THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for Pet Food

PRODUCT: Freshpet For Cats & Dogs

Before deli departments were fully incorporated into our nation’s supermarkets, many larger cities had small, independent delicatessens, typically patronized by immigrants who sought a taste of the homeland. These delis predominantly served cold cuts, typically on display in loaf or sausage form, to be sliced and served cold.

For instance, bologna, now considered quintessentially American and a kid favorite, has ties to Bologna, Italy where mortadella is a beloved sausage meat. Liverwurst? That’s an Americanized version of German leberwurst, or liver sausage, another kid favorite.

We recently discovered that one savvy food company, Freshpet, is catering to the other “kid” in the family: the beloved dog or cat.


Freshpet offers all-natural pet food made from scratch with the freshest ingredients; which is why their products, including their loaf styled Freshpet Select, are only sold in a special pet refrigerated section at supermarkets and pet stores.

Ingredients are sourced from the U.S., which delivers a much safer product for those who remember pet-threatening tainted grains from China and other dangerous vittles from countries less vigilant about food monitoring.

Since the fresh ingredients are domestic, including veggies grown at local farms, the packaging features a small American flag.

The Freshpet product line is varied to meet all picky tastes: Freshpet Select Stews, varied fresh meats in resealable bags to mix in with other food, and tasty rewards such as Dog Nation Treats, Dog Joy Treats, among other choices.

Freshpet prepares its varied and full product line in the company’s own kitchens. Their chicken and beef are gently cooked at low temperatures, which maximize nutrient retention including vital amino acids, the basic building blocks that help your pet thrive.

Equally important: there are no preservatives, almost unheard of in the billion-dollar pet food industry. Your pet enjoys the same high-quality ingredients that you use to cook a well-balanced, delicious meal.

How did we manage to become familiar with Freshpet? We worried about our ailing dachshund, Liesel. Under the weather, paralyzed from a back injury and heavily sedated, Liesel had lost her appetite.

The dog’s vet advised that home-cooked “human” meals were only a short-term solution, because only a high-quality dog food offers those crucial, canine- specific nutrients necessary for healing and eventual recovery. Human food just doesn’t have the nutrient mix for sustaining a dog’s health.


Freshpet Beef Recipe
[1] Freshpet Chunky Beef Recipe.

Freshpet Tender Chicken
[2] Freshpet Tender Chicken Recipe.

Freshpet Roasted Meals

[3] Freshpet Select Roasted Meals Chicken with Carrots & Spinach.(photos courtesy Freshpet).

Freshpet Chunky Beef Recipe did the trick for little Liesel! Equally appealing were the Tender Chicken and Chunky Chicken & Turkey Recipes. The dog’s appetite kicked in, and after two months of strict confinement, she is walking again, with the renewed energy of a puppy. She’s cheery and bright. True story. No baloney.

For more information visit and sign up for

—E. B. Wyer



TIP OF THE DAY: Fun With Radishes

Low in calories, high in crunch, often with a hot pepper spiciness, radishes (Raphanus sativus) can be a fun food. They’re nutritious*, too.

If you’re old enough, you may remember the time when radish “roses” were almost as common a plate garnish a sprig of parsley. You sliced the rose in a certain way (or used a radish cutter), then dropped the radish into cold water, where the slices opened up into “petals.” As a child, we ate them petal by petal.

There are numerous varieties of radish beyond the red globe “supermarket radish” (Burpee alone sells 30 varieties). They have different levels of heat-spiciness, mostly depending on growing conditions: soil, water, hot vs. cold weather, early vs. late harvest and other factors. Some people like them hot, others not so much. Unfortunately, you have to sample one to know what you’ve got.



Add radish matchsticks for crunch and spice. Photo courtesy Duda Farm Fresh Foods.

The wild radish may have originated somewhere in southeast Asia, and developed by farmers in central Asia, China and India. Radishes enter the written record in the third century B.C.E. and appear in Greek and Roman texts in the 1st century C.E., which describe small, large, round, long, mild and sharp varieties.

Burpee currently sells 30 varieties of differing shapes, sizes and colors. Our favorite is the watermelon radish: When sliced, it resembles a slice of watermelon. Runner up: Mardi Gras radishes, a mix of seeds that yield black, purple, white and yellow radishes. And we love Candy Stripe radishes—concentric circles of red and white—but can never find them.
*Radishes are rich in folic acid, potassium and vitamin C.

Appetizer & Snack

  • Crostini or tea sandwiches. For crostini, toast slices of baguette and top with sweet butter or pesto, thinly-sliced radish, a bit of cress or other green, and a pinch of sea salt. For tea sandwiches, trim the crusts from un-toasted white or whole wheat bread.
  • Raw, with butter and sea salt. It’s a popular dish in France. If you can find longer-shape radishes, cut a slice lengthwise, drop into cold water to open a channel, and pipe in softened butter. Otherwise, slice round radishes in half horizontally, butter the bottom half and serve like poppers.
  • Pickled. Any type of radish can be quickly and easily pickled, for snacking, sandwiches, garnish, etc. Here’s the recipe.
  • With ricotta. Put together a plate of fresh radishes and a dish of mild ricotta drizzled with olive oil. We enjoy this as a weekend breakfast with crusty rustic bread.
  • Crudités and dip! In decades past, the predecessor of the crudité plate was the relish tray, with celery, radishes and olives.


    Three varieties available from Duda Fresh Farm Foods: whole with ends trimmed, crinkle-cut coins and matchsticks. Photo courtesy Duda.


    Lunch & Dinner

  • Julienned. Toss radish strips into salads, scrambled eggs, rice and grains and anything that needs some color and crunch. Duda Farm Fresh Foods sells radishes already trimmed, sliced into matchsticks and coins (see photo).
  • Boiled or steamed. Top with a cheese sauce, Eastern European-style.
  • Garnishes: Sandwiches (a must on Vietnamese bánh mì), burgers, tacos, soups, sides.
  • Salads: In addition to green salads, see the Radish Salad recipe below.
  • Roasted or braised: A great solution to deal with radishes that are too hot. The heat of the oven removes much of the heat from the radishes, making them sweet and buttery. If you don’t want to turn on the oven, braise on the stove top in butter until tender.
  • More: Kabobs, chilled radish soup and as many options as you can research or invent.

  • Cocktail garnish: notch a radish or a thick slice on the rim of a Bloody Mary or Martini.

    This recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen is a Ukranian influence.

    The sour cream dressing helps to neutralizes the pungency of the radishes. Easy to make, prep time is just 10 minutes. It goes very nicely with grilled meats and anyplace you’d serve cole slaw.

    Ingredients For 6 Side Servings

  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or whole grain mustard (more to taste)
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste (substitute half garlic salt for a touch of garlic flavor)
  • Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill (more to taste)

    1. COMBINE the cucumbers, radishes, bell pepper and green onion in a medium salad bowl

    2. COMBINE the sour cream, dill and salt in a small bowl.

    3. STIR the sour cream dressing into the salad just before serving.

    If the radish leaves are fresh and sprightly, consider leaving them on. They’re edible and pretty.

    In fact, the leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant. They have a very mild flavor, like lettuce.


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    PRODUCT: Herb Tea For Dogs

    January is National Tea Month. How about enjoying a cup with your canine companion?

    But don’t serve Fido a cup of Earl Grey or Green Jasmine: Caffeine isn’t good for dogs. California Tea House consulted with numerous veterinarians and researched herbal treatments for canines in order to develop a perfect blend for canines. It happens to be the (human) tea company’s most popular product!

    Named after the company’s favorite canine, Machu’s Blend tea for dogs is a once-a-day herbal tea that:

  • Promotes healthy skin and coat.
  • Lowers stress.
  • Aids digestion of dry dog food, easing the stomach and reducing gas.
  • Prevents motion sickness caused by car rides.
  • Prevents bloat.
  • Reduces epileptic seizures in affected dogs.

    An herbal tea blend developed just for dogs. Photo courtesy California Tea Housel



    Machu’s Blend tea for dogs combines chamomile, calendula (marigold), fennel seed, ginger root and skullcap (a member of the mint family).

    Brew a half teaspoon in a cup of water, steep for 1-2 minutes and allow the tea to completely cool (you can add ice). Then, you and Fido are ready to curl up on the sofa with a good book or your favorite DVD: perhaps a Beverly Hills Chihuahua marathon?

    Get your Machu’s Blend—and plenty of blends for humans—at


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    PRODUCT: Gourmet Dog Food

    Pheasant, buffalo, duck, rabbit and
    venison…for dogs. Photo courtesy Evanger’s.


    It’s National Roast Pheasant Day. What did we come across when doing some research?

    Canned pheasant for dogs!

    Evanger’s Grain Free 100% Pheasant Canned Dog Food is made with only one ingredient: pheasant, in some pheasant broth.

    The rich food is recommended as a mixed/topper. Not only is it gourmet, but it’s also great for pets with food allergies and sick dogs/fussy eaters.

    And that’s not all: Canine connoisseurs can enjoy buffalo (more accurately, bison—here’s the difference), duck, rabbit and venison.

    While we don’t write about products we haven’t tasted, this is the exception.

    Treat your pup with a can or two. While you’re at it, get a smoked pheasant—for yourself and any other humans you’d like to treat.



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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pet Gourmet


    Keep gourmet pet treats in the pantry for animal guests. Go to a pet store and buy something special.Their human companions will be extra-appreciative that you’ve thought to provide more than an everyday Milk Bone for your animal visitor.

    • See our favorite animal treats in THE NIBBLE’s Dog & Cat Treats Section.

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