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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 Rice/Beans/Grains/Seeds

ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPE: Barley “Risotto” Stuffed Cabbage

Risotto is made from rice, but you can cook other grains in a similar fashion. Here, barley, which grows well in the northern Irish climate, gets the Italian risotto treatment. To add an Irish touch, the barley risotto is used as a filling for stuffed cabbage.

The pearl barley used in this recipe has had its outer bran and husk removed, leaving a small white “pearl” of endosperm. Like white rice, pearl barley is not a whole grain.

This recipe, which serves four, is from Justin O’Connor, Executive Chef at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. It will be served at the restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day.

BARLEY RISOTTO STUFFED CABBAGE RECIPE

Ingredients For Stuffed Cabbage

  • 8 ounces pearl barley
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable stock
  • 7 ounces cream
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large leaves of Savoy* cabbage
  •  

    Cabbage stuffed with barley risotto. Photo courtesy Guinness.

     

    *Savoy cabbage has a lovely crinkled skin. If you can’t find it, you can substitute conventional cabbage.

    Ingredients For The Tomato Sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 28 ounces (800g) chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 ounces (75g) tomato purée
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (200ml) vegetable stock
  •  
    Tomato Sauce Preparation

    1. Sweat. In a pan, sweat onion and garlic with olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Do not allow them to brown.

    2. Combine. Add the chopped tomato and tomato purée.

    3. Add. Add vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper.

    4. Cook. Cook over low heat for 7-8 minutes. Blend and serve.

    Stuffed Cabbage Preparation

    1. Blanch. Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes and cool in ice water.

    2. Sweat. In a pot, sweat the onion, mushroom and garlic with a little olive oil for 4 or 5 minutes, without turning brown.

    3. Add. Pour in the stock, barley and thyme. Cover with a lid and slow cook till barley is tender, adding more stock if needed. When barley is cooked, add the cream and Parmesan cheese and cook out for 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste.

    4. Stuff. Line 4 small teacups, acting as molds, with plastic wrap. Line each cup with a drained cabbage leaf, leaving some of the cabbage leaf extending over the edge. Fill the cups with the cooked barley risotto and cover with the overhanging cabbage. Use the plastic wrap to remove the stuffed cabbage from the cup. Twist the plastic wrap around the cabbage/risotto to form a ball.

    5. Serve. Add tomato sauce to the bottom of each dish; serve stuffed cabbage in the center. Serve while hot or reheat in the microwave.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT UPDATE: New Varieties Of Village Harvest Whole Grains

    Last spring, one of our Top Picks Of The Week was Village Harvest, absolutely delicious pre-cooked and flash-frozen whole grains that are ready to eat after a minute in the microwave.

    This brilliant line addresses the need to eat more whole grains while removing the time challenge of cooking them. All you need to do is open the package and put the grains in a microwave-safe bowl.

    It’s just that simple, and we could eat them every day. The only challenge is finding them: We have to get to a Whole Foods Market. Retailers, please take note! (Here’s a store locator.)

    The line originally included Brown Rice; Brown, Red, Wild Rice Medley; Quinoa; “Un” Fried Brown Rice; and Spicy Thai Brown Rice.

    The varieties have been tweaked, and the expanded line now includes:

     

    Serve whole grains in a lettuce cup.
    Photo courtesy Village Harvest.

     

    Open bag, heat in microwave: In one minute
    you have delicious whole grains. Photo
    courtesy Village Harvest.

     
  • Brown, Red & Wild Rice
  • Corn & Black Bean Creations (with brown rice and wild rice)
  • Cranberries & Almond Creations (with barley, quinoa and wheatberries)
  • Farro & Red Rice
  • Golden Quinoa
  • Red Quinoa & Brown Rice
  • Wheatberry & Barley
  •  
    The company also features dozens of recipes that incorporate the quick-cooking grains.

    We “wholly” recommend these delicious grains and promise you’ll love the discovery.

     

    Here’s our original review.

    How Many Types Of Grains Have You Had?

    Check out the different types of rice and a broader view of the different types of grains.

      

    Comments

    CHINESE NEW YEAR: Ginger Fried Rice Recipe From Jean-Georges Vongerichten

    The Year of the Dragon is considered the luckiest year in the Chinese Zodiac.

    And it began yesterday, when millions of Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese and other Asians rang in the New Year with fireworks, feasts and family gatherings.

    We considered ourselves lucky with a seat at a delicious dinner at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market restaurant in New York City.

    We left with this recipe for Jean-Georges’ signature Ginger Fried Rice. It was on the menu when he opened the restaurant in 2004 (Year Of The Monkey), and has remained a popular dish to this day.

    Made with leftover jasmine rice, fried egg, leeks and fresh ginger, this crowd pleaser is a delicious side with almost anything. It’s also equally enjoyable as a cold or warm rice salad with strips or cubes of chicken or other meat, shrimp, scallops or other seafood.

    Plan ahead when you make the rice, and make enough protein for leftovers to go with the Ginger Fried Rice.

     

    Now you don’t have to go to Spice Market to
    enjoy the Ginger Fried Rice. Photo courtesy
    Spice Market.

     

    GINGER FRIED RICE RECIPE FROM SPICE MARKET NEW YORK

    Yield: 4 servings

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • Salt
  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks—white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
  • 4 cups day-old cooked rice, preferably jasmine rice, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.

    2. Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons oil and leeks. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until very tender but not browned. Season lightly with salt.

    3. Raise heat to medium and add rice. Cook, stirring well, until heated through. Season to taste with salt.

    4. In a nonstick skillet, fry eggs in remaining oil, sunny-side-up, until edges are set but yolk is still runny.

    5. Divide rice among four dishes. Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger over everything and serve.
     
    HOW MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF RICE HAVE YOU TRIED?

    Check out our Rice Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: SooFoo Whole Grains & Legumes

    Sandwiched between holiday feasting and Valentine’s Day sweets, January is “Healthy Food Month” at THE NIBBLE. Our first few Top Picks of the year are foods that are delicious and healthy, to start the year on America’s second most popular New Year’s resolution: lose weight/eat healthier (first on the list is better money management).

    SooFoo, a blend of nine* whole grains and legumes, was invented by the person who created SKYY vodka. He blended it at home for his own healthy eating plan, and found many ways to use the versatile food:

  • As a nutritious substitute for white rice—in jambalaya, for example
  • As a substitute for other grains—for example, SooFoo tabbouleh, or mixed with ground turkey for healthy sloppy joes
  • Baked in a casserole
  • In green salads and vegetable salads
  • In pilaf and other rice dishes
  • In soups
  • With cooked greens (chard, collards, kale, mustard greens)
  •  

    SooFoo can be used in a multitude of recipes.
    Here, it’s mixed with some fresh veggies to create a salad. Photo courtesy SooFoo.

  • With international flavors (Asian, Mediterranean, Southwestern, etc.)
  • With mushrooms
  • With pesto or tomato sauce
  •  
    Soon, friends and family who tasted the all-natural, low-fat, sodium- and cholesterol-free blend encouraged him to market it. The name, SooFoo, is a contraction of “super good food.”

    SooFoo proves that “better for you” can taste better, too. Add it to your meal plan for variety, texture and flavor.

    Do You Know Your Legumes?
    Check out the different types of grains and legumes in our Beans & Grains Glossary.

    *Barley, black lentils, brown lentils, brown rice, buckwheat, green lentils, oats, rye berries and wheat berries.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: The Amazing Rice Cube

    From hors d’oeuvre to sushi to snacks,
    Rice Cube turns out dazzling food in minutes.

     

    Faster than most recipes. More powerful than many kitchen utensils. Able to turn out dazzling foods in a single bound.

    It’s our latest super gadget find, the Rice Cube.

    This handy gadget will help you turn out impressive foods for just about any purpose—from hors d’oeuvre and sides to snacks and desserts.

    And it’s so easy, even the kids can help out, or create their own kid-flavored snacks: carrots and peas rice cubes, peanut butter and raisin rice cubes…the combinations are infinite, and include everything from BBQ pork to smoked salmon to a “rice pudding” cube.

    Rice Cube also helps you make sushi at home without having to master the rolling mat.

    Check out this amazing little gadget.

    Good things come in small packages. Consider the Rice Cube for holiday gifts for friends who love to cook and entertain.

    Perhaps your first social event of the new year can be a cube-off competition.

     

    Rice Cube can “cube” other foods, as well. Read the full review.

    RICE 101

    There’s more to rice than “white” and “brown.” Take a look at our glamorous Rice Glossary for gourmet rices that are begging to be cubed.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Eat More Barley

    Chilled barley salad is a healthful summer
    dish. Photo courtesy Zabars.com.

     

    Barley evokes winter and hearty soups, but it’s a year-round food.

    It’s extremely healthful (details below). And it’s a whole grain, part of the group of cereals recommended by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (at least 3 servings of whole-grain foods per day).

    It’s extremely high in fiber. A cup of oatmeal: 3.98 grams. A cup of barley: 13.6 grams of your DV of 48 grams of whole grain.

    Barley is as versatile as any cereal grain (corn, rice and wheat, for example). It has a rich, nutty flavor and a chewy consistency (like pasta).

    You can substitute barley for rice, potatoes or other starch as a side with dinner. Or enjoy a chilled barley salad with lunch or dinner.

    Try this barley salad recipe, with toasted pine nuts, dried cherries and goat cheese. It can be served at room temperature, chilled or warm.

     

    For maximum nutrition, select whole or hull barley (with the bran intact). The prettier pearled or hull-less barley has its outer bran and husk removed, leaving only a small white “pearl” of endosperm.

    See the recipe for the health benefits of barley.

      

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: Homemade Baked Beans Recipe

     

    July is National Baked Bean Month.

    If you’ve only eaten baked beans from a can, it’s time to whip up some homemade baked beans in your oven or slow cooker. Vive la différence!

    All you need are navy beans and pantry basics like baking soda, brown sugar, dry mustard and molasses. Soak the beans overnight to remove the indigestible complex sugars from the outer coating (oligosaccharides) that cause bloating and gas.

    Enjoy your baked beans with franks or burgers, anything off the grill, on toast for breakfast or lunch, as a side with sandwiches or Southern-style, with a side of cornbread.

    Once you see how easy it is, you can bring the baked beans to cookouts and potlucks—to great acclaim from all the others who’ve only had canned baked beans.

    Recipe Tips

  • You can cut the brown sugar in the recipe by half. You’ll still get plenty of sweetness from two tablespoons, plus the tablespoon of ketchup.
  • Instead of the sausage used in the recipe (or in addition to it), add bacon. Prior to putting the beans into the oven, scatter the top with one-inch strips cut from four pieces of raw bacon. If you don’t want the extra bacon fat, pan-fry pieces of crispy bacon, break them into one-inch chunks and top the beans when they emerge from the oven.
  •  
    Beans are a nutritious, fiber-packed, filling, inexpensive, crowd-pleasing food.

  • Learn about bean nutrition.
  • See the different types of beans in our Bean Glossary.
  •    

       

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: How To Soak Dried Beans

     

    Too many people refrain from cooking delicious, nutritious dried beans because the preparation—soaking the beans—seems like too much trouble.

    It couldn’t be easier! And you may not have to soak them overnight: The fresher the beans, the more moisture they retain so less soaking is required.

    As you’ll see in this video, all you need to do is:

    1. The video is missing an important first step: Rinse the beans in a collander under cold running water.
    2. Sort through the beans and pick out any broken ones, plus extraneous matter such as the occasional pebble.
    3. Place the beans in a bowl or pot to soak: 2 cups cold water per one cup beans.
    4. When the beans grow larger in size and can be chewed, strain the beans from the water. You’re ready to cook!

    Learn your bean types in our Bean Glossary.

    FOOD TRIVIA: Lima beans have been cultivated in Peru since 6000 B.C.E. Their common name comes from Lima, Peru’s capital city. That makes the correct pronounciation LEE-mah beans, not LYE-muh beans. But who’s going to correct the American public?.

       

       

    Comments

    IN SEASON: Fresh Morel Mushrooms

    Exotic, delicious wild morels are a fleeting spring
    treat. Photo by Yin Yang | IST.

     

    While dried morel mushrooms are available year round—and are a treasured ingredient in soups, stews and sauces—this is fresh morel season.

    These incredibly flavorful gifts of nature, with their earthy and woodsy aroma and flavor, have a distinctive look: a honeycombed, hollow, cone-shaped cap atop a ’shroom that ranges in size from 2 to 4 inches high. Colors vary from blonde, grey or tan to an extremely dark brown.

    Morels are gathered by hand in the woods, and brought to specialty markets. Look for the #1 grade, meaning that each mushroom is a whole, young specimen with a white stem.

    FOOD TRIVIA: Morels are one of the first species to colonize forests after a fire, which may explain the intense earthy, smoky and nutty flavors that characterize their taste.

  • Everything you want to know about morels.
  • Morel recipes.
  • Meet the whole mushroom family in our Mushroom Glossary.
  •  

     

    Thanks to MarxFoods.com for inspiring this post.

      

    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

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