THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm)
Send An e-Postcard
Enter The Gourmet Giveaway
Print This Page
Bookmark This Page
Contact Us
Sign Up For The Top Pick Of The Week
THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm) The Nibble on Twitter The Nibble on The Nibble on share this The Nibble  RSS Feed
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,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Meat & Poultry

FOOD FUN: The “Holiday Bird” Turkey Burger

Last year’s seasonal special at Umami Burger was the Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger.

The burger patty was first topped with aïoli (garlic mayonnaise), followed by:

  • Kabocha tempura, the kabocha standing in for pumpkin
  • Spiced mascarpone cheese
  • Coffee glaze
    This year, a fan favorite, the Holiday Bird turkey burger, returns. It’s both “an entire holiday meal with each savory bite,” and “everything but the apple pie.”

    Here’s what’s in-between the bun:

  • Turkey burger patty
  • Cornbread stuffing patty
  • Turkey gravy
  • Ginger-cranberry chutney
  • Spiced Japanese yams
  • Fried sage leaf
    The Holiday Bird is available at all Umami Burger locations throughout the holiday season.

    For each burger sold, one dollar will be donated to Meals On Wheels America, which supports more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs nationwide.

    If there’s no Umami Burger near you, nothing’s stopping you from re-creating it at home, perhaps with a side of sweet potato fries in addition to those spiced yams.



    Holiday Bird Burger at Umami Burger

    TOP PHOTO: The 2014 Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger. BOTTOM PHOTO: The 2015 Holiday Bird Burger. Photos courtesy Umami Burger.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Thanksgiving Turkey Varieties


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/larryprice natwildturkeyfed 230

    TOP PHOTO: Broad Breasted White,
    America’s supermarket turkey. Photo
    courtesy Porter Turkeys. BOTTOM PHOTO:
    What the Pilgrims ate: the original wild
    turkey, a streamlined physique. Photo by
    Larry Price | National Wild Turkey


    The turkey is a native American bird. As everyone who went to grade school here knows, it was enjoyed by the Pilgrims and their Wampanoag Native American neighbors at a dinner at the Plimouth Plantation, Massachusetts in 1621.

    (Plimouth is how the Pilgrims spelled it. In the 17th century, there was no standardization of spelling. The modern town is spellled Plymouth, but the historical site retains its original spelling.)

    A celebration of the settlers’ first harvest, this harvest feast was later called “The First Thanksgiving” by 18th-century scholars. The name stuck. Check out more about it below.

    Fast forward almost 400 years, and we’re consuming 400 million turkeys a year. Ninety-nine percent of them are Broad Breasted Whites, a breed with short legs and a huge breast, bred to meet Americans’ overwhelming taste for white meat.

    As much as we gobble up those big birds, there’s been rumbling that they’re dry, tasteless, and bear no relation whatsoever to that enjoyed by our forefathers (or even our grandparents).

    Is that true? We share our notes from a tasting test in the next section. But the choices become confusing, and we’ve addressed them: heirloom versus heritage, wild versus heirloom, and supermarket turkey versus the world.

    More than 10 breeds are classified as heritage turkeys: Auburn, Buff, Black, Bourbon Red, Narragansett, Royal Palm, Slate, Standard Bronze and Midget White. These were bred long ago from the original wild turkey.

    Much of the ancient breeding stock survived on family farms, kept as show birds, consumed by the farm families and available in tiny quantities in the locale.

    But it’s not all deliciousness in Heritage Turkeyland. According to, the Jersey Buff and Midget White are on the critical extinction list; the Narragansett is on the Threatened list; and the Bourbon Red, Royal Palm, Slate and Standard Bronze are on the Watch list. However…

    Over the past two decades, as heritage breeds have been “reclaimed” by chefs, expansion of certain heritage breeds has ensured that there’s enough heritage turkey for everyone who wants one.

    Does that mean you should reach for the Butterball and forget heritage breeds? Not at all!

    Thanks to Whole Foods for helping to explain these choices. All of Whole Foods Markets’ turkeys come from farms that have been certified by the third-party verified 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating System. They are raised with no antibiotics, no added hormones and no animal bi-products in their feed.

  • Classic Antibiotic-Free Turkeys. These are Broad Breasted Whites (see top photo above) raised with no antibiotics. They are the perennial customer favorite at Whole Foods Markets. “They offer a trifecta of flavor, quality and value,” says Whole Foods.
  • Organic Turkeys. In addition to being raised without the use of antibiotics, organic turkeys are raised on farms that have been certified organic according to USDA Organic Standards (only certified organic feed, processing and packaging allowed).
  • Heritage Turkeys. These birds are raised slowly and traditionally. They’re old breeds with a more robust turkey flavor, and are typically a bit smaller (usually up to 14 pounds) than classic antibiotic free birds. One reason for their smaller size is that, unlike the majority of today’s commercial breeds, heritage turkeys are single breasted like their wild ancestor.

    Our mother was a Butterball loyalist, and made terrific turkey with moist breast meat, using her various techniques that included brining and covering the breast with foil. If you want an ultra moist turkey, but don’t want to do the brining at home, buy a hand-brined bird that’s ready to roast. (NOTE: Remember not to stuff a brined bird because the stuffing will be too salty.)

    A few years ago, we were invited to a tasting of different roast turkeys at a prominent culinary school. Except for the Butterball, which was frozen, the birds were fresh.

    We liked Butterball the best! Here are our tasting notes, with the counsel that it isn’t truly scientific since we didn’t repeat the test. And, birds from different farms could easily yield different results.

  • Organic Turkey. The white meat was pebbly, papery. The dark meat was pink, moist, very tasty.
  • Butterball Turkey. The meatiest breast and drumsticks. Excellent texture and taste, a very “birdy” flavor (what we have come to recognize as great turkey flavor) and classic white meat. The dark meat is darker in color and a little chewier than the organic turkey, but a lovely, pure, excellent flavor. The interesting thing about this bird is that the white meat and dark meat flavors are not at extremes: White meat lovers should enjoy the dark meat, and dark meat lovers should enjoy the white meat. Note that Butterball is a brand, and not all Broad Breasted White turkeys are branded.
  • Heritage Bourbon Red Turkey. A smaller, broad breast with lots of breast meat but smaller drumsticks. The meat was chewy all over without a lot of flavor. The dark meat is very dark; moist but just too chewy with no other payoff.
  • Heritage Standard Bronze Turkey. The meat was chewy, but not as chewy as the Heritage Bourbon Red. The dark meat was moist, the white meat O.K.
  • Wild Turkey. This scrawny, elongated bird looks like a champion marathon runner (see the photo above). There was almost no meat on the upper breast, but it had big thighs. Surprisingly, both white and dark meat were very tender. I wish it had more “birdy” flavor.
    The next two varieties were included in our taste test; but to be fair, they were at the end of the tasting, and we were all turkeyed out. We were stuffed and predisposed not to like anything else.

  • Heirloom Turkey. Dating back to the early 1920s-1930s, heirloom turkeys were bred to strike a balance between the wild, robust flavor of the heritage breeds, and the mild flavor then (and still) preferred by consumers. They were bred to be double breasted, to provide more white meat than heritage turkeys.
  • Kosher Turkeys. Rabbinical inspectors check each bird to ensure that it is of the highest quality and processed in accordance with the kosher standards of cleanliness, purity and wholesomeness. You can find both conventional and organic kosher birds. TIP: Hold the salt! Kosher turkeys have already been salted. And don’t brine or you’ll have an overly salty bird.
    So what should you do? The decision is yours. You can go with what you enjoyed last year, or try something new.

    Tip: If you’re feeding a large group or want white meat leftovers, pick up an extra organic turkey breast to make sure you have plenty of white meat to go around.




    It is a little-known fact that the three-day feast celebrated by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag natives, which we purportedly replicate on the fourth Thursday of each November, was never again repeated in Plimouth Plantation; nor was it deemed by the colonists to be a “Thanksgiving feast.”

    In fact, days of thanksgiving observed by the Pilgrims were devoted to prayer, not feasting. So we are not replicating the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving Day each year.

    That term was bestowed by academics researching the topic in the 18th century.

    We know that in 1621, the governor of Plimoth Plantation sent four men fowling, and “they four in one day shot as much fowl.” Perhaps it was turkey, perhaps duck, which was also plentiful in the area. The one written record dies not specify.

    We also know that the native Wampanoag guests killed five deer. About ninety of them attended, and the feast lasted for three days.
    A Treasure Trove Of Thanksgiving History

    There’s much to know about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag People that we never learned in school. But has the best site we’ve seen on the history of Thanksgiving. We love it!

    If people are waiting around for dinner, send them here.

    President Abraham Lincoln declared the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1863, and created the holiday observed since on the fourth Thursday of November.




    Platter garnishing ideas: TOP PHOTO. Add some veggies to the plater. We raw prefer cherry tomatoes and baby pattypan squash, which add color, don’t take away from the cooked fare and can be enjoyed the next day. Photo courtesy iGourmet. BOTTOM PHOTO: Keep it simple with kumquats and whole uncooked cranberries. Photo courtesy National Turkey Federation.



    RECIPE: Chicken Chili Bake with Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits

    chicken chili chipotle cornbread

    Here’s a hearty chili and chicken dish for
    game day. We made extra biscuits. Who can
    resist Cheddar Chipotle Buttermilk Biscuits?


    We’re having a small group over tomorrow to watch the New York City Marathon, and are making the same recipe that was popular with them last year.

    We’re doubling the recipe, so we can have leftovers and because fights almost broke out over the Chipotle Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits.


    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings
    For The Chili

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans
  • For The Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut in small cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) Wisconsin cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo, any seeds removed, chopped and patted dry


    1. MAKE the chili: In a deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, brown the chicken on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. (You may need to do this in 2 batches–do not overcrowd the pan.) Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

    2. DISCARD all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan and return it to medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the chili powder and cumin, mix to combine and cook 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth.

    3. INCREASE the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Return the thighs to the pan and nestle them in the tomato sauce mixture. Reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer 35 to 40 minutes.

    While chicken simmers, prepare the biscuit dough.


    Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits

    We served the extra biscuits with honey butter. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy McCormick.



    4. HEAT the oven to 450°F. In large bowl, the whisk flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture is crumbly. Add the buttermilk and cheese; stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped chipotles.

    5. TURN the dough onto a floured work surface. Flatten and gently fold the dough over onto itself 5 or 6 times. Press into an 8-inch circle, about 1-inch thick. With a floured biscuit cutter or cookie cutter (about 2.75-inch diameter), cut the biscuits. Press the dough scraps together and cut additional biscuits.

    6. REMOVE the chicken thighs when they have reached 165°F internal temperature on a meat thermometer. Place on a cutting board to cool slightly.

    7. ADD the beans to the tomato sauce mixture and keep the pan over low heat. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded meat to the pan and mix well. Top the chili mixture with the biscuits so that they barely touch. Place the pan in othe ven and bake 20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

    If you are baking extra biscuits, bake them on a parchment-topped baking sheet.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Soup, In A Pumpkin Or Not

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pumpkin stew cristinaferrare 230

    Pumpkin Soup Recipe

    TOP PHOTO: Pumpkin soup in a pumpkin
    terrine. Photo courtesy Cristina Ferrare.
    BOTTOM PHOTO: Pumpkin soup in a real
    pumpkin. Photo by G.M. Vozd | IST.


    When was the last time you had pumpkin soup? It seems to have been supplanted by its cousins, acorn squash soup and butternut squash soup.

    The multi-purpose fruit was introduced by the Native Americans to American colonists, who turned it into soups, sides, desserts and beer.

    You can make pumpkin soup a Halloween tradition. Serve it from a scooped-out pumpkin, invest in a pumpkin tureen, or simply serve it from the pot.

    Pumpkin soup is adaptable to different flavors, from anise to chile, curry, and just about any spice on the shelf.

  • Gordon Ramsay tops his with wild mushrooms and shaved Parmesan.
  • A pumpkin-beef soup celebrated the Independence of Haiti in 1803.
  • In Southeast Asia, chunks of pumpkin are served in a clear broth with ground pork, scallions and cilantro.
  • Here are three pumpkin soup recipes we’ve published previously, along with instructions to turn a pumpkin into a tureen.
    The recipe below is from Cristina Ferrare, host of Hallmark Channel’s The Home and Family Show. She flavors the soup with pumpkin pie spices and suggests multiple garnishes so each diner can customize his or her soup. And she uses cream cheese instead of cream, for an even richer soup.

    Whether for sophisticated palates or to warm up the kids prior to trick-or-treating, make pumpkin soup part of your Halloween tradition.
    Trivia: The word pumpkin comes from the Greek pepõn, large melon. The word soup derives from Late Latin suppa, “bread soaked in broth,” from Proto-Germanic sup, “to take liquid.” For many people, yesterdy’s bread soaked in broth was the main meal of the day and also the derivation of “supper.”

    *All squash are native to the Andes and Mesoamerica. They are members of the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae, and the genus Cucurbita. Pumpkin, acorn and summer squash belong to Curbita pepo; butternut squash is Curbita moschata; hubbard squash and buttercup squash belong to Curbita maxima. Curbita is Latin for “gourd.” Who said taxonomy is dull?


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (29 ounces) pure pumpkin
  • 1 quart homemade chicken stock or store-bought chicken broth
  • 1 package (8 ounces) regular or low-fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces, divided

    Use as many of these as you like:

  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, sliced thin (remove seeds and pith for less heat)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Olive, pumpkin or walnut oil for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (recipe below)
  • Croutons


    1. HEAT a saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil, then quickly add the onions and scallions. Stir.

    2. TURN the heat down to medium. Sauté until the onions start to caramelize, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the sherry. Add the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, cayenne and pumpkin, and mix well.

    3. ADD the chicken stock and stir until all of the ingredients are well blended.

    4. LOWER the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the soup starts to thicken slightly. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock or water, a half cup at a time. Turn off the heat.

    5. FILL a blender halfway with the soup and half of the cream cheese, and blend unit smooth. Pour into the soup pot. Continue the process with the rest of the soup and cream cheese until everything has been blended.

    6. PLACE the soup pot back on the stove and heat through. Serve piping hot, garnished with a dollop of sour cream, finely chopped scallions, chopped jalapeño and pomegranate seeds; a drizzle of olive, pumpkin or walnut oil; and the pumpkin seeds (recipe below).


    This recipe is adapted from one from Elise on You can see the step-by-step process with photos.

    With Elise’s technique, first boiling the seeds in salted water allows salt to permeate the seeds, not just coat the outside. If they’re properly toasted and are from small to medium size pumpkins, she notes, they can be eaten shells and all.


  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Olive oil



    Carve the pumpkin, roast the seeds. Top photo courtesy Starling Farms. Bottom hoto courtesy Elise | Simply Recipes.


    1. USE a strong metal spoon to scrape the seeds and strings from the inside of the pumpkin. Place in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds.

    2. MEASURE the pumpkin seeds in a cup measure. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the pan for every half cup of pumpkin seeds. Add more salt if you would like your seeds to be saltier.

    3. BRING the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain.

    4. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Toss the seeds in oil and spread out in a single layer in a baking pan or rimmed baking sheet.

    5. BAKE on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds (small pumpkin seeds may toast in 5 minutes, large pumpkin seeds may take up to 20 minutes). Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don’t get over-toasted. When lightly browned…

    6. REMOVE the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack until ready to serve. Test to see if you enjoy the seeds whole. If not, crack to remove the inner seeds.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Celeriac, Celery Root, A Root By Any Name

    Celeriac, Celery Root

    Celery Root

    TOP PHOTO: It’s not a beauty, but you’ll be hooked by its delicious, distinctive flavor. Photo courtesy The Chef’s Garden. BOTTOM PHOTO: Use the tops as garnish and in salads, soup stocks and stir frys. Courtesy Good Eggs |San Francisco.


    If you were asked to name root vegetables, you probably would overlook celery root, even though it has “root” in its name.

    Celery root is a large, gnarled globe—perhaps the least attractive item in the produce section.

    But peel away the skin and you’ll discover creamy flesh like a parsnip’s, to which it is related. Its botanical family, Apiaceae—commonly known as the carrot or parsley family—includes numerous* well-known vegetables. While not a relative, it can be cooked in the same way as potatoes.

    We grew up in an era and in a town with a wealth of old school French restaurants, presenting the cuisine of Escoffier and other seminal French chefs. Our favorite appetizer was céleri remoulade, a classic French first course.

    To make it, the raw celery root knob is peeled and julienned (cut into matchsticks). It is then dressed with rémoulade sauce, a homemade mayonnaise flavored with Dijon mustard. It was served to us in a lettuce cup, sometimes atop greens. Think of a gourmet cousin of cole slaw. We couldn’t get enough of it.

    Here’s a video recipe for céleri remoulade.

    Called céleri in French and celeriac in English, the vegetable is also called celery root, knob celery and turnip-rooted celery. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

    Apium graveolens var. Rapaceum has a crisp, apple-like texture with bright white flesh. The firm, juicy flesh has a mild herbaceous quality with celery-like undertones. Celery root can be a non-starch substitute for potatoes: mashed, French-fried and almost any other way.

    Celery root is available year-round, with a peak season in late fall and winter. Nutritionally, it is an excellent source of dietary fiber and potassium, with significant amounts of vitamins B6 and C. It has just 66 calories per cup.

    One of the oldest root vegetables in recorded history, it grew wild in the Mediterranean Basin and in Northern Europe, but was considered difficult to grow. Farmers worked to master it, and it became culinarily important during the Middle Ages.


    Celeriac developed from the same wild plant as the familiar long-stalk green celery, but you’d never know from looking at them that they are kin. Over the millennia, different strains of the plants were developed for different reasons, some focusing on the root, others on the stems or leaves.

    *Some other cousins include angelica, anise, caraway, celery, chervil, coriander/cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage and sea holly.


    Thanks to Good Eggs, the finest grocery purveyor in San Francisco, for this recipe.


    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 4 large chicken thighs (more for bigger appetites or leftovers)
  • 1 pound celery root
  • 1 bunch of Lacinato kale† ‡, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • Handful** of chives, dill or tarragon, chopped
  • Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • Spoonful of salted butter
  • Squeeze of lemon or a splash of red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
    †Tired of kale? Substitute broccoli rabe (rapini), collard greens, kohlrabi leaves, mustard greens, red cabbage or Swiss chard.

    ‡There are more than 50 varieties of kale, of which four are most often found in the U.S. Curly kale is the variety typically found in grocery stores. You may have to hit farmers markets or specialty produce stores for the others: lacinato kale (also called black kale, dinosaur kale, and Tuscan kale, among other names), redbor kale (ornamental kale, which is equally edible) and red Russian kale.


    Mashed Celery Root

    Crispy chicken thighs, creamy mashed celery root and good-for-you greens. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.

    **We don’t love vague measurements like a bit, a handful, a spoonful, a smidge. They’re imprecise and subjective. The best explanation is that the exact quantity isn’t important: Use more or less as you like. Write down how much you use when you add the ingredient, and then note afterward how much you’d use the next time you make the recipe.


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F with an oven-safe pan inside (cast iron, french oven or deep fry pan). Fill a large pot about half way full with water for the stove top, add a handful of salt and turn the heat to high. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs liberally.

    2. PREP the celery root by slicing off the top and bottom and peeling off the fibrous outer skin. Cut into 1 inch chunks and add to the pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. When the oven is hot…

    3. REMOVE the pan and add the chicken thighs, skin side down. Place the pan back in the oven for 25-30 minutes, then gently test for doneness by pricking with a small, sharp knife. They’re done when the chicken juices run clear. TIP: For extra crispy skin, preheat a cast iron skillet in the oven instead of a baking pan—and be prepared to remove it with silicon oven mitts or pot holders.

    4. CHECK the celery root for doneness; it’s finished when the cubes are tender. Drain and place the cubes in a mixing bowl along with the butter, herbs, salt and pepper. Using a fork or the back of a spoon, mash all of the ingredients together until you have your preferred consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    5. REMOVE the finished chicken from the pan. Pour off about half the pan drippings, add the kale and toss with tongs, making sure the greens are coated in the drippings. Return the pan with the kale to the oven for about 5-7 minutes to cook the kale quickly. Once the kale is done, dress it with a squeeze of lemon and serve alongside the chicken and celery root.

    NOTE: Like an apple, celery root will discover with prolonged exposure to air. To serve it raw, blanched briefly in acidic water (with lemon juice).



    TIP OF THE DAY: Pears At Every Fall Meal

    Who doesn’t like to bite into a perfectly ripe pear, soft to the touch, dripping with juice? Whether in a packed lunch or as a grab-and-go snack, pears are one of the delights of fall.

    But pears don’t have to be ripe to be delicious. Hard pears can be baked, cooked (especially poached), even grated as a garnish onto cake, pudding, pancakes and yogurt.

    Here are suggestions from USA Pears, the national trade association, for incorporating pears into cooked recipes. There are many delicious pear recipes on the organization’s website.

    At the least, treat yourself to pear purée, the pear version of applesauce that can be served at any time during the day, as a condiment, side, topping or dessert. You can also use it in pear-accented cocktails. Peartini, anyone?

    Here’s a quick recipe to try with a ripe pear. A hard pear can be cooked first.


    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 1 ripe pear
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Optional: cinnamon or added sweetener, to taste

    1. PEEL and core the pear. You can leave the skin on the pear; it will provide vibrant flecks of color in the purée.

    2. CUT into chunks and purée in a food processor or blender until smooth. The splash of lemon juice helps prevent the purée from browning.

    3. TASTE and adjust for sweetness as needed. Add a dash of cinnamon as desired.


    Pear-Butternut Squash Soup

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pear puree usapears 230

    TOP PHOTO: Pear-Butternut Squash Soup. BOTTOM PHOTO: Pear Purée (like applesauce). Images courtesy USA Pears.

    Preparation For Hard Pears

    Poach the pears before pureeing. Pears can be poached in red and white wine, fruit juice, beer, sake, coconut milk or water. Add some spice to your poaching liquid: cloves, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, vanilla bean, orange zest, nutmeg, cardamom.

    1. PEEL THE pears, leaving stem and core intact. Heat the poaching liquid over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering while fully immersing pears into the poaching liquid. Simmer until pears are soft and easily pierced with a fork, 5 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the pear.

    2. REMOVE the pears from liquid and let cool. Core the pears, remove the stems, cut into chunks and purée in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness; add spices as desired.

  • Cheddar Pear Scones (recipe)
  • German Pancake with Caramelized Pears (recipe)
  • Pear and Maple Breakfast Sausage (recipe)
  • Pear and Quinoa Breakfast Custard (recipe)
  • Pear-Stuffed French Toast (recipe)

  • Curried Butternut Squash & Pear Bisque (recipe)
  • Curried Pear & Chicken Salad (recipe)
  • Ham, Brie & Pear Sandwich (recipe)
  • Pear & Cabbage Slaw (recipe)
  • Pear & Quinoa Salad With Greens (recipe)
  • Pear, Sausage & Fontina Calzones (recipe)
  • Pear, Spinach & Parmesan Salad (recipe)
  • Red Wine Poached Pear Salad (recipe)
  • Shaved Pear & Beet Salad (recipe)
  • Shrimp Tacos With Pears & Slaw (recipe)
  • Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Pears and Sweet Onion (recipe)

  • Feta & Pear Crostini (recipe)
  • Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Flatbread (recipe)
  • Pear Hummus (recipe)
  • Pear Martini With Pear Purée (recipe)
  • Walnut Pesto Toast with Sliced Pears and Gorgonzola Cheese (recipe)

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pear hummus usapears 230

    TOP PHOTO: Pear hummus. BOTTOM PHOTO: Pears Belle Hélène (poached pears with chocolate sauce). Images courtesy USA Pears.



  • Braised Pork with Pears and Sherry Vinegar (recipe)
  • Grilled Pork Chops with Pears and Rosemary Butter (recipe)
  • Korean Barbecue Beef (recipe)
  • Pear Barbecue Sauce (recipe)
  • Pear and Sesame Glazed Beef (recipe)
  • Penne With Roast Pear & Feta (recipe)
  • Pizza With Pears, Shaved Ham and Fresh Basil (recipe)
  • Soba Noodles With Tea-Poached Pears (recipe)

  • Anjou Pear and Red Potato Gratin (recipe)
  • Grilled Pears Stuffed With Mascarpone & Bacon (recipe)
  • Braised Cabbage With Pears (recipe)
  • Pear Purée (recipe)
  • Savory-and-Sweet Ham, Pear, and Gruyère Strata (recipe)
  • Quinoa Pilaf With Carrots, Ginger & Pears (recipe)

  • Cider & Bourbon Poached Pear Tart (recipe—note that the recipes says “torte,” but it’s actually a tart. A torte is a cake. Torte means cake in German.)
  • Cider-Poached Pears With Pound Cake (recipe)
  • Pears Belle Hélène (recipe)
  • Pear-Caramel Galette (recipe)
  • Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding (recipe)
  • Pear Sorbet (recipe)
  • Pear & Frangipane Tart (recipe—also delicious with chocolate sauce)
  • Pumpkin Ale-Poached Peas In Caramel Sauce (recipe)


    Pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated and beloved fruits. The trees thrive in cool temperate climates, and there is evidence of pears as food since prehistoric times. Many traces of it have been found in Switzerland’s prehistoric lake dwellings. [Source]

    In the pear genus Pyrus, some 3,000 varieties are grown worldwide, The tree is thought to have originated in present-day western China, and to have spread to the north and south along mountain chains. In 5000 B.C.E., one Chinese diplomat was so enamored of them that he resigned his post to develop new varieties.

    In The Odyssey, the Greek poet Homer lauds pears as a “gift of the gods.” Roman farmers documented extensive pear growing and grafting techniques. Pliny’s Natural History recommended stewing them with honey and noted three dozen varieties.

    Seventeenth-century Europe saw a great flourishing of pear cultivation, especially in Belgium and France. Many of the modern varieties began to emerge.

    Early colonists brought the first pear trees to America’s eastern settlements, where they thrived until crop blights proved too severe to continue widespread cultivation. Fortunately, pioneers had brought pear trees brought to Oregon and Washington in the 1800s, where they thrived in the agricultural conditions of the Pacific Northwest. It remains the major pear-growing center of the U.S.



    RECIPE: Veal Meatballs With Vodka Sauce


    Veal meatballs with vodka sauce. Enjoy them
    in a multitude of ways. Photo courtesy


    Want to try a new meatball recipe for National Pasta Month? Looking for something more sophisticated to serve on game day? How about veal meatballs?

    Meatballs can be served as an appetizer or a main course, as an accompaniment to pasta, or on a hero roll or other sandwich bread.

    As opposed to the more familiar beef-pork meatball blend in a garlicky red sauce, this recipe from Nielsen-Massey for Breaded Veal Meatballs with Vodka Sauce is elegant, while remaining hearty.

    In addition to the sexy ingredient, vodka, a combination of cheese and cream, and an assortment of vegetables, herbs and spices, create a rich sauce that pairs nicely with pasta or rice. Or, the meatballs can be served in smaller appetizer sizes with toothpicks.

    If you don’t want veal meatballs, you can substitute beef—ideally, grass fed.

    You can also eliminate the vanilla bean paste; but it provides a lovely flavor element. The mellow qualities of the paste enhance the full flavors of veal and herbs to create meatballs that are far from bland. And you can use it in many other recipes (see below).


    Ingredients For 18 Meatballs & 4 Cups Of Sauce (Serves 6 As A Main Course)

    For The Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground veal
  • ¼ cup whole milk ricotta
  • ¼ cup finely grated carrot
  • 2 small green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon organic garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground oregano
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • Garnish: fresh Italian parsley, chopped (garnish)
    For The Breading

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ cups plain panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    For The Vodka Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon organic garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (28-ounces) whole tomatoes, drained
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Romano cheese (you can substitute Parmesan)
  • ½ cup whipping cream, warmed
  • Garnish: chiffonade of fresh basil leaves (here’s how to chiffonade)


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack atop/inside the sheet and coat the rack with cooking spray. Set aside.

    2. COMBINE the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Form the mixture into meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Set aside.

    3. BREAD the meatballs, using three medium bowls. In the first bowl, add the flour. In the second bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In the third bowl, add the bread crumbs, Romano cheese and melted butter and stir to combine. Dust each meatball with flour, dip in the egg wash and coat with the seasoned bread crumbs.

    4. PLACE the breaded meatballs on the wire rack and cook until done, about 30 minutes.

    5. MAKE the vodka sauce: Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the vodka, basil, salt, vanilla extract, oregano, garlic powder and pepper; cook until reduced by half.



    Vanilla paste. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.


    6. PLACE the whole tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor or electric blender. Add the reduced sauce mixture; cover and process or blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the grated Romano cheese and cream; stir until thoroughly combined. Simmer for 3 minutes, or until heated through.

    7. SERVE the vodka sauce with meatballs: atop pasta, on a hero-size slice of baguette or on a plate over rice, other grain or egg noodles. Garnish with fresh basil.

    Vanilla is a concentrated substitute for vanilla extract in paste form, made from combining ground vanilla with vanilla extract, along with a natural thickening agent (a gum); some products contain sugar.

    It is a replacement for whole vanilla beans for people who want authentic vanilla bean flavor and appearance, but don’t use whole beans often enough (whole vanilla beans will dry out and become hard over time, while vanilla bean paste has a very long shelf life). One tablespoon of vanilla bean paste is equal to one whole vanilla bean.

    Unlike vanilla extract, vanilla paste contains the ground seeds/pods that provide “specks” in lighter-colored dish.



    PRODUCT UPDATE: Gluten Free Comfort Food

    Blake's Chicken Pot Pie


    This gluten-free chicken pot pie will please many. Photos courtesy Blake’s All Natural.



    With the fall season, the gluten-freer’s thoughts turn to comfort foods—which usually mean soups, hearty stews, pot pies, mac and cheese and heaping dishes of pasta.

    This is also, as it turns out, one of the most challenging categories in the gluten-free realm. Most of the hot comfort foods contain noodles or crusts of some kind, and substitutions are not easily made.

    Enter Blake’s All Natural, an 80-year old family firm that was acquired by ConAgra in May 2015. Most of the line is conventional, but there’s a GF version of their most popular item, Chicken Pot Pie; as well as Shepherds Pie, which is naturally GF (the crust is made from mashed potatoes instead of grain).
    Blake’s Chicken Pot Pie

    I tasted their Chicken Pot Pie in a bit of a fever, recalling happy afternoons spent at my Gram’s where my favorite treat was classic pot pie. Grandmas know what makes a child’s heart go pitter patter. Hence my bar for Chicken Pot Pie is quite high, attached as it is to golden memories.

    Blake’s did not let me down. You can taste the quality and the care.

    The filling is delicious! You can taste the distinct flavors, yet also appreciate the blended sauce and the good crust, which is the hallmark of a top pot pie. There was a little too much sauce for my liking (not atypical in store-bought pot pies), but I relished the classic pot pie flavor.

    There are no chemicals, no antibiotics, no wheat. Bonus: The pot pie is also microwavable

    The brand makes both all-natural and organic products. With the gluten-free pot pie, the vegetables and crust are organic. The chicken is not, although it is natural (antibiotic free), and quite tasty!

    I was surprised that I actually preferred the cornmeal crust variety of the two options. The brown rice crust was a bit sweet and shortbread-y (I prefer buttermilk-y/salty flavor notes), whereas the cornmeal crust was hearty, had better body and just enough salt.
    Blake’s Shepherds Pie

    Next I tried the Shepherds Pie, made with organic corn and organic mashed potatoes.

    As with the pot pie, the veggies are organic but the beef is not. (Although organic meat is important to many, it would raise the price beyond where enough consumers are flexible. Hence the balance between organic and natural ingredients.) The beef was perfectly spiced and tasted of a high quality, so I added points back for flavor. I liked it even better than the pot pie.

    My recommendation: Absolutely give Blake’s a try! Their products are great cool- and cold-weather comfort food options, a great convenience when you don’t have time to make your own. That goes for the “regular” line, too.

    You can also send a GF gift box, containing four gluten-free pot pies and four shepherds pies.

    Discover more at

    —A review from Georgi Page, Gluten Free Specialist



    It was 2010 when we first selected Lucy’s Gluten Free as a Top Pick Of The Week, followed by a product update in 2011. The brand continues to treat consumers new gluten-free baked treats.

    This year, the new GF treat is Triple Chocolate Brownie Crisp, the first flavor of Lucy’s new brownie line to hit shelves. It’s made with chocolate chips, 72% dark chocolate chunks and cocoa powder (comprising the “triple chocolate”), plus Madagascar vanilla.

    A cross between a chewy brownie and a crunchy cookie, Triple Chocolate Brownie Crisp is a symphony of deep, rich chocolate flavor. A serving size of three crisps contains just 100 calories.

    As with all Lucy’s products, Triple Chocolate Brownie Crisp is allergy friendly: no gluten or wheat, dairy milk, butter, eggs, casein, peanuts or tree nuts.



    There are three types of chocolate in Lucy’s Triple Brownie Crisp. Photo courtesy Dr. Lucy.

    The line is also Non-GMO Project Verified, certified vegan, and certified kosher (pareve) by Star K.

    Brownie Crisp is currently available in a 4.5-ounce pouch size and a 1.25-ounce grab ‘n go individual bag.

    Continued thanks to Lucy’s founder and chairman, Dr. Lucy Gibney, for showing that allergen-free can also be delicious. Discover more at



    RECIPE: Oktoberfest Burger With Pork Schnitzel

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/samuel adams Octoberfest burger 230L

    The Oktoberfest Burger, with breaded pork
    cutlets. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Cafe.


    Hard Rock Cafe is celebrating Oktoberfest with a Germany-inspired burger, the Samuel Adams Octoberfest Schnitzel Burger.

    Available September through October 31st, it has German flavor accents: schnitzel (breaded pork cutlets) instead of beef patties, sauerkraut, whole grain mustard and beer-accented cheese sauce, all on a pretzel bun.

    The Oktoberfest burger is similar to the Schnitzel Local Legendary Burger served year-round at Hard Rock Cafe locations in Germany. Here’s more about schnitzel.

    The Oktoberfest Burger is served with a side of seasoned fries and a Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer.

    What’s an Oktoberfest beer?

    Oktoberfest Beer, or Märzen, is a smooth and malty amber lager with an ABV* of 6% or higher. See our Beer Glossary for the different types of beer.


    Ingredients Per Burger

  • Lightly breaded tender pork schnitzel
  • Samuel Adams Octoberfest-infused beer cheese sauce (recipe below)
  • Smoked bacon
  • Sauerkraut
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Fresh baby arugula
  • Pretzel bun
  • Optional: long toothpick

    1. PREPARE the schnitzel (recipe—substitute pork cutlets for the veal) and toast the buns.

    2. LAYER atop the bottom bun: mustard, arugula, schnitzel, cheese sauce, sauerkraut, schnitzel, cheese sauce, sauerkraut, bacon, mustard. Fasten with a toothpick if needed.



    Cheese sauce can be used on everything from breakfast eggs to dinner grains, potatoes, rice and veggies. This recipe is adapted from on, a great resource for cooking with beer.


  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup Oktoberfest beer (substitute other beer of choice)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Gouda†
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Cheddar†
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste (or substitute cayenne or chili flakes)

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/cheddar 230

    Make cheese sauce with freshly-grated cheese. Photo courtesy


    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process on high until very well blended, about 5-8 minutes.

    2. EMPTY the contents into a saucepan and cook over medium high heat. Whisk rapidly and continuously until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as desired; for an extra kick use the cayenne or chili flakes. For a perfectly smooth sauce, use an immersion blender as necessary.

    3. SERVE warm.

    *ABV is Alcohol By Volume.

    †Do not use pre-shredded cheese.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Schmacon Beef Bacon

    The producer calls Schmacon “beef’s answer to bacon.”

    It looks like bacon and smells bacon; it cooks like bacon–preferably in the oven for maximum crispness, although it can be cooked in a frying pan.

    The result, crisp strips of Schmacon, tastes of beef instead of pork, but with the smoky, sweet spirit of bacon.

  • A serving of Schmacon contains 30 calories, 2 g fat, and 60 mg sodium.
  • A serving of pork bacon averages 60-90 calories, 4.5-7 g fat, and 190-360 mg sodium.
    Meatier, lower in sodium, calories and fat, Schmacon is a much healthier alternative, and you get more meat and less fat. More benefits:

  • Schmacon cooks in half the time of raw pork bacon.
  • It generates much less grease; and, as with bacon grease, you can use it to cook potatoes and eggs, make German potato salad, etc.
  • For everyone without a great kitchen exhaust fan: There’s no lingering smell of old bacon fat in the air.

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/schmacon with dip 230

    Crisp, delicious Schmacon. Use it wherever you’d use bacon. Photo courtesy Schqmacon.

    We think it’s terrific, and so does the trade: The National Restaurant Association gave Schmacon its Food and Beverage Innovations Award.


    This is not the first beef bacon on the market, but but it’s head and shoulders above the rest. Most other beef bacon is manufactured with the same technique as pork bacon, but that made no sense to CEO Howard Bender. He started from scratch, testing different cuts of beef, spice blends and cooking processes until, three years later, he was satisfied.

    The result, Schmacon Smoked & Glazed Beef Slices, is an achievement, a delicious alternative for those who do not eat pork products, and a boon to those who’d like “healthier bacon.”

    Why isn’t it called bacon? Today, the USDA limits the use of “bacon” to pork. “Turkey bacon” got grandfathered in.


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/schmacon and eggs 230q

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/schmacon pack better 230

    TOP: Schmacon and eggs. BOTTOM: Look for
    this package at your grocer’s. Photos courtesy Schmacon.



    Use it anywhere you’d use pork or turkey bacon, including to make:

  • Bacon cheeseburgers and hot dogs
  • Bacon quiche
  • Bean and lentil dishes
  • BLTs
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chowder
  • Eggs, pancakes, waffles
  • Green salad, wedge salad with blue cheese dressing
  • Hot bacon vinaigrette
  • “Larded” filet mignon and turkey breast
  • Surf and turf: bacon-crusted salmon fillets (recipe)

    Over the last year, Schmacon has rolled out to restaurants and foodservice. It is now rolling out to retailer stores.

    Look for a retailer near you. If you can’t find one, you can purchase a ten-pound package from the manufacturer. Extra Schmacon can be frozen; but we bet you’ll run through the bulk package pretty quickly.
    Discover more at




    « Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

    About Us
    Contact Us
    Privacy Policy
    Media Center
    Manufacturers & Retailers
    Facebook Auto Publish Powered By :