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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 Spreads & Dips

RECIPE: Quick Curried Carrot Soup & Carrot Hummus

We all know that carrots are good for us: 1 medium carrot, just 25 calories, provides 203% of our daily value of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant.* Beyond nibbling on a carrot stick or baby carrot, though, we just don’t take enough time to think about what to do with them.

Here are two easy recipes from Grimmway Farms, a California grower of carrots (and most of the baby carrots you come across). Find more carrot recipes at Grimmway.com.

RECIPE: CURRIED CARROT SOUP

This dairy-free recipe is low in calories: just 91 calories per serving.

Ingredients For 6 Servings

 

Curried carrot soup. Photo courtesy Grimmway Farms.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound carrots (about 6 extra large), diced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Optional garnish: yogurt squiggle; fresh basil, chives or parsley
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the diced onions, diced carrots, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and cook for about 3 minutes.

    2. ADD the chicken broth and cover the pot. Continue to cook over medium heat for another 15 minutes.

    3. PURÉE: Carefully remove the cover and purée the soup in batches in a blender. Alternatively, purée the soup in the pot using an immersion blender wand.

    TIPS:

  • To make the yogurt squiggle, put yogurt in a plastic sandwich bag and cut off one of the corners. Squeeze as you would a pastry bag.
  • If you more body in the soup, stir in some Greek yogurt.
  •  

    Nutrition Per Serving: 91 calories; 4 g total fat; 0.6 g saturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol and trans fat; 946 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 5 g protein.

     

    Carrot hummus. Photo courtesy Grimmway
    Farms.

     

    RECIPE: CARROT HUMMUS

    Here’s a spin on conventional hummus, adding even more nutrition to this very healthful dip and spread. The orange color is also just right for Halloween and the harvest season.

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 5 minutes.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup well-packed shredded carrots
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about two lemons)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  •  Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times to coarsely chop. Then let food processor run for about 2 minutes until smooth.

    2. REMOVE hummus from food processor bowl to serving bowl, using a spatula. Serve with carrot and other vegetable chips, baby carrots and other crudités, or pita chips.

    Nutrition Per Serving: 102 calories; 5g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat; 2 g polyunsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 306 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 4 g protein.

    CARROT TRIVIA

    Contrary to popular belief, baby carrots are not grown bite-sized. They are bred long and slender, and then cut into two-inch pieces and lathed to a uniform width.

     
    *Yes, is key to good vision, a healthy immune system, good skin, and general cell growth. It has been studied as a treatment for many other conditions, including cancers, cataracts and HIV. However, the results to date are inconclusive.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Guacamole Day

    Dating back to Mayan times (pre-Aztec), guacamole sauce was made the avocado, onion, chiles, fresh tomato, and salt—a recipe that is still made today.

    The ingredients were mashed in a molcajete (mol-cah-HET-tay), a Mexican pestle carved from volcanic stone, although today granite is an easier-to-clean option.

    The name of the dish comes from the Aztec language, Nahuatl: ahuacamolli (ah-waka-MOLE-ee), which literally translates to “avocado sauce” (ahuacatl is avocado, molli is sauce. In Spanish, guacamole is prounounced huac-ah-MOE-lay.

    Over time, different regions of Mexico began mixing local ingredients, creating thousands of variations. In American cuisine, it is used as a dip and condiment.

    Progressive Mexican restaurants often offer a tasting appetizer of three or four different recipes.

     

    Try guacamole with different garnishes and mix-ins. Photo courtesy Avocados From Mexico.

     

    At Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen and Tequileria in New York City, Chef Richard Sandoval does exactly that, offering options that include:

     

    A regional guacamole recipe from the south
    of Mexico. Photo courtesy Maya | NYC.

     
  • Traditional, made with avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro and serrano chile
  • Baja, with flavors from Baja California—kiwi, jicama, strawberry, mango, mint, arbol chile, lime and sea salt
  • Norteno, with signature ingredients from the North—chicharrón (fried pork rinds), pickled onions, salsa fresca, Serrano ham, queso fresco, roasted corn, lime and sea salt
  • Pacifico, with grilled beet, roasted walnut, queso fresco, diced orange, citrus chipotle salt and lime juice
  • Sur, incorporating flavors from the South including grasshoppers (uh…fried grasshoppers are a popular snack in Mexico and you can buy them online), tomatillo, cotija cheese, onion, cascabel chile, cilantro, lime and sea salt (see photo at left)
  •  
    But perhaps the best way to enjoy National Guacamole Day is to create your own signature recipe. To the mashed avocado, lime juice and salt, add:

     

  • Tomato group: tomato, tomatillo, salsa, sundried tomatoes
  • Onion group: chives, onion, green onion/scallion, pickled onions, red onion, shallots
  • Heat: chili flakes, minced chiles, hot sauce
  • Cheese: blue cheese, cotija, queso fresco, grated cheddar (try jalapeño cheddar) or jack
  • Creamy: crème fraîche, sour cream, yogurt
  • Fruit: dried fruits, mango, melon, papaya, pomegranate arils, strawberry
  • Herbs: basil, bell pepper, cayenne, cilantro, garlic cloves, mint, parsley, sage, tarragon
  • Vegetables: asparagus, corn, jicama, radish/daikon
  • Wild card: bacon, crab meat, minced pork or ham, olives, toasted nuts
  •  
    Check out this fusion recipes from California Avocado Growers for Cajun Guacamole, French Guacamole, Greek Guacamole, Italian guacamole, Japanese guacamole.

    There are 21 pages of guacamole recipes on the website.

    Here’s a Cranberry Guacamole recipe for the holidays.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Eat Well Enjoy Life Hummus

    Hummus made from red lentils, not
    chickpeas. Photo courtesy Eat Well Enjoy
    Life.

     

    The impressive hummus line from Eat Well Enjoy Life is like a horse of a different color: made not from chickpeas, but from black beans, white beans, red lentils, yellow lentils and edamame.

    The result: a whole new way to enjoy hummus. The flavors are exceptional, and the products themselves inspire innovation at home.

    Beyond a dip or sandwich spread, think of edamame wasabi hummus blended with mashed potatoes or deviled egg stuffing, spicy red lentil hummus atop crostini and in baked potatoes, black bean hummus in stuffed peppers, white bean hummus on veggie pizzas.

    There’s also a line of traditional chickpea-based hummus mixed with Greek yogurt. The result: a milder taste, less fat and fewer calories. The verdict: equally delicious.

    The line is cholesterol free, gluten free and certified kosher, and has won Healthy Food Awards in both the Healthy Living and Diabetes Focus categories.

    Read the full review.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Broccoli Salsa & More Ways To Love Broccoli

    A broccoli veggie mix, ready to spoon into a
    baked potato. Photo courtesy Potatopia |
    New York City.

     

    We love broccoli, lightly steamed*, raw with dip, puréed as a side dish and as soup. Perhaps the most famous words ever said about broccoli were from our 41st president, George H.W. Bush, and they were not an endorsement:

    “I do not like broccoli,” said the president at a 1990 news conference. “And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it.* And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli. Now look, this is the last statement I’m going to have on broccoli. There are truckloads of broccoli at this very minute descending on Washington. My family is divided. For the broccoli vote out there: Barbara loves broccoli. She has tried to make me eat it. She eats it all the time herself. So she can go out and meet the caravan of broccoli that’s coming in.”

    Whew! Broccoli farmers of America did more than wince!

     
    That same year, Johns Hopkins University published a cancer study showing that broccoli prevented the development of tumors by 60% and helped reduce the size of the tumor by 75%. But when you’re younger and less health-concerned, what you hear is: “If the president won’t eat broccoli, I don’t have to eat it.”

    If you’re not a fan, chop raw broccoli florets finely and add the broccoli to mixed diced vegetables, salsa, sour cream, Greek yogurt or other base—possibly with garlic, green onions, chives or other flavors you like that reduce the prominence of the broccoli. Then, enjoy it in baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, on fish, chicken, rice, etc. Save the stems to enjoy as crudités, steamed as a side veg or puréed into soup.

    *Perhaps Dorothy Walker Bush overcooked the broccoli. There’s nothing worse than overcooked cruciferous veggies: the same cancer-inhibiting, sulfur-containing compounds (glucosinolates) are released by long heating in the most unpleasant, odoriferous way. We wouldn’t eat overcooked broccoli either.

     

    WHY IS BROCCOLI SO GOOD FOR YOU?

    The Brassicaceae family of vegetables (arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, cress, daikon, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard, radish, rapeseed, rutabaga and turnip) contain powerful antioxidants that prevent the build-up of destructive, disease-engendering free radicals.

    Studies show that broccoli and its cruciferous cousins aid with alkalinization (making the body less acidic), bone health, cancer prevention, cholesterol reduction, detoxification (neutralization and elimination of unwanted contaminants), digestion (high in fiber), heart health, lowering blood sugar, reducing allergy reactions and inflammation, and much more. Plus, all that fiber helps to curve overeating.

    Can you name a food that does more for you?

    Broccoli is one of the most “potent” members of the family. So if you like it, eat more. If you’re not a fan, try:

     

    Have fun with broccoli, shown here in both purple and conventional green. The green pointy veggie is Romanesco broccoli, also called Roman cauliflower. Check farmers markets and specialty produce stores for these beauties. Photo courtesy The Fat Radish | New York City.

     

    And never, ever overcook it (see the footnote above). But if you do, here are two remedies we found online:

  • Add other flavors. Toss the broccoli with olive oil, garlic and chopped olives, capers, or whatever you have on hand.
  • Make broccoli soup. Per head of cooked broccoli, cook some carrots, about 1/4 the volume of the broccoli. Sauté a medium onion with fresh thyme and 3 large garlic cloves; use butter, olive oil or a mix. In a separate pot, add 2 cups of chicken broth and 3/4 cup of any milk or half-and-half. Add some flour to thicken. Simmer, then add in the cooked broccoli and carrots. Season with salt and pepper to taste; simmer as needed and puréed with an immersion blender. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar or Gruyère (or, you can stir the cheese into the soup).
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Roasted Corn Guacamole

    Even if you think your guacamole recipe is the best, there are so many guac lovers tweaking the basic recipe that you need to keep tasting!

    Now that it’s corn season, Top Chef Master and America’s best-known master of Mexican cuisine, Chef Rick Bayless, has put a new spin on guacamole. His special ingredients: grilled corn, from the season’s bounty, and poblano chile.

    Chef Bayless created this tasty recipe for AvocadosFromMexico.com, which has as many recipes with avocado as your heart could desire.

    You can roast the corn in the oven instead of grilling it.

    GRILLED CORN AND POBLANO GUACAMOLE

    Ingredients

  • 2 small ears fresh corn, shucked
  • 1 small poblano chile
  • 8 ounces tomatillos, husked (about 4 large)
  •  

    Add roasted corn and poblano chile to your guacamole. Photo courtesy Avocados From Mexico.

  • 3 avocados from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT gas grill to medium or prepare a charcoal grill. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut kernels from the cob; remove to a large bowl.

    2. GRILL the chile and tomatillos, turning until skins are nicely charred, about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin from the poblanos with your fingers. Remove stem, core and seeds; chop chile and remove to the bowl.

    3. CHOP the tomatillos finely, capturing the juices, and add to the bowl. Add avocado, onion, cilantro and salt. Coarsely mash avocado and gently stir to combine all ingredients.
     
    LOVE AVOCADO?

    Check out the history of the avocado.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Bacon Guacamole

    A double hit: bacon guacamole. Photo
    courtesy />AvocadoCentral.com.

     

    Looking for something special to serve on Father’s Day? Try this Bacon Guacamole Recipe, created by “Sam the Cooking Guy” for Avocado Central. The recipe is pretty simple; so if you prefer, you can just add crumbled bacon to your own guacamole recipe.

    Large Hass avocados are recommended for this recipe, about 8 ounces each. If using smaller or larger size avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.

    The prep time is just 15 minutes.

    BACON GUACAMOLE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded and peeled
  • 1/2 cup chunky red salsa
  • 1 ounce bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Chips or tortillas
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE avocadoes in a bowl. Mash with the back of a fork.

    2. ADD salsa, bacon and lime juice. Mix well and serve with chips or soft tortillas.

    A Bloody Mary sounds great with bacon guacamole!

    FIND MORE GUACAMOLE RECIPES AT AVOCADOCENTRAL.COM.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Tribe Everything Hummus

    If you like an everything bagel, it now has a worthy companion: an “everything” combination of seasonings atop a container of hummus. “Everything” is the first flavor in the new line of Tribe Hummus Limited Batch Editions.

    Tribe Everything includes roasted sesame seeds, minced garlic and onion, poppy seeds and some teeny red bits that may be bell pepper.

    The company tested dozens of different seed combinations and roasting types, seeking the perfect mix of smooth and crunchy textures. The result delivers a big pop of flavor; we could only wish for twice as much topping.

    So after we had polished off all the topping, we sprinkled more of the same spices from our cabinet on the remaining hummus. It’s a trick we’ll use again and again on plain hummus.

    Tribe’s Everything Hummus will be on shelves through August, followed by the next to-be-named Limited Batch flavor.

     

    The first of Tribe‘s Limited Batch Hummus has “everything.” Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Hummus Is Hot

    Have you noticed the explosion of hummus at the grocer’s? With a steady stream of new consumers coming into the fold and current consumers buying more, hummus is no longer an exotic product. While national household penetration remains relatively low at around 20%, it is high among those seeking healthier ingredients and snacks.

    You can use hummus as a dip, a spread, a condiment or a side. With the broad selection of flavored hummus available, it never gets boring. And it couldn’t be easier to take the top off of the container and set it in front of family and guests.

  • Snacks. For your next healthy snack, serve hummus with crudités or whole wheat pretzels. Regular pretzels or pita chips are fine, but whole grains are a slam dunk.
  • Appetizers and Mains. Create your own mezze plate (Middle Eastern mixed appetizers) with tabbouleh, baba ganoush, kalamata olives, feta cheese, taramosalata and pepperoncini—with a side of warn pita wedges. You can pick up most of these ingredients in the same refrigerator case as the hummus. It’s one of our favorite dishes for both an appetizer and a light meal.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Salsa

    You can see the many different types of salsa in our Salsa Glossary. It’s easy to make all of them at home, and fresh, homemade salsa is delicious (and nutritious and very low in calories).

    There are two basic styles of salsa: raw salsa (salsa cruda or salsa fresca, which includes pico de gallo) and cooked salsa. All shelf-stable salsas in a jar are cooked to pasteurize the ingredients.

  • Salsa cruda is crunchy with bright flavor.
  • Cooked salsa has deeper, sweeter flavors from roasting the tomatoes, as well as smoky flavors if chipotles (smoked jalapeños) are used.
  •  
    BASIC SALSA INGREDIENTS

  • Tomato Or Other Fruit:* Tomato is the base for red salsa, tomatillos for green salsa. But you can ditch them altogether and make a salsa from grapefruits, mangoes, melons, nectarines, peaches, plums, pineapples, strawberries or other fruit. Why not make signature salsas each season from seasonal fruits?
  •  

    Salsa is great with far more than Tex-Mex foods. Here, grapefruit salsa tops a baked potato. Photo courtesy TexaSweet.

     

  • Herb: Cilantro is the classic, but if you don’t like it use something else—basil, mint, parsley or oregano for starters. If you’re a garlic fan, mince and toss in cloves to taste.
  • Chile: Jalapeño is traditional, but you can use any chile, hotter or less hot than the jalapeño (check out the types of chiles in our Chile Glossary).
  • Seasonings: Salsa is a balance of salty, savory, sour/tart, spicy and sometimes sweet flavors. The cilantro or other herb is the savory; lime juice or vinegar is the sour/tart; for spicy the hot chile (you can substitute hot sauce); and of course, a pinch of salt. We are not fans of sugar except in fruit salsa, if the fruit doesn’t have enough natural sweetness.
  • Extras: Black beans, bell pepper, corn kernels, jicama and radish are popular additions to salsa. But feel free to add lentils, olives, zucchini or just about anything that appeals to you.
  •  

    Salsa fresca made with watermelon instead
    of tomatoes. Photo courtesy National
    Watermelon Promotion Board.

     

    GET READY TO DICE

    Some people make salsa in a food processor to save time, but it produces a purée style. We prefer hand-chopping for a chunky salsa. It has a better mouthfeel and looks more appealing.

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 10 minutes

    BASIC SALSA FRESCA RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups seeded, chopped tomatoes (6-7 medium tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX all ingredients thoroughly.

    2. REFRIGERATE overnight or for several hours to let flavors blend.

     

    TRY THESE SALSA RECIPES

  • Cherry Salsa
  • Global Salsa Recipes
  • Peach, Plum & Nectarine Salsa
  • Pineapple Salsa Recipe
  • Strawberry Salsa
  • Watermelon Salsa
  •  

    THE HISTORY OF SALSA

    *Here’s why the tomato is a fruit.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Colorful Beet Dip

    A colorful and yummy beet dip. Photo
    courtesy Dole.com.

     

    We love beets in every form: baked, Harvard, pickled, beet ravioli, steamed beats, soup (borscht is Russian beet soup), in gourmet appetizer recipes, in green salads, with goat cheese and endive…even beet ice cream (substitute beets in a strawberry ice cream recipe) and beet cake (food trivia: the original—and best—red velvet cake recipes got their red hue from beets, not food color).

    You can even enjoy beet juice in cocktails: a beet Martini or this beet Mojito, for example.

    Now, here’s another way to enjoy beets: as a dip with crudités or a bread spread. The recipe is courtesy Dole Foods.

    It’s a beautiful color for Easter or any other festive occasion.

     

     

    BEET DIP & SPREAD

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound red beets (1 large), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh spinach
  • 8 ounces nonfat cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons snipped chives
  •  

    Beet dip with cucumber ribbons on skewers. Photo courtesy Dole.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PULSE beets in bowl or food processor wuth scallion and spinach, until finely chopped.

    2. ADD cream cheese, lemon juice and salt, and process until well-blended, leaving some texture in dip. Transfer to bowl and stir in chives.

    3. SERVE as a dip with crudités or as a spread on toasted french bread.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Avocado Salsa For St. Patrick’s Day

    Avocado fans are happy to enjoy avocado on any day of the year. But if you’re looking to add some green to your St. Patrick’s Day meals, look no further than this “avocado topper” from the Hass Avocado Board.

    Try these salsa-like toppings for burgers, eggs or grilled fish; toss them into wraps; garnish rice or potatoes. The recipes, courtesy of AvocadoCentral.com, make seven half-cup servings.

    AVOCADO TOPPER RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup seeded, diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon country-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  

    Hold the ketchup: Garnish your burger with this avocado topper. Photo courtesy Hass Avocado Board.

  • 2 large (8 ounces) ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally until well browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Allow to cool.

    2. In a large bowl, COMBINE the sautéed onion and garlic with the tomato, cheese, pickle relish, basil, mustard, salt and pepper. Gently toss in the avocados.

     

    Try a sweet mango topper on chicken or fish. Photo courtesy Avocados From Mexico.

     

    For a bit of sweetness, try this variation, which is especially delicious over grilled chicken or fish.

    AVOCADO MANGO TOPPER

    Ingredients

  • 2 large (u ounces), ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup seeded, diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  

    Preparation
    1. COMBINE in a medium bowl the, mango, tomato, cilantro, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, salt, and pepper.

    2. ADD avocado and toss gently.

    For more avocado recipes, visit AvocadoCentral.com.

      

    Comments

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