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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

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

    TIP OF THE DAY: Asian Peanut Sauce

    For both Asian- and Western-style salads,
    peanut sauce is a delicious dressing. Photo
    courtesy National Almond Board.

     

    If you enjoy a plate of Asian sesame noodles, that yummy, peanut butter-based sauce is equally versatile as a:

  • Dip for raw vegetables (crudités)
  • Grilled chicken, fish or tofu sauce or dip for
    skewers
  • Pasta sauce
  • Rice and grains sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Sandwich and wrap condiment
  • Steamed or grilled vegetable sauce
  •  
    While peanut butter, coconut milk or cream, garlic and soy sauce are common to all recipes, there is no one version of peanut sauce. Every region has its own signature style.

    For example, Indonesian peanut sauce uses lemongrass, tamarind juice and miso; Thai peanut sauce uses lime juice and cilantro.

     

    You can make a double batch and keep it tightly sealed in the fridge, ready to add flavor to so many different dishes. It’s a quick and nutritious snack with baby carrots or hard-cooked eggs, and delicious with leftovers (one of our favorites: mix with leftover rice; add some peas, chopped green onions and diced bell pepper).

     

    ASIAN PEANUT SAUCE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce†
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  •  

    Grilled fish is delicious with peanut sauce. Photo courtesy Pollen restaurant.

     

    *For more heat and colorful flecks, add red chili flakes to taste.

    †If you don’t want to buy fish sauce just for this recipe, substitute Worcestershire sauce. If you think you’ll be making peanut sauce regularly, invest in the fish sauce.
     
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together ingredients, except cilantro, in a small bowl.

    2. MIX in cilantro just before serving.

    3. FOR A THINNER SAUCE OR DIP, dilute with water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Nonfat Cucumber Yogurt Dip

    A few hours ago, we were discouraged to hear one of the anchor team members on our favorite morning show opine that Super Bowl foods “should be the foods we love to eat, not vegetables.” She was referring to the fatty, high-calorie usual suspects.

    Fortunately, another team member jumped in in support of the veggies.

    We admire people who watch what they eat, and we always have a crudités (raw vegetables) platter and a fruit platter or fruit salad as part of any party buffet. We’re also personally grateful to have something better to nibble on than cholesterol.

    The morning show discord inspired us to publish this recipe for a tasty, nontfat cucumber dip, adapted from a recipe provided by the Australian Institute Of Sport.

    TIP: Make this dip at least two hours before serving to allow the flavors to develop. It can be made a day in advance.

     

    Nonfat cucumber dip: Serve it with crudites or as a sauce. Photo courtesy Australian Institute Of Sport.

     

    CUCUMBER YOGURT DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 seedless cucumbers
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • Optional: salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional heat: chili flakes or a dash of hot sauce
  •  
    PREPARATION

    1. PEEL cucumbers and cut in half lengthways. If not a seedless variety, use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds.

    2. GRATE the flesh, and place in a bowl with dill, garlic, yogurt and mint. Stir to combine and serve chilled. Season with freshly ground black pepper and garnish with fresh dill, if desired.

    Makes about 1½ cups.

    MORE USES FOR CUCUMBER DIP

  • Dip: For pretzels, potato chips, pita chips and other snacks
  • Layered or Mezze: In a layered dip or on a mezze plate with babaganoush,hummus, tabbouleh and other ingredients (see layered dip recipe)
  • Garnish: On baked potatoes, rice and other grains, cooked vegetables
  • Sauce: On grilled or poached fish or seafood, including shrimp cocktail
  •  
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE DIP RECIPES.
      

    Comments

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