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

Hope Black Garlic Hummus

Salad-Topped Hummus

Chocolate Hummus

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

 

May 13th is International Hummus Day.

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

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

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

THE HUMMUS RENAISSANCE

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

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

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

HOPE FOODS ORGANIC HUMMUS

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

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

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

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

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

HOPE HUMMUS FLAVORS

Currently, the line of hummus includes:

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

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

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

    “Spread” the word!
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    *Some brands also add olive oil.

     

    THE HISTORY OF HUMMUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Mezze Platter

    Hummus Platter

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

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

    MORE HUMMUS

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

    May is National Egg Month, a time for some consciousness-raising.

    We look for Certified Humane eggs and don’t mind paying the premium for them. You’ve no doubt heard the horror stories of mass egg production.

    We buy from Pete and Gerry’s whenever we can: eggs produced on small family farms with a commitment to the humane treatment of the chickens.

    Pete & Gerry’s eggs are also USDA Organic, OU kosher and B-Corporation Certified: committed to sustainability.

    They shared these fowl facts with us:

  • There’s no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. The color of the egg is actually determined by the color of the hen!
  • Young hens produce smaller eggs. The medium-size eggs come from pullets, hens that are less than a year old.
  • The smaller the egg, the thicker the shell. This makes them easier to crack (no fragments to fish out) and, for hard-boiled eggs, easier to peel.
  • What creates a double yolk? In a young hen that is just learning how to lay eggs, two eggs merged before the shell was formed.
  • All eggs aren’t equally flavorful. Aside from freshness (e.g., farmers market eggs), the tastiest eggs come from free-range hens they have real access to grass, where they can peck for worms and other insects that contribute to the flavor.
  • Fresh water, the space to roost and access to earth so they can dust-bathe are also essential. Cage-free and conventional hens spend their lives crammed together indoors. Cage-free hens aren’t confined to sit in a tiny cage, but are crammed onto the floor of a building with no room to move.
  • What’s the deal with cholesterol? In the 1980s, news warned against the consumption of eggs for people with high cholesterol. But the new news is, research has returned to the side of egg consumption. Don’t steer clear of eggs because of cholesterol. (If you have an issue, consult with your healthcare provider).
  •  
    That’s good news, because…

  • The egg is a nutritional powerhouse, with 7 grams of high-quality protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, including the disease-fighting antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin and the macro-ingredient choline. Yes, there are 5 grams of fat, but only 1.6 grams are saturated fat (types of fat). And all for just 75-78 calories per large egg.
  •  
    Now for the fun trivia:

     

    Natural Hens' Eggs Colors

    Tufted Araucana Chicken

    These eggs are all natural in color. The colors come from different breeds of hens. Those breeds don’t produce eggs as economically as breeds that produce white and brown eggs, so they are not sold commercially, except by some farmstands (photo courtesy The Egg Farm). [2] This tufted arcauna chicken, originally from South America, lays pale blue eggs (photo courtesy Awesome Araucana.

  • Why are eggs sold by the dozen? In England and other European countries from as early as the 700s and continuing until around 1960, the Imperial Unit System was used. There were twelve pennies to a shilling, which meant that an egg could be sold for a penny, or a dozen eggs could be sold for a shilling, with no change-making required.
  • By the Elizabethan period (1550-1600), selling eggs by the dozen was the standard practice. The English who emigrated to North America brought the system with them. Other countries have their own standards.
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    TIPS

  • To crack an egg: The best technique is to tap it on the counter, not on the rim of the bowl. You’ll avoid fragments, splinters, or whatever you call those exasperating little pieces that drop into the bowl.
  • To check if an egg is fresh or stale, raw or hard boiled: Just spin the egg on the counter. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled. A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.
  • Egg sandwiches: A fried egg sandwich with bacon was popular in our youth. These days, one of our go-to quick meals for breakfast, lunch or light dinner is a sliced hard-boiled egg sandwich on rye toast. We buy the eggs pre-boiled and peeled (a great time saver!) and use an ever-changing variety of seasonal fixings (a favorite: roasted red pepper (pimento) with baby arugula) and mayo flavors. For weekend brunch: a slice of smoked salmon.
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    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS

    If you think of eggs as either white or brown, check out the different types of eggs in our Egg Glossary. There are 10 choices in chicken eggs alone!
     
    SOME EGG-CELLENT LINKS

  • Egg Salad Recipes & The History Of Egg Salad
  • How To Make The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg
  • Egg Nutrition
  • Quail Egg Recipes
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    PRODUCT UPDATES

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    FSTG_bean-chips-generalmills-230

    TOP PHOTO: Almonds with a sriracha kick.
    Photo courtesy Blue Diamond. BOTTOM
    PHOTO: Bean & Tortilla Chips from Food
    Should Taste Good.

     

    Brands we enjoy and have previously reviewed are busy launching new lines. Here’s what we tasted lately.

    BLUE DIAMOND BOLD SRIRACHA ALMONDS

    Companies that have jumped on the “hot” bandwagon have figured out how to make products hot enough to please hotties, but not so hot that they loses sales from the other segments.

    These “bold” roasted almonds are delightful, and not as intense as the can indicates, or we would not have been able to eat them (medium salsa is the hottest we go).

    Consider them as stocking stuffers. Almonds are a healthful nut, so this is a guilt-free snack. The line is certified kosher by OK. More information.
     
    FOOD SHOULD TASTE GOOD BEAN CHIPS

    Our favorite line of tortilla chips, known for deftly combining other foods with corn-based tortilla chips, is now adding beans to the mix.

    Food Should Taste Good Black Bean Chips and Pinto Bean Chips combine nutritious, fiber-filled beans to deliver real bean flavors.

    Food Should Taste Good Bean Chips are gluten free, have zero grams trans-fat and are certified kosher by OU. More information.

    We must shout out to the line of tortilla chips in flavors galore. Beyond Cantina chips, there are Cheddar, Falafel, Guacamole, Harvest Pumpkin, Jalapeño, Jalapeño With Cheddar, Kettle Corn, Lime, Multigrain, Olive, Sweet Potato, The Works and White Cheddar.

    Love those chips!

     

     

    NASOYA CHIPOTLE BAKED TOFU

    Who says tofu isn’t flavorful? Nasoya, the country’s largest producer of tofu, has added a new flavor to its line of TofuBaked.

    Chipotle TofuBaked is ready to eat, sliced cold into salads or sandwiches, or heated for scrambles, omelets and Tex-Mex favorites (burritos, fajitas, tacos). Recipes on the website include Seven Layer Chipotle Dip, Southwest Breakfast Bake and Chipotle Tortilla Soup.

    We’re also fans of Ginger TofuBaked.

    The product is USDA certified organic and certified kosher by Star K.

    More information.
     
    POPCHIPS CRAZY HOT

    Quite hot, if not crazy hot, these chips are also quite tart, with as much vinegar as heat.

    In addition to red chili pepper flavor, there are hints of Cheddar cheese. We think it’s a winner for hot stuff lovers.

    The line is certified kosher by KOF-K and certified gluten free. More information.
     
    RUNA ICED TEA

    Runa Clean Energy has no sugar added iced teas, which, thanks to the guayusa from which the tea is brewed, has a natural sweetness as well.

    The line is certified kosher by OU, Fair Trade Certified and a Certified B Corporation.

    In 8.4-ounce/250 ml cans, flavors include Berry, Orange Passion and Original. More information.

     

    chipotle-tofu-nasoya-230

    popchips-crazy-hot copy-230

    TOP PHOTO: Spicy tofu, ready to eat from Nasoya. BOTTOM PHOTO: More hot stuff, this time in crunchy potato chips from Popchips .

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: The Easiest Way To Eat Whole Grains

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/guac sandwich yvonne triedandtasty 230

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    Top: Doesn’t this look so much better
    than white bread? Photo courtesy
    Tried And Tasty via Dave’s Killer Bread.
    Bottom: Photo courtesy Dave’s Killer Bread.

     

    September is Whole Grains Month. Why whole grains? You need the fiber no matter your age, what shape you’re in (here’s why you need whole grains).

    When you tell people they need to add more fiber to their diet via whole grains, you get push back. We understand: We, too prefer the taste of white-flour pancakes, pasta and pizza crust to whole grain versions.

    But bread? Did you ever meet a piece of bread you didn’t like? That’s why you should make a small switch to whole grain bread.

    Sandwiches and toast are just as delicious with whole wheat bread. And if you use Dave’s Killer Bread, they are resplendent!

    So today’s tip is: Stop buying white bread for sandwiches and toast, and try all the whole grain versions available to you.

    Our favorite is Dave’s Killer Bread, available in 14 different loaf varieties plus hamburger and hot dog buns. There’s also a better-for-you cinnamon roll. It’s one of our favorite Top Picks Of The Week.

     
    WHAT’S IN DAVE’S BREAD?

    It is, indeed, killer. In addition to marvelous flavor and texture, the breads are organic, all natural, whole grain and packed with protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids. Whole grain bread has never tasted better. We’ll support Dave’s claim that this is “the best bread in the universe.”

    In addition, the breads are vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified and certified kosher (parve) by Oregon Kosher.

    Our only lament is that our local store carries only one variety.

    Once only available in greater Portland, Oregon, Dave’s Killer Bread has quietly become the country’s largest baker of organic bread—the #1 organic bread brand!

     
    The first four Dave’s Killer Bread varieties (Blues, Good Seed, Nuts & Grains and Rockin’ Rye) launching at the Portland Farmers Market in 2005. Ten years later, it’s traversed the U.S. Waste no time in finding it, even if your local store has only one of the 14 loaves.

    Here’s a store locator. Discover more at DavesKillerBread.com.
     
    PICK YOUR SANDWICH

    We had Dave’s Killer Bread for breakfast this morning, toasted. It’s so flavorful that it needs no spread. And since, as far as bread is concerned, Dave’s is as guilt-free as it gets, we’re deciding on what to put on our DKB sandwich for lunch:

  • BLT?
  • Chicken salad?
  • Egg?
  • Grilled cheese?
  • Grilled vegetables?
  • Ham and Emmental (the real Swiss cheese) or pimento cheese?
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Turkey and guacamole?
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    All are in THE NIBBLE coffers; we just can’t decide. But we hope we’ve sold you.

     

    HOW TO BE SURE IT IS WHOLE GRAIN

    While you can rest assured that Dave’s Killer Bread is whole grain, there’s a lot on the store shelves that appear to be—but aren’t. Package labels are deceptive.

  • Multigrain is not whole grain.
  • Cracked grain and rye breads are not whole grain.
  • Pumpernickel, other dark breads are not whole grain.
  • Only “whole wheat” and “whole grain” are whole grain.
  • Corn bread can be whole grain if it’s made with whole-grain cornmeal and, if there’s wheat flour in the recipe, whole-wheat flour.
  • Here’s more on what is and isn’t whole grain bread.

    NOTE: If you eat gluten-free, millet is a GF whole grain bread.

     

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    Put your burgers and hot dogs on whole grain buns, too. Photo courtesy The Bojon Gourmet via Dave’s Killer Bread.

     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Organic Stoneground Flakes

    We first learned of Back To The Roots, an environmentally-focused start-up founded in Oakland, California by two Berkeley grads, when they sent us a Mushroom Farm two years ago. It’s a kit to grow mushrooms indoors that utilizes recycled coffee grounds.

    The company has since created Water Garden, a device that sits over a fish tank and grows herbs; and Garden In A Can, their own version of herbs-in-a-can.

    These are specialty products. But recently, the company launched another product that has a place in every kitchen.

    It’s a delicious, whole-grain breakfast cereal, with the curiously generic name of Organic Stoneground Flakes.

    They’re not exactly flakes, but shaped like tiny bowls. That adds to their charm; but whatever the shape, we love their flavor and the wholesome nutrition.

    Organic Stoneground Flakes are our new favorite cereal!

     

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    Our new favorite cereal. Photo courtesy Back To The Roots.

     
    WHAT’S IN THEM

    Just three ingredients: organic wheat, a bit of sugar and a dash of salt.

    The U.S.-grown, hard red spring wheat is 100% stoneground, the ancient milling process that preserves all the protein, fiber and flavor of the whole grain.

    The cereal is non-GMO and has a whopping 40g of whole grain per serving, almost your daily requirement of 48g; along with 6g protein and 5g fiber. There’s just a pinch of salt, and a small amount of sugar that balances the flavors without tasting sweet.
     
    MORE GOOD NEWS

    Packaged in an easily recyclable milk carton, the “flakes” are a crunchy snack from the box, a dry cereal to top with milk or yogurt, a crunchy topping for fruit salad, an ingredient for trail mix.

    An order of two 11-ounce boxes is $9.99 plus $2 shipping on the company website.

    The product’s mission is to “pour it forward”: Every photo posted to Facebook.com/backtotheroots generates a donated box of Stoneground Flakes to an elementary school cafeteria.

    WHY YOU NEED WHOLE GRAINS.

      

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