dried Tomato Halves or Julienne Cut in Olive Oil & Herbs (great to toss into salads and on sandwiches)
  • Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with Whole Pine Nuts
  •  
    The line is certified kosher by Kosher Certification of Kashruth.

     

    Resealable packages keep the sun dried
    tomatoes moist. Photo courtesy Bella Sun
    Luci.

     

    RECIPE: CHRISTMAS STUFFED AVOCADO

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 1 avocado, sliced into halves, pitted and cubed
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomato halves, sliced or julienne style, drained, reserving seasoned olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil from jar
  • 1 teaspoon diced chives or to taste
  • Optional: crabmeat, lobster or shrimp
  • Optional garnish: 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
  • Optional garnish: sprigs of fresh rosemary (to replace the leaves in the photo)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SCOOP out avocado meat and slice into 1/2-inch cubes.

     

    2. GENTLY TOSS avocado with sun dried tomatoes and seasoned olive oil from jar, and the optional seafood. Place mixture into avocado shells. Garnish with chives and a few peppercorns if desired.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Cheeky Monkey Peanut Butter Puffs

    A tasty, gluten-free snack—organic and
    kosher, too. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    Imagine if cheese puffs tasted like peanut butter instead of cheese, and you’ve got Cheeky Monkey Peanut Butter Puffs.

    They’re airy, peanutty, kosher, gluten free and organic.

    The ingredients are simple: organic corn, organic palm oil, organic peanut butter and salt. Produced by Hasadeh Organic, the melt-in-your-mouth snack is good for everyone from toddlers to grown-ups.

    The bags, graced with a humorous monkey juggling peanuts, make fun stocking stuffers and party favors.

    The snacks are gluten free certified by Gluten Free Certification Organization, and certified kosher (parve) by OU.

  • A 2.12-ounce bag is $2.49 on Amazon.com.
  • A case of 12 bags is $31.55.
  • For those who like a spicy kick, there are Peanut Butter Chili Pepper Puffs.
  •  
    Learn more at CheekyMonkeyOrganic.com.

     

      

    Comments

    GLUTEN FREE: Glutino Toaster Pastry

    THE NIBBLE’s gluten-free expert, Georgi Page, reports on another excellent product.

    Glutino Food Group has been in the gluten-free business for a long, long time, since the days when it wasn’t necessarily a cash-cow, but more of a labor of conviction.

    They claim that their strategy is to simply “shut up and listen” and I have tasted enough to honestly believe them: The proof is in the pastries! Their responsiveness to what their market craves, and their brilliance at translating it, shows in the quality of their gluten-free products. And not just the quality, but the satisfaction, which is so far unparalleled for a gluten-free food brand (and I have tasted plenty).

    Recently, I had a chance to revel in the latest offerings from Glutin: Toaster Pastry.

     

    A superior toaster pastry in Apple Cinnamon or Strawberry. Photo courtesy Glutino Food Group.

     
    A treat along the lines of Pop-Tarts, the Glutino Toaster Pastry is actually more like that snack’s older, more intelligent cousin. It forsakes the cloying frosting and the candied filling with a crisp pastry that enfolds tangy, not-too-sweet apple cinnamon and strawberry fillings. It’s that breakfast-on-the run, or that late-afternoon snack with coffee or tea.

    The Apple Cinnamon is my favorite, with a flavor profile that went far beyond my expectations. It actually tastes like apples, and coming from a Minnesotan, there are few higher compliments.

    The trick is that it is in fact made with apples, with just the right amount of sweetness and spice. The crust, after toasting, is flakily satisfying without being greasy, yet still manages to have a great mouthfeel. Each pastry is 160 calories, with only 45 from fat; and the sugar content is a completely justifiable 12g. These are comparable to—or even better than—your average healthy granola bar!

     

    Mmm, delicious! Photo courtesy Glutino Food
    Group

     

    GOOD FOOD

    Nothing in the ingredients list is scary. The one ingredient I questioned, inulin, turned out to be a naturally-derived carbohydrate—a soluble fiber that can increase calcium and magnesium absorption as well as promote the growth of beneficial intestinal flora (as long as eaten in moderation)!

    The only thing that would make these better as a quick breakfast on-the-go, would be additional nutritional supplementation. But I don’t even ask that much. These pastries have already delivered something above and beyond, as Glutino manages to do every time. The brand is my gold standard.

     

    AND A COUPON!

    But as any manufacturer will tell you, the best ingredients are costly. Some retailers won’t carry these higher price point because of that, making it harder to get your hands on the line.

    To make trial a bit more affordable, here’s a link to a coupon for $.55 off of any Glutino product. Some retailers include Fresh Direct and Whole Foods, and you can find the products on Amazon.com.

    A box of 5 individually-wrapped pastries is $4.49 (90¢ each) on Amazon; a case of six boxes (30 pastries) saves a few cents.

    Here’s a store locator.

    MORE GOOD FOOD

    I cannot wrap up this review without a rave for a few of Glutino’s other standouts. The company makes a nice range of gluten-free products, from cookies to crackers, breads and pastas. The quality of what I’ve tried is unparalleled, the flavor is flawless.

  • The gluten-free pretzel chips are a big hit! Glutino’s pretzels, with their delightful crispness and shiny malty flavored coating tapped into the dormant pretzel monster within. I found that they had the perfect balance of toastiness to saltiness.
  • I also have to give kudos to Glutino’s chocolate vanilla creme cookies—but be careful, you could easily eat the whole package. I found myself putting them out of view and tip-toeing away to avoid the temptation. They are crunchy and luscious-tasting, and the creamy filling melts in your mouth.
  • I have not tried it, but am eager to sample the gluten-free spaghetti. I have no doubt it will be spectacular.
  • The line is certified kosher by Scroll K.

     
    —Georgi Page

      

    Comments

    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

    PRODUCT: Lovely Caramels, Vanilla & Chocolate Swirl

    The Lovely Candy Company of Woodstock, Illinois is committed to all natural, gluten-free and non-GMO candies made from the best ingredients. Its products include caramels, fruit chews and licorice.

    We love good caramels, and devoured the two bags we received: Original (vanilla) and Chocolate Swirl. We also received Fruit Chews—not our thing—which were devoured by the rest of THE NIBBLE team.

    Buttery and soft yet chewy, no dentures or fillings will compromised by these tender caramels. They’re made from brown rice syrup (a lower glycemic* sweetener), sweetened condensed whole milk, butter, dried cane syrup, molasses, vanilla and lecithin, with chocolate liquor† added for the Chocolate Swirl variety.

    Our preference is for the Chocolate Swirls, which are less sweet than the Original. We’ve earmarked them for stocking stuffers.

    But give us either flavor—the contents will disappear just as quickly.

    The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

     

    We couldn’t stop eating them until the bags were empty. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    We’ve seen the caramels at a number of specialty food stores; there’s a store locator on the company website.

    Or, head to Amazon.com for:

  • Chocolate Swirl Caramels, $5.50 for 6 ounces, a 4-pack for $19.96 or a 12-pack for $59.88
  • Original Caramels, 6 ounce bag, 4 pack and 12-pack
  •  
    You can also find the Fruit Chews on Amazon.
     
    ABOUT BROWN RICE SYRUP

    Brown rice syrup, also called rice bran syrup and rice malt, is a low-glycemic sweetener. This means that its complex sugars are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream—usually a boon for people with diabetes (see the next paragraph). It’s about half as sweet as table sugar and one-third as sweet as agave syrup/nectar.

    Although brown rice syrup has a GI (glycemic index) of 20,* it is not recommended for diabetics. That’s because its sweetness comes from maltose, which causes spikes in blood sugar. But, check with your healthcare provider if you are a diabetic who’d like to try brown rice syrup or products it contains.

    *Table sugar has a GI value of 60-65. Pure maple syrup maple syrup has a GI of 54.

    †A misleading term, chocolate liquor contains no alcohol. It is a thick, gritty, dark brown paste. Here’s a longer explanation of chocolate liquor.

      

    Comments

    HALLOWEEN: Chocolate Covered Orange Peel

    For a sophisticated Halloween treat, consider dark chocolate covered orange peels from Lake Champlain Chocolates of Vermont.

    Chocolate-covered orange peel is one of our favorite chocolate treats. You bite into the refreshing taste of citrus, covered in rich dark chocolate.

    Fresh Valencia orange peels are sliced and candied before they are dipped into the chocolate, in a process that takes three days. One taste assures you that it’s been worth every minute.

    The 7.25 ounce gift box, tied with a green satin ribbon, contains approximately 25 pieces and is $35.00.

    Beyond Halloween gifting, we love to serve these at the end of a fine dinner, with coffee or tea. A couple of pieces are more satisfying; no other dessert is required!

     

    Chocolate-covered candied orange peel is a treat for Halloween or after-dinner coffee. Photo courtesy Lake Champlain Chocolates.

     

    Lake Champlain chocolates are certified kosher by Star-K. Buy them online at LakeChamplainChocolates.com.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Cashew Milk

    Slide over, almond milk, soy milk and rice milk. There’s a new milk in town: cashew milk. We got the 411 from Hannah Kaminsky of BittersweetBlog.com. It’s a boon for kosher, lactose-intolerant and vegan food enthusiasts. Hannah writes:

    Well, it’s about time! Considering the proliferation of non-dairy milks populating grocery stores, it seems unthinkable that cashews have been entirely missing in action. Until now.

    Who better to unleash the world’s first commercial cashew milk than So Delicious, having proven their mastery of both frozen and refrigerated dairy-free delights? Before I even realized my own unfulfilled nut milk desires, this turned out to be the creamy drink I had been waiting for all along.

    Almond milk is my typical go-to milk alternative, the prime candidate for drinking, baking, cooking, and yes, ice cream-ing.

     

    New cashew milk from So Delicious. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | BittersweetBlog.com.

     

    From here on in, consider that prime spot in my fridge under serious reconsideration, because So Delicious’ cashew milk performs all of those tasks with equal grace, and of course, great taste.

    Currently offered in Unsweetened and Unsweetened Vanilla, my only hope would be that the line takes off and expands to include a chocolate option.

     

    Cashews: ready to be “milked.” Photo by
    Midori | Wikimedia.

     

    Both flavors have an excellent viscosity, a moderate thickness without any cloying sensation. Though considerably less rich than homemade cashew milk, for a mere fraction of the calories (35 per cup) cashew milk tastes surprisingly creamy and luscious.

    A very subtle nutty flavor defines thee background flavor, distinctly cashew in essence, and easily minimized when mixed into other recipes. Bearing a clean flavor with no sugar to speak of, they can seamlessly work in any application, a testament to their versatility.

    In short, if you don’t give these cashew milks a try, you’re seriously missing out! They may very well replace my almond standby, at least once they gain wider distribution in more mainstream grocery stores.

    So Delicious products are certified Kosher (parve) by Kehilla Kosher.

    —Hannah Kaminsky

     

    WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT CASHEWS?

    Surprise: Cashew “nuts” are not true nuts but seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree.

    Another surprise: Cashews are always sold shelled, because the inside lining of the shells contains an inedible, caustic resin. This “cashew balm” is used to make varnishes and insecticides!

    But the bounty inside the shell is a most delicious, nutritious nut/seed, with one-quarter cup providing copper (37.5% DV), magnesium (25% DV), manganese (28.4% DV), phosphorus (20.3% DV) and tryptophan (DV 28.1%), as well as iron, selenium and zinc.

    Cashews’ high antioxidant components also help to lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.

    Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and most of it comprises heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (the same fats found in olive oil).

    So dig in—or drink up!

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Black Rice Tortillas, Exotic & Gluten Free

    Yes, there are gluten-free tortillas from Rudi’s and Udi’s that have been lifesavers for Mexican food fans who follow a gluten free diet.

    But now there are even better ones: black rice tortillas from Food For Life. Exotic, gluten free, vegan and yeast free, they are ready to be turned into:

  • Crust, e.g. for chicken pot pie
  • Croutons (cut into strips, fry and season)
  • Mexican favorites: burritos, empanadas,
    enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas
  • “Mexican lasagne”
  • Sandwich wraps
  • Tortilla chips and nachos (cut into triangles and bake into chips)
  • Tortilla “pizza”
  •  

    Gluten-free wraps are dramatic as well as tasty. Photo courtesy Food For Life.

     
    WHAT’S BLACK RICE?

    Black rice, also known as purple rice and forbidden rice, is a group of rice types that are black or dark brown when harvested, but turn purple when cooked.

    Unlike refined white rice, black rice is a whole grain loaded with fiber, 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene, vitamins, minerals and anthocyanins (the same antioxidants that are found in like those found in açaí, blackberries, blueberries and tart cherries, and give all of these foods their deep pigments).

     

    Quesadillas with a twist. Photo courtesy
    LeslieLovesVeggies.net.

     

    In ancient times, black rice was reserved exclusively for Chinese emperors—thus the name forbidden rice. (See the different types of rice.)

    Today, you don’t have to be royalty to enjoy black rice—you can buy it at almost any natural foods store and online. It makes an especially glamorous rice pudding: Thai black rice pudding with coconut milk.

    A healthier alternative to traditional wheat flour tortillas, these black rice tortillas are tastier, too.

    One thing to watch out for: We didn’t see an expiration on our package and left them out at room temperature. The tortillas are actually pretty fragile: the shelf life is five days at room temperature. But they’ll stay fresh for three weeks when refrigerated and one year frozen.

     

    The tortillas are certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Here’s a recipe for homemade gluten-free tortillas.

    Here are some of our favorite gluten-free products.

    For information on gluten intolerance, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Nonni’s THINaddictives Biscotti

    What we think of as delicious Italian biscotti began life thousands of years ago—not as a sweet treat but as a convenience food for travelers (here’s the history of biscotti).

    Biscotti means “twice cooked.” The unleavened, finger-shaped wafers were baked first to cook them, then baked a second time to completely dry them out. This made them durable nourishment for for travel and a staple food of the Roman Legions. The Roman author and military commander Pliny boasted that they would be edible for centuries.

    Today we enjoy biscotti for the pleasure. They’re crunchy and delicious with coffee and tea, and made in so many varieties that the prospect never gets dull (chocolate-dipped biscotti, anyone?).

    But they can be so hard, you might worry that a pleasurable nibble could turn into a whopping dentist bill.

    Nonni’s has addressed the concern with THINaddictives, turning dense biscotti into delicate thins. Crunch away: no harm will befall those pearly whites.

     

    Very thin biscotti are easy on the teeth. Shown: Cranberry Almond. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Keep them at home and at work for coffee
    breaks. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    The kids took mom’s recipe and have recreated it to look “as if it just came out of her warm loving oven itself.” Enjoy them in:

  • Cinnamon Raisin
  • Cranberry Almond
  • Pistachio
  •  
    While we liked all three flavors, the Cinnamon Raisin, inexplicably, had less depth of flavor than the other two. It could have been the batch.

    You can enjoy all flavors with anything from cheese to yogurt to ice cream.

    The “skinny biscotti” are cello-wrapped in two-piece portions. That’s good, because as the name says, they can be addictive.

    The line is certified kosher (parve) by MK, a Montreal certifier (the product is made in Canada). Look for THINaddictives at your retailer, or click the links above to buy online.

    And the next time someone invites you over for a cup of coffee, bring a box.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: New Delights From Garden Lites

    We’re big fans of the Garden Lites Line, both the veggie muffins and the vegetable soufflés.

    Garden Lites Veggie Muffins

    The line, previously represented by delicious Carrot Berry and Chocolate Zucchini muffins, has been joined by Veggie Blueberry Oat and Banana Chocolate Chip. As we write this, we’re enjoying the two new flavors with a cup of tea.

    The all natural Veggie Muffins are 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), with 5g fiber.

    The recipes contain eggs but are dairy free, gluten free, nut free and soy free. The muffins are certified kosher (parve) by Star-K.

     

    Big chunks of chocolate 5g protein? What could be better? Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Our favorite new flavor. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Garden Lites Veggie Soufflés

    We simply love these delightful soufflés as healthful snacks. The original nine flavors have been augmented with two more: Loaded Potato Soufflé, a potato, broccoli and chive soufflé topped with cheddar cheese sauce; and Veggie Chili and Cornbread Melt, a delicious cornbread base topped with vegetable chili and cheddar cheese sauce.

    These new additions led us to the blinding revelation of the obvious: That we could add a bit of cheese sauce or grated parmesan to any of the soufflé flavors. In fact, a sprinkle of our own grated parmesan (not from a can, please) added much more flavor than the cheddar sauce.

    It gave the Loaded Potato some needed extra seasoning. But the Veggie Chili & Cornbread Melt is a winner: a great combination of flavors and textures that transported us to the Southwest.

     

    Both new varieties have 200 calories, two servings of vegetables and 5 Weight Watchers points. Loaded Potato has 11g protein, Veggie Chili has 9 g protein. The soufflés are certified kosher (dairy) by Star-D.

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

      

    Comments

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