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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 Meat & Poultry

TIP OF THE DAY: Burger Salad & Salad Burger

For years we have been enjoying the Burger Salad at Five Napkin Burger in New York City. It’s evolved over time, but initially consisted of a big bowl of beautifully arranged baby greens and colorful veggie complements, in a perfect vinaigrette. Atop was a plump burger: beef, salmon, turkey, veggie or a solid piece of grilled tuna.

We love good bread and can [alas] eat loaves of it. But burger buns—even when heavily seeded or made of brioche—rarely fall into that group. And they get soggy.

So when Five Napkin Burger presented a menu of burger salads in addition to conventional burgers, we tried a salad and were hooked. We were never a neat burger eater, so enjoyed the bonuses: no meat juices or ketchup dripping onto us when we raised the burger to our mouth.

While it could be a calorie- and carb-cutting alternative for some, let us hasten to say that we enjoy our burger salad along with the establishment’s excellent onion rings, sweet potato fries, and a beer.

Today’s tip is not just a burger salad, but for those who still want their bun, a salad burger (below).

   

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Our favorite way to enjoy a burger this burger salad from Five Napkin Burger. Photo courtesy Five Napkin Burger | NYC.

 
HOW TO CREATE A GREAT BURGER SALAD RECIPE

To start, think of your favorite salad and assemble the ingredients. Is it spinach salad? Cobb salad? Chopped salad? Salade Niçoise? Spicy greens (arugula, radish, watercress)? Tortilla salad?

Create your burger salad from those ingredients; and if the original salad contained chicken, turkey or other meat, consider adding small amounts of them—a mixed grill burger salad, as it were.

You can make a bacon cheeseburger salad or a diet burger burger salad. You can add seeds for more nutrition. And there are ways to cut calories. But here’s a list of options for starters:

 
BASIC SALAD INGREDIENTS

  • Lettuce: mixed greens (we love to add arugula and cress, but have peaked on kale)
  • Salad veggies: bell pepper, carrots, celery, cucumbers, fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley), radishes
  • Tomatoes: cherry, grape, sliced, sundried—or substitute pimento (roasted red pepper)
  • Onions: green (scallions), red, sweet
  •  
    SALAD ADD-ONS

  • Cheese: crumbled, cubed, julienned, shaved ribbons or shredded
  • Extra veggies: broccoli florets, cauliflower, chiles, fennel, green beans, mushrooms—raw, pickled, roasted or steamed
  • Fruits: berries, dried fruit, mandarin or orange segments, sliced stone fruit, apples or pears
  • Luxury veggies: artichoke hearts, avocado, endive, hearts of palm, radicchio, water chestnuts
  • Seasonal veggies: for example, asparagus and green peas in spring; corn, yellow squash and zucchini in summer
  • Proteins: bacon, beans or legumes (chickpeas, lentils), ham, hard-boiled eggs, tofu/seitan, seafood (we recently created a modern surf and turf burger salad with grilled shrimp), slices or cubes of poultry, salami, sausage, etc.
  • Starch: boiled potatoes, cooked grains, small pasta shapes
  • Garnishes: anchovies, croutons, nuts, olives, peppadews, pepperoncini, pickles, seeds (chia, flax, pepita/pumpkin, sunflower, toasted sesame), sprouts
  •  
    SALAD DRESSING

    A burger salad begs for a delicious vinaigrette. Here’s our template for making a vinaigrette recipe you’ll love.

  • Some people are calorie and fat counters. If that’s you, go for a dressing of plain balsamic vinegar (conventional or white balsamic). It makes a delicious dressing with just 14 calories per tablespoon.
  • Another direction is to use lemon, lime or yuzu juice. Yuzu is imported from Japan and pricey, but worth it.
  • Low-calorie salsa also works, plain or mixed with a bit of salad oil. For a creamy dressing, mix salsa with plain Greek yogurt.
  •  
    However, before you avoid salad oil, ask any nutritionist, the FDA or the American Heart Association: Two tablespoons daily of a heart-healthy oil are important for general health and specific conditions*. The recommended oils are monounsaturated, and include avocado oil, canola oil, olive oil and peanut oil.

    It’s time to stop looking old-school at “calories” and “fat”—an old school way of looking at diet—and focus your choices on health and nutrition.
     

     

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    Plan B: Top your burger with a salad.
    Photo courtesy Umami Burger | Hudson
    Eats.

     

    THE SALAD BURGER

    Instead of topping salad with a burger, you can top a burger with salad.

    Far more than a bunless burger or “diet burger”—the type served by our local diner and others, which plates a burger patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and a scoop of cottage cheese—a salad burger tops your burger with a flavorful salad.

    As you can see in the photo, it can be simple mixed greens, very lightly dressed. Since the burger is America’s favorite food, if you’ve been meaning to add more salad to your diet, here’s your chance.
     
    *A BIG FOOTNOTE ON HEALTHY FATS

    Monounsaturated fats deliver many health benefits, including:

  • Decreased risk for breast cancer.
  • Reduced cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of monounsaturated fats to improve one’s blood lipid profile.
  • Lower risk for heart disease and stroke. The FDA recommends that .8 ounce daily—about 2 tablespoons—may “possibly prevent coronary disease.”
  • Weight loss, when switching to monounsaturated fat from polyunsaturated fats (corn oil, safflower oil and soybean oil, among others) and saturated fats (largely from animal products: meat, dairy, eggs).
  • Less severe pain and less stiffness for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. Diet plays a role in reducing the pain and stiffness of those who already have rheumatoid arthritis.
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Lettuce Wraps ~ Wrap It Up

    Lettuce wraps are a Vietnamese specialty, often used as an appetizer or side instead of a main course. But for a light, better-for-you lunch or dinner, we enjoy them as a main.

    Lettuce wraps are a fun, interactive course for lunch or dinner. You can wrap up any boneless protein in a lettuce leaf; or make it a vegetarian dish, using anything from tofu or seitan to stir-fried vegetables.

    While the recipe below is so easy it can be made on weekdays, it’s also festive for Labor Day weekend. The secret is pre-cooked Tony Roma’s Boneless Ribs (other brands sell a similar product).

    The meaty ribs ready to heat and eat. You can heat them on the grill, in the oven or in the microwave. The ribs are sold at Sam’s Club and other retailers nationwide.

    The other tasks are simply to wash the lettuce, make a quick Asian slaw and set out the sauces. If you want to cut back on the number of sauces, just pick the one everyone will like (we recommend hoisin*). Whatever you choose should be thick, so it doesn’t dribble out of the wrap.

       

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    Wrap cooked boneless ribs in lettuce leaves and top with Asian slaw, cilantro and a sauce of choice. Photo courtesy Tony Roma’s.

     
    *Hoisin sauce is a thick, sweet-and-pungent sauce popular in Chinese cuisine as a glaze for meat, an addition to stir fries, as dipping sauce and a condiment (e.g., in lettuce wraps as well as dishes with pancake wrap such as Moo Shoo Pork and Peking Duck). It is dark brown in color. Hoisin is not the same as plum sauce, which is an orange-colored sweet and sour sauce. In Vietnamese, hoisin sauce is called tuong den.
     

    WHAT ARE BONELESS RIBS?

    Boneless ribs, also called country-style pork ribs or or pork shoulder country-style ribs, are thick strips of meat cut from the pig’s shoulder. They come from a cut called the pork shoulder steak; so they are not actually from the rib cage, but look like the meat removed from a rib. They are marinated and seasoned before cooking.

    Boneless ribs, also called pork loin country-style ribs, can be cut from the shoulder blade as well. They can be sold bone-in, but the bone is usually to make them boneless.
     

     

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    Boneless country-style pork ribs. Photo courtesy Calumet Diversified Meats.

     

    RECIPE: BONELESS RIB LETTUCE WRAPS

    Since the ribs are pre-cooked, prep time is just 15 minutes; cook time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 32 ounces† Tony Roma’s Boneless Pork Ribs
  • 12 leaves of crisp green leaf lettuce (we use romaine hearts, but Boston or bibb work well too)
  •  
    For The Slaw

  • 1 radish, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons sweet rice vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  •  
    †There are 3 boneless ribs in each 16-ounce package and 6 boneless ribs in each 32-ounce package. Each person can have two lettuce wraps.
     
    For The Garnish

  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  •  
    For The Sauces

  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sambal oelek chili sauce or Sriracha hot sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  •  

    Preparation

    1. WASH the lettuce and pat dry with paper towels.

    2. PREPARE the boneless ribs per package instructions.

    3. MAKE the salad topping: Combine the radish, carrot, cucumber and green onions in a mixing bowl. Add the sweet rice vinegar and season with a pinch of salt (or more to taste). Gently toss and set aside in a cool place. When ready to serve…

    4. INSTRUCT everyone on how to serve themselves: Take a lettuce leaf and place a strip of boneless rib in center. Top with some of the slaw; then garnish with cilantro and choice of sauces (hoisin, Sriracha, sambal oelek, sweet chili).

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Avoid Grill Toxins With Organic Grilling

    August 16th is National Bratwurst Day. Before you throw some brats on the grill, here are tips on organic grilling from Maria Rodale, CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., a publisher of health and wellness magazines, books, and digital content*.

    Not surprisingly, she’s committed to organic living. This article is adapted from a larger article:

    AN ORGANIC GUIDE TO GRILLING

    Grilling in America needs an organic makeover—independence from exposure to conventional grilling toxins, says Maria. We need to apply that spirit of revolution to our health and the environment and take it organic every time we fire up the grill!

    Sure, you can find throw a grass-fed, certified-organic steak or an Applegate Farms organic hot dog on the grill. But there’s more to organic grilling than just what you cook.

    Organic grilling is a complete process that minimizes toxic chemicals from beginning to end, as it maximizes flavor and healthful benefits for you and the environment.

       

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    Avoid toxic charcoal briquettes; use organic charcoal. Photo courtesy Hillshire Farms.

    Here Maria demystifies the grilling process and detoxifies it as much as possible. Her tips are safe and simple.
     
    *This article was originally published on June 24, 2015 on Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen blog.
     
    STEP 1: USE ORGANIC GRILLING MATERIALS

    You can use any grill; Maria uses a Big Green Egg charcoal grill with certified-organic charcoal. Big Green Egg sells organic charcoal, as do other companies.

    Whatever the brand, always use charcoal that’s made from natural materials like wood (look for “lump charcoal,” bamboo or coconut). You can use wood logs instead of charcoal; just make sure you have time to let them burn down a bit first. Avoiding toxic briquettes is the most important organic choice you can make for the environment and for your health.

  • To start the grill, you will need a chimney starter, which lets you light the charcoal without poisonous lighter fluid. A chimney starter and organic charcoal solve most of your toxin problems.
  • Everything else you need: paper to stuff under the chimney, matches, organic food to grill, tongs and a silicone hot pad. Maria recommends tongs that are long, non-locking and without plastic parts.
  •  
    STEP 2: PREPARE THE GRILL

    Make sure your grill is in a safe place, all your materials are handy, and the grill is clean enough.

  • Never use a wire cleaning brush to clean your grill. Those little wire bits can break off and get stuck in your stomach. Instead, use a heavy-duty sponge, a wood grill scraper or a natural-fiber scrub brush.
  • When the grate is clean, rub it with some high smoke point oil on the grill—Maria likes coconut oil but canola, peanut, soybean, sunflower and others are fine—to keep your food from sticking.
  •  
    STEP 3: LIGHT THE FIRE

    First, remove the grill grate. Put a few pieces of crumbled dry paper (or one piece of newspaper) at the bottom of the chimney; then load the charcoal on top. Spread a bit of charcoal around the sides, too. Light the paper on fire underneath.

  • Keep checking to make sure that it’s burning hot enough. For example, in damp weather, it might take a few tries to get the paper burning hot enough to light the charcoal.
  • You will know if it’s caught fire when you see smoke coming out of the top of the chimney and/or feel the heat.
  •  

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    Put some shrimp on the barbie… Photo courtesy The Smoked Olive (try their terrific smoked olive oil!).

     

    STEP 4: WAIT

    It will take 10 to 15 minutes for the charcoal to get hot enough. You’ll know it’s ready when you can see red coals glowing through the chimney holes.

  • During that time, make sure all your food is ready to be put on the grill.
  • When the fire is hot enough, grasp the handle of the chimney with a hot pad and dump the burning coals into the grill.
  • Remove the chimney, which will be burning hot, to a safe place, out of the reach of anyone (adults as well as children).

     
    STEP 5: GRILL!

    Put the grill grate back on the grill. It will need a few minutes to warm up, so don’t rush. Spread some oil on the grill to prevent sticking and add the food.

  • You can use aluminum foil if you want, but it’s not necessary. The important thing is to give the food the time it needs to cook properly.
  • Remove the food from the grill onto a clean platter and get ready to dig in.
  •  
    ADDITIONAL GRILLING SAFETY TIPS

  • Keep a squirt bottle or squirt gun handy in case the fire gets too hot. This is especially important if you are using wooden logs—they can get really hot. If they do, give the grill a squirt. Most natural or organic charcoal doesn’t get super-hot, unless you use lots of it.
  • Don’t put cooked meat on the same platter you used for raw meat without washing it first. That’s just good food safety.
  • Don’t get distracted. You can’t grill successfully while trying to get the rest of the meal ready. You need to keep an eye on the food or it can easily burn (or not cook fast enough). If you have no other hekp, make sure all of the other items on your list are ready before you start to grill.
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Carpaccio For National Filet Mignon Day

    For National Filet Mignon Day you have two easy choices: cook it or enjoy it uncooked (yes, raw).

    The easiest ways to serve cooked filet mignon:

  • Whole, plated with vegetables and potatoes
  • Steak sandwich, on a toasted baguette with caramelized onions, or with lettuce and horseradish mayo (blend prepared horseradish into mayonnaise, to taste)
  • Steak salad, sliced and placed atop a bed of greens with blue cheese dressing; substituted for tuna in a Nicoise Salad; or substituted for ham in a Cobb Salad
  •  
    The easiest ways to serve raw filet mignon:

  • Sliced into carpaccio
  • Ground into steak tartare
  •  
    Carpaccio is the absolute easiest.
     
    WHAT IS CARPACCIO?

    Carpaccio is the Italian term for raw beef filet (crudo is the term for raw seafood). Typically made from sirloin, the dish was created in Venice in 1963, at the time of an exhibition dedicated to Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1526).

       

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    A traditional carpaccio with basil-infused olive oil. Photo courtesy Atlantic Paradise Hotel | NYC.

     
    The carpaccio dish was based on the Piedmont speciality, carne cruda all’albese, created by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice. Using fine Piedmontese beef (Piemontese in Italian), he originally prepared it for a countess whose doctors had recommended that she eat raw meat. [Source]

    It is a very popular first course.
     
    RECIPE: BEEF CARPACCIO

    To make carpaccio, buy freshly-cut filet mignon or sirloin from the butcher.

    Ingredients

  • Filet mignon or sirloin
  • Fine olive oil (infused oil, such as basil or rosemary, is great)
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese or white truffles
  • Baby arugula (or baby spinach if you prefer)
  • Optional: sliced onions
  • Toasted baguette on the side
  • Optional: lemon wedges
  • Dishes of flake salt (Cyprus, Maldon, Smoked—substitute coarse sea salt) and cracked pepper
  •  
    Ingredients

    1. PLACE the beef in the freezer for 30 minutes (longer if needed) to firm it and make it easier to slice thin. Using your sharpest knife, slice thin pieces. Arrange on individual plates or a platter. You can create a “sunburst” or “wheel spoke” or parallel slices, depending on the plate or platter.

    2. DRIZZLE olive oil over the top of the beef or around the rim of the plate. If using onions (not part of the original recipe), scatter over the beef, along with the shaved Parmesan. Lastly, top with the arugula.

    3. SERVE with optional lemon wedges and pass dishes of salt and pepper (or go the conventional route, with salt and pepper shakers).

     

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    Filet mignon. To make carpaccio, freeze it for 30 minutes to make it easy to slice thin pieces. Photo courtesy Mackenzie Ltd.

     

    FILET MIGNON TRIVIA

  • Filet mignon is the most tender cut of beef. It is cut from the tenderloin, a muscle in the middle of the back between the sirloin and the ribs. Because the muscle is not weight-bearing, it contains less connective tissue. This is why it’s the most tender.
  • The name is French for “tender fillet” or “dainty fillet.” Fillet, pronounced FILL-it, is the English spelling of filet. Americans use the French spelling and pronunciation, fee-LAY min-YONE.
  • Filet mignon is the most expensive cut of beef. That’s not only because it’s so desirable for its tenderness, but because the tenderloin is very small.
  • The tenderloin weighs an average of five to seven pounds. It is not an even width; it tapers on both ends, so filets mignon can only be cut from the center. The center cut of a 5-1/2 pound tenderloin is just 2 pounds or so.
  • The entire center cut can be roasted whole—the dish known as Chateaubriand. For even more tenderness, you can poach the center cut. It’s our favorite dish for entertaining—very easy, requiring no time to check on it as it cooks. We’ll publish the recipe in a future tip.
  • The tenderloin is generally not as flavorful (“beefy”) as other premium cuts of beef (e.g., the rib eye or the strip steak). That’s why it is sometimes wrapped in bacon or served with a sauce.
  • Tournedos are small round pieces of beef cut from the tail and head of the tenderloin, often cooked with bacon.
  • The pieces that are too small to use as steak are often cut into 1-inch pieces for a Beef Stroganoff or other dishes. You can use them in a steak salad.
  •  
    SOME OTHER NAMES FOR FILET MIGNON

  • Dutch: ossenhaas
  • English (U.S.): medallions, tenderloin steak
  • English (UK, Ireland): fillet steak
  • English (Australia, New Zealand): eye fillet
  • French: filet de bœuf (the entire center-cut tenderloin is the dish known as Chateaubriand)
  • French (Québec): filet mignon
  • Italian: filetto
  • Norwegian: indrefilet
  • Portuguese: filé or filé mignon
  • Spanish: filete miñón or filet mignon
  • Swedish: oxfilé
  •  
    Source
      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Hot Dog Day

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    The Cubano Dog, adapted from the Cuban Sandwich. Photo courtesy Lightlife.

     

    June 23rd is National Hot Dog Day, and we’ve got a new hot dog recipe: the Cubano Dog. It’s a riff on the Cubano (Cuban) Sandwich, a variation of ham and cheese made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, sliced dill pickles and mustard on lightly buttered Cuban (or Portuguese) roll.

    Here, the hot dog and bun replace the pork and bread. Check out the different types of sandwiches.

    The recipe is from Lightlife, a Nibble Top Pick Of The Week that specializes in delicious meatless alternatives. But any dog works: beef, bison, chicken, turkey or veggie.

    RECIPE: CUBANO DOG

    You can use store-bought pickles instead of making your own (it’s quick and easy!).

  • 2 large Portuguese rolls or 4 hot dog buns
  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 slices ham
  • 2 ounces Swiss cheese, sliced into 16 half-inch strips
  • Yellow mustard
  • For The Pickles

  • 1 cup very thinly sliced English cucumber, cut into half moons (see photo above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • ¼ -1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, cracked
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pickles. In a heat-proof bowl, toss together cucumbers and dill. Set aside.

    2. HEAT the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until the liquid begins to simmer and the sugar dissolves. Pour the liquid over the cucumbers and toss to coat evenly. Cover and place in the refrigerator. The pickles can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.

    3. TOAST the rolls. If using Portuguese rolls, first slice them in half. You can toast them under the broiler at the same time as you broil the hot dogs. and the bread is toasted.

    4. TURN the oven to broil. First cook the hot dogs in a medium saucepan, covered with water. Bring to a boil; turn off the heat. Let the hot dogs sit in the water for 2 minutes.

    4. ROLL 1 slice of ham around each dog. Place on a baking sheet (along with the hot dog rolls) and broil for 2 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from from broiler and add 4 slices of cheese to each dog. Broil for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

    5. REMOVE from the oven. Top each dog with 1/4 cup of drained pickles. Serve with mustard.

     

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    You’ve come a long way, baby. The original Coney Island hot dog can be dressed in many types of garnishes. Photo courtesy Body By Bison.

     
    HOT DOG VERSUS SAUSAGE: THE DIFFERENCE

    The hot dog—also called a frankfurter and a wiener—is a type of sausage: ground meat stuffed into a casing*. The American hot dog differs from other sausages based on ingredients, origin and size.

    The original name for the hot dog, frankfurter, comes from a small town called Neu-Isenburg, located on the road from Frankfurt to Darmstadt. Every town in Germany has its own sausage recipe: blend of meat, spicing, etc.

    The frankfurter, a slender sausage like today’s frank, was made from pork. The name “wiener” comes from Vienna, Austria; the German name for Vienna is Wien. The wiener is similar to the frankfurter in recipe, but slightly shorter in size.

    Sausages appear in print as far back as Homer’s Odyssey, about 850 B.C.E. The earliest possible reference to “hot dog” occurs in the late 17th century.

    The written record is incomplete, but a sausage maker from Coberg, Germany named Johann Georghehner may have invented a sausage he called “little dachshunds,” or “little dogs.”

    Recipes for the predecessor of the American hot dog came to U.S. with immigrant butchers of several nationalities. While as uncertain as the Georgehner story, it is believed that in 1871, Charles Feltman, a butcher from Germany, opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand selling 3,684 “dachshund sausages” in a milk roll during his first year in business. [Source: HotDog.org]

    Since sauerkraut and mustard were typical accompaniments to German sausages, they found their place atop the hot dog, later to be joined by many other toppings; for starters, bacon, cheese, chili, ketchup, onions, pickles/pickle relish, salsa and slaw.

    While we don’t know the different recipes of the first American hot dogs, it is beef rather than pork that has prevailed—possibly, because Nathan’s, today the world’s biggest hot dog brand, was a kosher recipe.

    In 1916 Nathan Handwerker, a Polish immigrant, started a nickel hot dog stand on Coney Island with a $300 loan from two friends—Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante, both local boys. But it was his wife’s secret spice recipe that is attributed to the success over other vendors.
     
    *Sausage can also be vegetarian; and bulk sausage is available without the casing.

      

    Comments

    UPDATES: New Flavors From Product Favorites

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    A nutritious, easy breakfast is just a crunch away. Photo courtesy belVita.

     

    If we reported on all the updates to products we’ve previously reviewed, we’d need another full-time staff. Each year flavors come, flavors go; and on an all-too-regular basis, packaging changes.

    While we can’t keep on top of it all, here are recent updates to some of our favorite products.

    ANGRY ORCHARD CIDER’S SUMMER HONEY

    There are seasonal ciders, just as there are seasonal beers. Angry Orchard’s Summer Honey is a perfect poolside drink—or it would be, if we had a pool. Instead, we’re enjoying it in the great air-conditioned indoors.

    Here’s our original review of Angry Orchard Cider. The company website is AngryOrchard.com.
     
    APPLEGATE NATURAL UNCURED BEEF HOT DOGS
    NOW GRASS FED

    Ever since we published our review of the best organic hot dogs, Applegate has become our brand of choice.

     
    Applegate has always used meat from animals that are humanely raised and antibiotic free. Made with only beef, water, sea salt and spices, the dogs are also lower in fat, with less salt than other brands.

    Now, the beef is 100% grass fed, something of interest to healthier eaters. Compared with other types of beef, grass-fed beef typically has:

  • Less total fat.
  • More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.
  • More conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks.
  •  
    Learn more at Applegate.com.

    BELVITA BREAKFAST BISCUITS IN CRANBERRY ORANGE

    Since their launch by Nabisco in 2012, belVita has been a favorite breakfast and snack item at our office and a Top Pick Of The Week. We prefer the original crunchy biscuits to the subsequent Soft Baked and Biscuit Bites variations.

    Recently, Cranberry Orange was added to belVita’s crunchy flavors. Along with Blueberry and Chocolate, it’s a favorite. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU. Discover more at BelvitaBreakfast.com.
     
    HALFPOPS

    Halfpops, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, has added two new flavors to originals Butter & Sea Salt and Aged White Cheddar.

    The newcomers, Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque, are equally delicious. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU, and certified gluten free. Find the retailer nearest you at Halfpops.com.

     

    NONNI’S THIN ADDICTIVES, NOW IN MANGO

    Nonni’s Thin Addictives, a lower-calorie alternative to biscotti, has released Mango Coconut Almond Thins.

    It joins Banana Dark Chocolate, Blueberry Oat Almond, Cinnamon Raisin, Cranberry Almond and Pistachio as a crunchy side to coffee and tea.

    The line is certified kosher (parve) by MK, a Montreal certifier (the product is made in Canada). Discover more at Nonnis.com.
     

    PRETZEL CRISPS, GLUTEN-FREE

    Flat, crunchy Pretzel Crisps are another favorite snack. We used the Dark Chocolate & Peppermint and White Chocolate & Peppermint flavors as stocking stuffers last December, and extolled the Sriracha & Lime flavor more recently.

    Now, there are four gluten-free varieties that taste just as good as the conventional versions: Gluten Free Original Minis, Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Flavored Crunch Minis, Gluten Free Salted Caramel Minis and Gluten Free Vanilla Yogurt Flavored Crunch Minis.

    From Deli Style to Minis to Modern Classics to Everyday Indulgents and Holiday Indulgents, there are quite a selection of Pretzel Crisps. See the whole line at PretzelCrisps.com. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU.

     

    chipotle-barbeque-230

    Chipotle Barbeque joins Caramel & Sea Salt in the Halfpops line. Photo courtesy Halfpops.

     
    QUAKER OATS’ 3-MINUTE STEEL CUT OATS

    Quaker has introduced new Quick 3-Minute Steel Cut Oats, which delivers the same hearty texture and nutty taste that has made steel cut oats our favorite—but with a far more convenient cook time.

    Available in plain oats in canisters, and flavored individual pouches: 3-Minute Blueberries & Cranberries and Cinnamon and Sugar. Discover more at QuakerOats.com.
     
    SAMUEL ADAMS SUMMER BEERS

    Some people like a lighter brew for the hot weather, and Samuel Adams offers a good selection. Two new lighter brews for summer refreshment include Downtime Pilsner, a “laid-back” golden pilsner, and Rebel Rider IPA, a hoppy West Coast-style IPA with a lighter body. These new brews are joined by traditional summer favorites, Boston Lager, Porch Rocker and Summer Ale.

    Also new, from the Small Batch Collection, is Honey Queen, a blend of mead and beer. Dating back to the 12th century, this combination is known as a braggot—a new word for our Beer Glossary. It’s brewed with three different honeys, complex hops and chamomile for a tart sweetness with a lovely honey finish.

    Learn more at SamuelAdams.com.

      

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    RECIPE: Deconstructed Fajita Salad

    Beef-Fajita-Salad-with-Mango-Serrano-Vinaigrette-beefitswhatsfordinner-230

    Ditch the tortilla carbs and have a fajita
    salad. Photo courtesy Beef It’s What’s For
    Dinner.

     

    According to Cabo Flats cantina and bar, there are 54,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S., and $39 billion is spent each year on Mexican restaurant food.

    Instead of an elaborate fajita spread with six different condiments and sides (see the history of fajitas, below), try this “deconstructed” Beef Fajita Salad with Mango-Serrano Vinaigrette. It’s from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

    You can substitute a green salad for the diced mangoes. Or, serve a large green salad on the side with a different vinaigrette (we like balsamic).

    RECIPE: BEEF FAJITA SALAD WITH MANGO-
    SERRANO VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 beef boneless top sirloin steak (about 1 pound), cut 1 inch thick
  • 3 medium mangoes, peeled, cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium poblano chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion (about 11 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 cup radishes (about 1 bunch), thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • For The Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 serrano chiles
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  •  
    Optional

  • Flour or corn tortillas
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRUSH the mangoes lightly with oil. Place the mangoes and poblanos in the center of the grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill the chiles, covered, 9 to 10 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until the skins are completely blackened, turning occasionally. Grill the mangoes 8 to 14 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until very tender, turning occasionally. Place the chiles in a food-safe plastic bag; close bag. Let stand 15 minutes. Set the mangoes aside.

    2. PRESS the black pepper evenly onto the steak. Brush the onion slices lightly with oil. Place the steak in the center of the grill over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange the onion slices around steak. Grill the steak and onions, covered, turning occasionally. Cook for 11 to 15 minutes over coals, 13 to 16 minutes over medium heat on preheated gas grill, or until the steak is medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) and the onion is tender. Keep warm. Meanwhile…

     

    top-sirloin-lockestmeats.ca-230

    A top sirloin steak, grilled and ready for a fajita salad (or a regular fajita!). Photo courtesy Red Marble Steaks.

     
    3. PREPARE the vinaigrette. Cut the grilled mangoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Combine 1/2 cup mango, lime juice, water and serrano chiles in a food processor. Cover and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil through the opening in the lid, processing until well blended. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

    4. REMOVE and discard the skins, stems and seeds from the the poblano chiles and cut them into 3/4-inch pieces. Slice the steak. Cut the onion slices in half.

    5. PLACE the beef, remaining mango pieces, onion, chiles and radishes on serving platter. Season with salt as desired. Drizzle the salad with vinaigrette. sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
     

    ABOUT FAJITAS

    Fajita is a Tex-Mex term for strips of meat cut from the faja, or beef skirt (skirt steak is the most common cut used to make fajitas, but you can also use top sirloin). The word faja is Spanish for band, belt, sash or strip.

    The dish was popularized in the 1970s by Mexican restaurants in Texas. The meat was served sizzling, usually cooked with onions and bell peppers. Tortillas were used to roll the meat, with a choice of add-ins from shredded lettuce and cheese to guacamole, pico de gallo or other salsa, sour cream, and tomato.

    Today, you can order fajitas in all popular proteins: chicken, pork, shrimp, and all cuts of beef.

      

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    RECIPE: Oven Fried Chicken With Corn Flakes

    Photo courtesy Cereal Lovers Cookbook.

     

    July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day. Our favorite fried chicken recipe is breaded with Corn Flakes. We usually make this skillet fried chicken recipe, but here’s a “bake fry” recipe.

    Of course, it’s breaded with Corn Flakes crumbs. Not only is the texture superior to flour, but the corn flakes add a delightful flavor note. (Panko, Japanese bread crumbs, provide the texture but not the flavor.)

    You can make this recipe with or without the chicken skin. We remove it to cut back on cholesterol.

  • 7 cups Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, crushed to 1-3/4 cups
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken pieces, rinsed and dried
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Preparation

    1. CRUSH. Crush corn flakes in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or wine bottle. Place crushed cereal in a shallow dish or pan. Set aside.

    2. MIX. In medium mixing bowl, beat egg and milk slightly. Add flour, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Dip chicken in batter. Coat with cereal. Place in single layer, in shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray or foil lined. Drizzle with margarine.

    3. Bake at 350° F about 1 hour or until chicken is tender, no longer pink and juices run clear. For food safety, internal temperature of the chicken should reach at least 165ºF. Do not cover pan or turn chicken while baking. Serve hot.

     

    CORN FLAKES HISTORY

    Corn flakes were developed by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a surgeon and vegetarian who built a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, and his brother Will Keith (W.K.) Kellogg, the sanitarium’s bookkeeper. Many of the patients were wealthy individuals with digestive problems.

    Seeking to develop a more digestible form of bread for the patients, the brothers Kellogg had just placed a sample of boiled wheatberries on a baking sheet when Dr. Kellogg was summoned to the operating room for an emergency, and W.K. was also called away to supervise arrangements for the funeral of another patient.

    When they returned to their experiment, they ran the cooked wheatberries through rollers and, to their surprise, found that each wheat berry formed a large, thin flake. The brothers had accidentally discovered the principle of tempering grains, and called the flaked wheat cereal Granose.

    They applied the same technique to create Corn Flakes, made from white corn grits; and rice flakes.

     

    corn-flakes-box-230

    For breakfast or breading! Photo courtesy Kellogg.

     

    The first corn flakes appeared in 1898 and were called Sanitas Corn Flakes (presumably after the sanitarium, a questionable inspiration for a breakfast food). They were manufactured by Dr. Kellogg’s Sanitas Food Company.

    In 1906, W.K. Kellogg formed his own company for nationwide marketing of Corn Flakes (Dr. Kellogg preferred healthcare to business). C.W. Post, a former patient at the sanitarium, came out with his own corn flakes at about the same time. At first he called them Elijah’s Manna, and later changed the name to Post Toasties.

    The Kellogg’s Corn Flakes rooster actually has a name: Cornelius Rooster. The artwork was created in 1957 by Rena Ames Harding at the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency. It has been pictured on the front of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box ever since.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: The History Of Independence Day (& What They Ate)

    THE HISTORY OF INDEPENDENCE DAY

    A federal holiday, Independence Day—also known as July 4th or the Fourth of July—commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, which met in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia.

    The legal separation of the Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, the day that the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution declaring the United States independent from Great Britain’s rule.

    Congress declared that the 13 American colonies were now a new sovereign nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.

    The Declaration of Independence, a statement comprising 1137 words, authored largely by Thomas Jefferson, was officially adopted by Congress on July 4th after two days of debate and revision.

       

    raw-steak-cut-as-usa-esquaredhospitality-230

    Happy Independence Day. God Bless America! Photo courtesy ESquared Hospitality.

     
    Nearly a month would go by, however, before the signing of the document took place.

  • On July 4th, only 12 of the 13 colonies voted to approve the Declaration. New York’s delegates didn’t officially give their support until July 9th, because their state assembly hadn’t yet authorized them to vote in favor of independence.
  • It took two weeks for the Declaration to be engrossed on parchment. Engrossing is the process of preparing an official document in a large, clear hand. Timothy Matlack, a Pennsylvanian who had assisted the Secretary of the Congress, Charles Thomson, was probably the engrosser.
  • Most of the delegates signed on August 2nd, but several signed on a later date. Two others never signed at all! (Source)
  • Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed on July 4th!
  • If you were a member of the Second Continental Congress in 1776, you were a rebel and considered a traitor by the King of England. You knew that a reward had been posted for the capture of certain prominent rebel leaders, and that signing your name to the Declaration meant that you pledged your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor to the cause of freedom.
  •  
    The Revolutionary War was a long, hard, and difficult struggle that began on April 19, 1775 with the battles of Lexington and Concord. It ended officially on September 3, 1783, when a peace treaty with Great Britain was signed. If you’ve forgotten your high school history, here’s a recap.

    From the outset, Americans celebrated their independence on July 4th, preferring to honor the approval of the Declaration of Independence over the July 2nd vote for independence.

     

    kurobuta-bone-in-ham-WS-230

    Baked ham was a colonial mainstay. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    WHAT DID THE DELEGATES EAT?

    Since THE NIBBLE focuses on food, we investigated what the delegates might have eaten.

    Working long hours, the delegates would have stepped out for nourishment at coffee houses, taverns and publick houses. These destinations were not known for their cuisine, but were venues for exchanging ideas, sharing news and conducting business (the restaurant business as we now know it developed later).

    People who could afford to eat meals in these establishments were generally of the wealthier classes. The food was often served buffet-style, on a sideboard. As was common into the 20th century, the food came free with the drinks. (Source)

    At the time, colonial Philadephia was a melting pot of English, French and West Indian cuisine influences.

  • Meals often featured baked ham with warm potato salad, meat pies (chicken or pork), oysters, stew and soup, including the traditional Philadelphia PepperPot Soup.
  • Also popular: terrapin (turtle) and tripe (animal stomach, typically from cows or pigs).
  • The bread included corn muffins, white and whole wheat rolls—buttered, of course.
  • Dessert could be fruit pies, sugar cookies, gingerbread, Sally Lunn (a pound cake) or ice cream. The confectionery in Philadelphia, including ice cream, was considered the best in America.
  • Beverages included beer, hard cider, rum, and other alcoholic beverages; alcohol was considered healthful. City water supplies were dangerously polluted; only rural folk drank water from clean sources, and bottled it to sell in the city. In 1790, government figures showed that annual per-capita alcohol consumption for Americans over age 15 included 34 gallons of beer and cider, five gallons of distilled spirits and one gallon of wine. (Source)
  •  
    Would you give up the modern July 4th standards for a colonial-era meal? If yes, start planning for next year!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Hot Dog Toppings ~ What’s On Your Dog?

    Americans eat more hot dogs on July 4th than any other day of the year: 150 million of them.

    In previous years we’ve done articles about regional hot dog toppings toppings, like these and these; and gourmet hot dog toppings such as bruschetta and fresh basil leaves, caramelized onions, crumbled blue cheese, corn relish and fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños and slaw, and fruit salsa (mango, peach, pineapple).

    “Don’t be fooled,” says Restaurant-Hospitality.com. “A closer look at which toppings customers specify when they purchase hot dogs indicates that most stick with old standbys, even when more exotic options can readily be had.”

    As an example, JJ’s Red Hots of Charlotte, North Carolina, offers its toppings list in order of customer preference.
     
    TOP 10* HOT DOG TOPPINGS

    1. Mustard
    2. Onions
    3. Chili
    4. Slaw
    5. Pimento cheese
    6. Relish/pickles
    7. Bacon
    8. Sauerkraut
    9. Salsa
    10. Caramelized onions

       

    jjs-red-hots-group-230

    The choice of toppings at JJ’s Red Hots. Photo courtesy JJ’s | Charlotte.

     
    *There are regional preferences, of course: Pimento cheese is popular spread in the South; and ketchup, which many Americans prefer to mustard on their dogs, is not on their Top 10 list!
     

    Our own favorite toppings are our parents’ favorites, what Mom served in our house (and from our family’s favorite hot dog stand, long gone): sauerkraut and green pickle relish with grainy mustard. But give us a gourmet dog with bacon and blue cheese and we’ll have seconds.

    There is a proper order to topping a hot dog, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. Condiments should be applied in the following order and always on top of the dog, not between the dog and the bun:

  • Wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first.
  • Chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, are next.
  • Shredded cheese.
  • Spices, like chili flakes, celery salt or pepper.
  •  

    chicago-hot-dog-kindredrestaurant-230

    A Chicago-style hot dog: an all-beef dog on a
    steamed poppyseed bun, with toppings added in this order: yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers and celery salt. Photo courtesy Kindred Restaurant | Davidson, North Carolina
    , where they add a side of salad.

     

    MORE HOT DOG IDEAS

  • Crescent-wrapped hot dogs recipe and an on a stick variation.
  • Italian hot dogs: marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and pesto on turkey franks recipe.
  • Bacon cheese dogs recipe.
  •  
    HOT DOG TRIVIA

    According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council:

  • An estimated seven billion hot dogs are eaten by Americans between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • Americans consume an estimated 20 billion hot dogs a year, more than twice the retail sales figures (and about 70 hot dogs per person). This includes dogs purchased from street vendors, at ballparks, carnivals and other venues.
  • Hot dogs are served in 95 percent of homes in the United States.
  • Each year, Americans eat an average of 60 hot dogs per capita.
  • Miller Park in Milwaukee is the only Major League ball park in which sausages outsell hot dogs. Check out The Beast, their “turducken” of hot dogs.
  • Ball park hot dog vendors need to be strong. A fully loaded bin weights approximately 40 pounds, and vendors typically walk 4 to 5 miles per game, up and down steps. They work are paid on commission plus tips.
  • “Nobody, I mean nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog” is a phrase less famous than “Go ahead, make my day.” But Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry said them both (the former in “Sudden Impact”).
  • Glamour queen Marlene Deitrich’s preferred meal was hot dogs and Champagne.
  • Visitors can purchase hot dogs at the Vatican Snack Bar.
  •  
    HOT DOG FACTS & TRIVIA

    Take our hot dog trivia quiz.

    Here’s how hot dogs are made (video).

    The history of hot dogs, including how the frankfurter became the hot dog.

    Why are hot dogs sold in packs of eight, while hot dog rolls are sold in 10-packs? The mystery revealed.

      

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