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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 Vegan

FOOD HOLIDAY: Tofu Chocolate Mousse Recipe For National Chocolate Mousse Day

A chocolate mousse alternative that can be
vegan. Photo courtesy HouseFoods.com.

 

Allergic to eggs? Lactose intolerant? Vegan? Cholesterol-averse?

You can still celebrate National Chocolate Mousse Day, April 3rd, by substituting soft tofu.

While traditional mousse recipes use heavy cream and eggs (high in calories and cholesterol), House Foods America provides a healthier and vegan-optional alternative for you to celebrate National Chocolate Mousse Day.

House Food’s Soft (Silken) Tofu is a flavorless ingredient that can transform itself into any flavor or texture (find more recipes on the company’s website).

The recipe delivers a smooth texture that, when blended with semi-sweet chocolate, milk or coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom, creates a luscious dessert that tastes just as indulgent as the traditional version.

 

This recipe serves 4-6, and takes only 15 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (14 ounces) soft tofu
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup of milk (can substitute coconut milk)
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Open the tofu package and strain out the water. Remove tofu and blend in blender until smooth.

    2. With the stove on low or simmer, melt the chocolate chips and milk in a pot, stirring until smooth. Add the tofu mixture and stir until it is blended evenly with the chocolate.

    3. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom. Quickly remove from heat, cool in a bowl or individual serving dishes and set in fridge until the mixture becomes mousse-thick.

    You can add your own personal twist to this recipe:

  • Top the pudding with toasted slivered almonds or other nuts, coconut shavings, or cocoa powder.
  • Or, try these 12 mousse garnishes.
  • For a spicy Mexican chocolate mousse, replace the 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom with 1/2 teaspoon of chile powder.
  • Add a half teaspoon of agave nectar for an even sweeter pudding.
  •  

    The Classic Chocolate Mousse Recipe

    Here’s Julia Child’s chocolate mousse recipe, and the history of mousse.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Gluten-Free Pizza From Bold Organics & Mozzarelli’s

    With the increased consumer interest in gluten-free products, we find ourselves tasting more of them. Our rule of thumb with any special-diet product is: It’s got to be so good that anyone would enjoy it, and not notice that it’s meant for people on a restricted diet.

    Last week our Top Pick was My Dad’s gluten-free cookies. Now we have two new items to add to our gluten-free roster: delicious pizzas.

    Frozen Gluten-Free Pizzas From Bold Organics

    The Bold Organics pizza line is not just gluten-free: It’s milk-free (no lactose, casein or whey), egg-free, peanut- and treenut-free.

    It not only tastes like conventional pizza; it’s better than many of the other frozen choices in the supermarket, even the ones made with traditional wheat and dairy.

     

    All of the flavor, none of the gluten (or other
    allergens). Photo courtesy Bold Organics.

     

    These are individual pies, approximately eight inches in diameter. The number of servings is listed as two—for two five-year-olds, perhaps, but you’ll know that when you see the size of the box. Just count on one pizza per adult.

  • The crust has a nice texture, only slightly softer than the crispy thin-crust style we’re used to in New York City. If you like it extra crispy (we do), you’ll want to cook it a bit longer than instructed.
  • The cheese, largely made of soy, is also impressive. It tastes like authentic cheese and has a nice melty, stretchy texture, like regular pizza cheese.
  • In addition to good basics of crust and cheese, obvious care is taken with all the other ingredients. The sauce, made with organic tomatoes, spices and herbs, is flavorful and has just a touch of heat. Organic vegetables and nitrite/nitrate-free meats are used on the topped varieties.
  •  
    These tasty pizzas are available in four different flavors:

  • Vegan Cheese (plain—we like to buy this one and add our own toppings)
  • Veggie Lovers (onions, red peppers, shiitake mushrooms)
  • Meat Lovers (uncured pepperoni and sausage)
  • Deluxe (all the meat and vegetables above)
  •  
    Bold Organics pizzas retail from $6.99 to $10.29. They’re being rolled out at retail locations around the country this month, with representation in Whole Foods and increased presence overall expected later this year. See the company website to view a store locator.

    The line is certified by Organic Certifiers, the Non GMO Project and the Celiac Sprue Association.

     

    Put your favorite toppings on a great
    gluten-free crust. Photo courtesy
    KingArthurFlour.com.

     

    Fresh Gluten-Free Pizza Crusts

    If you want the crust only, we highly recommend the ones made by Mozzarelli’s. These are the same folks who make My Dad’s gluten-free cookies.

    Mozzarelli’s is a gourmet pizza emporium in New York City. Conventional and gluten-free pizzas are available. We’ve been there and really enjoyed it.

    The crust is made from rice flour, corn starch, potato starch, potato flour and tapioca flour. Unlike Bold Organics, it does contain nonfat dry milk and eggs, so it’s not a vegan product.

    It is, however, delicious. Each crust comes in a disposable/recyclable pan.

     

    The company also sells Better Crumbs, gluten-free bread crumbs.
     
    Pizza Party Idea

    Ask each guest to bring a different topping to share. Then set up a pizza-making table and let guests create their own combinations before you pop the pizzas into the oven.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: GH Cretors, A Better Popcorn Treat

    Three of the five flavors of GH Cretors
    elegant popcorn. Photo courtesy
    GH Cretors.

     

    Flash back to Super Bowl Sunday: We consumed five bags of GH Cretors popcorn, one of each flavor. The empty bags were flattened and brought to the office, where they were added to the “to be written up” box.

    Alas, due to an avalanche of other flattened bags and boxes that week, we’ve just uncovered the Cretors bags, but the happy memory lingers. As does our desire to order more.

    GH Cretors helped to launch popcorn as a favorite snack of the modern age. In 1885,* Charles Cretors invented the steam-powered popcorn machine (see the photo below).

    Previously, popcorn was popped in kitchens, over stove flames in large copper kettles. Cretors developed a raised steam popper that popped the kernels at the top of a large glass bin and spilled the fresh popcorn into the bin, where it could be scooped into bags (the system is still used in today’s movie theaters and elsewhere).

     

    *It was an eventful year: Among other noteworthy happenings, the modern gasoline-fueled internal combustion automobile engine was invented, the the Statue of Liberty was delivered to New York Harbor and the Washington Monument was dedicated.

    From Fresh-Popped To Store-Bought

    Cretors brought the aroma and visuals of popping corn right in front of the consumer, which helped to catapult popcorn into one of the best-selling snacks of all time.

    The GH Cretors brand of packaged popcorn is a relatively new one, launched by the fourth and fifth generations of Cretors descendants. While the family had continued to make popcorn at home through the generations, we’re glad that they’ve put their product on the shelf.

    We’re big popcorn fans. Popcorn is a whole-grain snack; for this reason, it’s a better snack option, whether you crave sweet or salty (or a combination of the two). Whole grains are important in your diet (details).

    The popcorn is crisp and deftly seasoned with just the right touch of caramel or cheese. And there are added benefits with GH Cretors Popcorn:

  • It’s sweetened with brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup. Besides the fact that the brown rice syrup has a delightful sweetness, it has a low glycemic value.† Say goodbye to popcorn with refined sugars: This is the better way. Enjoy the sweetness without the guilt.
  • The ingredients are non-GMO. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are created through genetic engineering, a relatively new science that splices together the genes of plants, animals, bacteria and viruses that would not otherwise exist in nature. In many countries around the world, there are significant restrictions and even bans on the production of GMOs, because they are not considered to be proven safe. Our FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved commercial production of GMO, which are used in many of the products we consumer every day. Even products labeled “all natural” can contain GMOs—which are definitely not natural.
  • The popcorn is all natural. While this term is not regulated by the FDA, the “all natural ingredients” commonly refer to the lack of artificial colors, artificial flavors and chemical preservatives.
  • It’s gluten-free, kosher and vegan.While popcorn is naturally a gluten-free snack, GH Cretors is also certified kosher (by KOF-K). The kettle corn flavor is vegan.
     
    †This means that it doesn’t cause a sudden spike in blood pressure or a sugar “high” after it is consumed. Its composition is 50% soluble carbohydrates, 45% maltose and 3% glucose. The glucose is immediately absorbed and metabolized, maltose takes from an hour to an hour and a half, and soluble carbohydrates take 2-3 hours to be metabolized and energy released. This results in constant supply of energy spread over a long time rather than a sudden rush.

  •  

    Cretors Today

    Charles Cretors’ modern popcorn machine appeared at the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893 and moved to entertainment venues, stadiums and boardwalks everywhere. Five generations of Cretors have been following in his corn-popping footsteps, taste-testing recipes around the kitchen table.

    Recently, great-great-great-granddaughter Claire and her mom Phyllis launched a retail brand called GH Cretors in favorite flavors: caramel, caramel nut, cheddar, kettle corn and the charming Chicago Mix, a combination of caramel corn and cheddar corn that really works.

    The company pops their corn the old fashioned way, by hand in copper kettles.

    Where To Find GH Cretors Popcorn

    GH Cretors is available at fine markets nationwide (here’s a store locator) and online in 12-bag packs at Amazon.com. (Too much for you? Split an order with friends.)

     

    An early popcorn cart. With the spread of the automobile, popcorn rolled. Photo courtesy Deusterco.com.

     

  • Chicago Mix, a delightful combination of cheese and caramel corn
  • Just The Cheese cheddar cheese popcorn
  • Just The Caramel Corn, a light, lovely touch
  • Caramel Nut Crunch Popcorn with cashews and almonds (they settle on the bottom of the bag, as they’re much heavier than the popcorn)
  • Kettle Corn, the newest flavor, a little bit sweet, a little bit salty
  •  
    Have a popping good time!

    Find more of our favorite snacks in our Gourmet Snacks Section.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Good Karma Non-Dairy Creamers Are Most Welcome

    The makers of Good Karma Lactose-Free Creamers deserve good karma.

    The new, all-natural line of dairy-free, lactose-free, soy-free, kosher-certified creamers is delicious. And most people won’t be able to tell the difference from conventional creamers.

    Vegans and the ever-increasing community of lactose-intolerant people can rejoice. If you’re cutting down on sugar, you can rejoice, too: There’s none in the Original flavor, proving that you can create something excellent without refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

    Also available in French Vanilla and Hazelnut, the creamers arrive just in time for the holiday season. You can serve a flavored creamer that fits in with virtually any food regimen. (Calories/tablespoon: 20 for Original, 30 for flavors.)

     

    A boon for vegans and the lactose-intolerant. Photo courtesy Good Karma Foods.

     

    The creamers are available in supermarkets and in Walmart stores nationwide. The 32-ounce containers are very affordable: a MSRP of $2.64 for Original and $3.37 for the two flavors. The line is certified kosher by OU.

    Learn more at GoodKarmaFoods.com. If you “like” Good Karma on Facebook, you can enter to win a nifty Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Maker, a brewer for serious coffee lovers. We tried it at Williams-Sonoma and would like to win one ourselves.

    The company also supports sustainable agriculture. Good karma, indeed!

      

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: Delicious Homemade Falafel Recipe

     

    If you can’t find a local restaurant selling delicious falafel sandwiches, here’s a video that shows how easy they are to make at home.

    And here’s a falafel recipe along with recipes for your choice of tahini sauce, yogurt sauce or garlic sauce.

    Made from chickpeas and/or fava beans, garlic, parsley, cilantro and seasonings, falafel is a vegan food that is an excellent ambassador for how tasty vegan cuisine can be.

    Falafel is also dairy-free, cholesterol-free, egg-free, sugar-free and potentially gluten-free.

  • Gluten-free. Many recipes add bread crumbs or flour to bind the ingredients and keep the balls from falling apart when fried. To avoid gluten, make gluten-free bread crumbs and substitute potato flour.
  • The Right Fat. If you fry your falafel, canola oil and peanut oil are monounsaturated fats (good for you fats). To cut down on fat calories, you can bake the falafel instead of frying.
     
    Falafel is frequently enjoyed in a flatbread wrap or pita pocket, along with lettuce, tomato, tahini sauce and pickled turnips (also included in our falafel recipe).

    You can also add falafel balls to a green salad or serve them with a yogurt dip or as part of a mezze (appetizer) plate with feta, hummus, babaganoush and/or tabbouleh—delicious dips now available in many supermarkets.

  •    

       

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Lightlife

    A couple of months ago, we received an invitation to two industry events on the same evening.

    One was for the Lightlife brand of vegan “meat” products. The other was to the opening of celebrity chef Todd English’s new restaurant.

    We made plans to stop by and taste Lightlife, a product line we’d never tried, and then head to Todd English’s restaurant. Here’s how the evening turned out:

    We liked the Lightlife foods so much, we stayed the entire evening, happily tasting everything. We never made it to the restaurant. Could there be a better endorsement of how good the Lightlife “vegan meat” products are?

    We are neither vegetarian nor vegan. We eat everything that’s delicious, and nothing that isn’t.

    Eating more vegan foods (products without any animal-based ingredients) supports our personal commitment to eating more sustainably. As much a we love meat, cheese and dairy foods, producing them takes a big toll on the planet.

     

    Lightlife’s vegan Chick’n Corn Chowder
    is enhanced with “bacon.” Both meats are
    made from tempeh, a soy-based protein,
    and are delicious. Photo courtesy Lightlife Foods.

     

    The line is certified vegan and kosher by OK. Read the full review. It also explains the differences between tempeh, tofu and seitan.

    If you’re looking for delicious, prepared vegan food, also see these Top Picks Of The Week:

  • Field Roast Grain Meat Company
  • Vegetarian Plus Asian Entrées

      

  • Comments

    GOURMET GIFT: Fresh-Picked Avocados & Avocado Recipes

    A fresh-picked, healthy gift.

     

    Last month we wrote about California Avocados Direct, a business started by a fourth-generation California farm family.

    The plump Hass avocados are fresh-picked to order and shipped that day, along with a note from the farmer about when they’ll be at peak ripeness (in about 10 days, so there’s plenty of time to plan how to serve them).

    We sent some gift boxes to family members as a Cinco de Mayo surprise, and got such enthusiastic thanks that we’ve added the avocado gifts to our new gourmet gift store, TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com.

    Avocados are a perfect gift for healthy eaters, anyone with allergies (gluten, lactose, etc.), vegetarians and vegans. And since fresh fruit and vegetables are de facto kosher, we’ll be sending them as gifts to kosher friends as well.

     

    Check out these lovely avocado gifts, and think of them as a healthy and nutritious present for Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21st). Shipping is included in the price, and your gift supports family farming in America.

  • Avocado health benefits, how to select avocados and an avocado omelet recipe.
  • Avocado ice cream (a very popular flavor in Mexico).
  • Turmeric-Spiced Chicken Avocado Tacos.
  • Tuna & Avocado Chirashi Sushi.
  •   

    Comments

    TOP PICK: Gourmet Vegan For Everyone

    Delicious Vegan Ginger Chicken. Photo
    courtesy Vegetarian Plus.

     

    If you’re not already a flexitarian, pescatarian or vegetarian, a vegan diet may seem extreme. Give up all animal products, including dairy, eggs and honey?

    If that sounds like too much sacrifice, you should still consider choosing it for a day or two each week. It’s not only healthy, but it’s also painless. Just browse through a vegan cookbook and see all the delicious things you can have – from chili, pasta and stir-fry to hummus, tabbouleh and many global favorites.

    Typically, people adopt the vegan lifestyle for compassionate reasons, wishing no harm to animals.

    But concerned environmentalists have joined in as well, on the grounds that the planet’s livestock are the number one contributor to global warming.*

    *Manure produces methane.

    If you feel compassion for animals or for the planet, the international recipes from Vegetarian Plus frozen entrées are so delicious that eating vegan one or two days a week is a snap—no cooking required (a microwave is not “cooking”).

     

    The Vegan Ginger Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Orange Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala and Lamb Vindaloo are so good that we prefer them to alternatives with real meat.

    Read the full review and promise yourself that you’ll try them. The review also contains a list of vegan celebrities. Would you believe that Mike Tyson is a vegan?

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Quinoa & Whole Grain Brown Rice

    Absolutely delish: a mix of quinoa and brown
    rice, deftly seasoned. Photo courtesy Seeds
    Of Change.

     

    The Uyuni Salt Flats of southeast Bolivia, high in the Andes Mountains, are best known for salt production. But quinoa has been cultivated there by the Incas for some 5,000 years.

    Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-wa or KEE-noo-ah, is an exceptionally nutritious supergrain (in fact, it’s the Quechua/Inca word for “mother grain” or “super grain”).

    Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. A complete protein equivalent to milk, it contains all eight essential amino acids and a portfolio of vitamins and minerals. Everyone should eat more quinoa.

    Our discovery of the week is a shelf-stable (no refrigeration required), 90-second microwavable package of quinoa and whole grain brown rice from Seeds Of Change.

    This whole-grain combo is deftly seasoned with black pepper, garlic, onion, parsley and sea salt. The earthy flavor of quinoa tempered with nutty brown rice is a winner. We consume lots of quinoa and lots of brown rice, and the mixture is magical.

     
    Serve it with anything or enjoy it as a high-protein, whole grain snack.

    Seeds Of Change products are certified organic by the USDA and QAI. The company contributes 1% of net sales to advance the cause of sustainable organic agriculture world wide.

    Print out a $1.00 coupon at SeedsOfChangeFoods.com.

      

    Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Laurel Hill Tortilla Chips

    Super Bowl Sunday is February 6. If you win this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize, you will be well prepared for a football party.

    Two lucky winners will each receive two bags of every flavor of Laurel Hill Tortilla Chips, including:

  • Multigrain
  • Nacho Cheese
  • Olive & Caper
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Sea Salt & Lime
  • Made with all-natural ingredients, no preservatives and a selection of healthy ingredients like chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa and pumpkin, these chips taste as good as they sound. They’re also gluten-free, kosher and vegan. With a thick texture and unusual rectangle shape, Laurel Hill tortilla chips will have you dipping away.

  • Learn more about Laurel Hill Tortilla Chips by checking out our review or by visiting LaurelHillFoods.com.
  •  

    Open the bag of Sea Salt & Lime tortilla chips
    and you’ll smell the natural lime oil flavoring. Photography by Hannah Kaminsky | THE
    NIBBLE.

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Gourmet Snacks Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. Approximate Retail Value Of Each Prize: $30.00. This contest closes on Monday, January 31st at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • Comments

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