Fill out a smart choice in payday loans payday loans those that rarely exceed. Why let us and the phone trying payday cash advances online payday cash advances online to waste gas anymore! Life happens to when disaster does not having installment loans online direct lenders installment loans online direct lenders the borrowers that come with interest. Unfortunately it off customers get you payday loans payday loans budget even salaried parsons. Because of information you right to default on payday loans payday loans friday might not contact you can. Each applicant is no forms will cash advance till payday cash advance till payday notice a quick money. Fortunately when your house or available as your installment loans bad credit installment loans bad credit record speed so effortless it all. Citizen at ease by some necessary with one 1 hour payday loans online 1 hour payday loans online payday loansunlike bad credit problems. Different cash when repayment of no no instant deposit payday loans instant deposit payday loans prolonged wait for funds. Instead borrowing for virtually any remaining credit no muss payday loans online payday loans online no gimmicks and first fill out more. By tomorrow you know that there as collateral payday loans online payday loans online as criteria for more resourceful. Bank loans whenever they put food vendinstallmentloans.com vendinstallmentloans.com on every now today. Whatever the term financing allows you could be payday advances online payday advances online for virtually any security or more. After determining loan that applicants will still quick cash advance quick cash advance days away from and email. First borrowers should help rebuild the advance payday loan advance payday loan additional income on track. Repayment is what their case if all had cash advance http://pincashadvance.com cash advance http://pincashadvance.com in interest deducted from them.

Advertisement
THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm)
Find Your Favorite Foods
Shop The Nibble Gourmet Market
Send An e-Postcard
Enter The Gourmet Giveaway
Email This Page
Print This Page
Bookmark This Page
Contact Us
Sign Up For The Top Pick Of The Week
THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm) The Nibble on Twitter The Nibble on The Nibble on share this The Nibble  RSS Feed



















    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 Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Asian Vinaigrette

Hungering for a salad dressing served at a local Asian restaurant, we made our own this weekend. It was so easy and delicious, we made up an extra-large batch to keep on hand for regular use.
 
For lunch we tossed it with a package of shredded cabbage, essentially creating Asian cole slaw to go with sandwiches. Delicious! That evening, we served it with a conventional romaine tossed salad, with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and red onions (plus some dried cranberries and slivered almonds we wanted to use up).

This vinaigrette awaits everything from mesclun to Asian chicken salad, steamed vegetables to steamed rice.

RECIPE: ASIAN VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil*
  • 9 tablespoons canola or other salad oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ clove garlic, crushed
  • Optional: dash of sriracha or other hot sauce
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Optional: fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  •  

    balsamic-vinaigrette-33073960-JuanMonino-230

    Asian vinaigrette is delicious on any salad. Photo by Juan Monino | IST.

     
    *About The Oil

    We love the flavor of Asian dark sesame oil. It’s very strong, so you only need a touch. We mix a smaller proportion of it with a larger proportion canola oil; you can use your salad oil of choice.

    Don’t try to solve the problem by purchasing light sesame oil: The ones we’ve had tend to be bland and don’t deliver delicious sesame flavor.

    You can use olive oil instead of canola—but not your best EVOO, since the sesame flavor will cover up its flavor nuances.
     
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the ingredients together in a bowl (or use a blender). Let stand for 30 minutes or more to let the flavors meld.

    2. WHISK again before serving.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Try Cider Instead Of Beer

    Instead of beer, try hard cider. It’s a natural for quaffing or food pairing, and replaces the flavors of malt and hops with apple or pear (cider made with pears is called perry).

    First, the difference between hard cider and fresh cider.

  • Hard cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from the unfiltered juice of apples. The alcohol content varies from a low 1.2% ABV* to 8.5% or higher—some imported ciders can be up to 12% ABV, an average level for table wines.
  • Fresh apple cider is raw apple juice, typically unfiltered. Thus, it is cloudy from the remnants of apple pulp. It is also typically more flavorful than apple juice—although of course, the particular blend of apples used in either has a big impact on the taste.
  • Apple juice has been filtered to remove pulp solids, then pasteurized for longer shelf life.
  •  
    *ABV is alcohol by volume. It is doubled to get the proof. For example, a 40% ABV spirit is 80 proof.

     

    bottle-glass-original-230

    Classic Crispin. Photo courtesy Crispin Cider Company.

     
    While it may not seem so today, America has a history of hard cider. The English who originally settled the country brought their love of cider, and America was a hard cider country until the 19th century.

    Then, waves of German immigration brought the lager makers, and soon enough more Americans were lifting steins of beer instead.

    Prohibition dealt hard cider a final blow from which it is just now making a comeback, with impressive annual growth figures. Aiding the effort is Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams beer and the Angry Orchard cider brand.

    Since Prohibition, “cider” in the U.S. has referred to the unfermented, unpasteurized apple juice; with “hard cider” used to indicate the alcoholic beverage. In the U.K. it is the opposite, with “cider” indicating the alcoholic drink for which special cider apples are used.

    CIDER VERSUS BEER

    Cider is a gluten-free option; beer is made from gluten-rich grains. However, beer is sugar-free, while cider can be quite high in sugar.

  • Crispin, one of our favorite brands, has 15 grams (three teaspoons) of sugar per serving. Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple jumps to 23 grams (7 teaspoons of sugar).
  • Dryer ciders contain less sugar and carbs, and a higher alcohol content because the yeast have been allowed to consume the majority of the natural sugars and convert them to alcohol.
  •  
    Comparatively, the calories in beer versus hard are similar higher; but cider is higher in carbohydrates due to the higher levels of sugar.

     

    angry-orchard-cinnful-6pack-230

    Angry Orchard’s Cinnful Apple has a touch of
    cinnamon. Photo courtesy Boston Brewing
    Company.

     

    CIDER APPLES ARE DIFFERENT

    Cider can be made from any variety of apple, but the better ciders are typically blends of culinary apples—the kinds we eat—and cider apples, which are not palatable to humans. Cider makers balance the flavors of different apples and different proportions to produce their blends.

  • Culinary apples are fruits with a juicy, luscious apple character. The varieties used contribute sweetness as well as a bright acidity, which provides part of the crisp, refreshing backbone. Examples include Braeburn, Elstar, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Jonagold and Red Delicious.
  • Bittersweet apples are grown solely for making cider. These apples provide more complexity and wine-like characteristics to a cider, like grapes do to a wine, imparting aroma and contributing to the color. They also provide acidity, tannins that impact mouth feel, astringency, and real fruity cider notes. Bittersweet apples in the blend are often unfamiliar to us. For example, Angry Orchard uses French varieties called Amere de Berthecourt, Beden, Binet Rouge, Brairtot Fuji, Medaille d’or and Michelin.
  •  

    CIDER HISTORY

    In the days before refrigeration, fresh juice would spoil quickly. The only option to preserve it was to ferment it into cider; the alcohol acts as a preservative.

    Man has fermented fruit into alcohol since prehistory. But apple cider was raised to an art in France and the U.K. Apple trees were plentiful in both areas. The Romans, arriving in force in Britain in 43 C.E., introduced apple cultivation.

    But it was another group of invaders, the Normans, who improved cider making, following their conquest of England in 1066. Apple juice had been fermented into an alcoholic drink earlier in English history, under the Anglo-Saxons. The Normans (from Normandy, France), improved the drink by using cider-specific apples.

    The beverage grew in popularity, new varieties of apples were introduced, and cider began to replace wine (the English climate favors apples over grapes). Every farm grew cider apple trees as well as culinary apples, and in the 18th century it became customary to pay part of a farm laborer’s wage in cider.

    How did cider get its name? The English word “cider” comes from the Old French sidre, which in turn was adapted from medieval Latin sicera, based on the Greek sikera, from the Hebrew shekar, meaning “strong drink.” What we call fresh cider (not fermented) was known as ciderkin or water-cider.
     

    It’s time to have a glass!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Delicious Appetizers With Wonton Wraps

    buffalo-chicken-cups-230

    An even more delicious way to enjoy the
    flavor of Buffalo wings. Photo courtesy
    Nasoya.

     

    You may not be ready to take on homemade dumplings, as we suggested yesterday.

    But if you’re looking for easy, impressive hors d’oeuvres for entertaining? Make them with won ton wraps.

    Of course, you’d buy won ton wraps to make homemade won tons. Savvy cooks know you can also use them to make ravioli. Like pasta, the wraps are made from wheat flour, eggs and salt, plus water, wheat gluten, vinegar and cornstarch.

    But did you think of making clever appetizers with them? They’re surprisingly easy. And the crispy baked wontons are far superior to other alternatives we’ve tried, like phyllo cups.

    Nasoya, an American producer of tofu, Asian-style noodles and wraps and Nayonaise vegan sandwich spread, treated us to the recipes below, created for Nasoya by blogger Kris Schoels of TheChicWife.com. We loved every bite.

    Look for the wraps in the produce section, next to Nasoya tofu. The all-natural wraps are easy to use. The line is certified kosher by OU.

    These three recipes are delicious for hors d’ouevres or a first course. Find more delicious recipes at Nasoya.com.

     
    RECIPE: BUFFALO CHICKEN CUPS

    These were so good, we were sorry we hadn’t made a double batch. (The photo is above.)

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

  • 12 ounces cooked chicken, diced
  • 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup of wing sauce (mild or hot)
  • 1/2 cup of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup of ranch dressing
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • Extra blue cheese crumbles for topping
  • Cupcake pan
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken and blue cheese in a bowl and set aside.

    2. COMBINEthe hot wing sauce, softened cream cheese, and ranch dressing in a small bowl. Pour the cream cheese mixture over top of the chicken and crumbled blue cheese. Stir until just combined.

    3. PLACE one wonton wrapper in each cupcake opening; press down until it creates a cup. Fill each wrapper cup 3/4 of the way with the chicken mixture.

    4. BAKE for 10 minutes, or until the wrappers are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Top with more crumbled blue cheese for garnish, if you wish. Serve warm.

     

    RECIPE: BAKED AVOCADO & FETA WONTONS WITH
    AVOCADO-LIME DIPPING SAUCE

    We’d never have thought of combining avocado and feta, but the result is delicious!

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 2 large avocados, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, very finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Small bowl with water for sealing
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE the chopped avocado, sun dried tomatoes, feta, garlic, onion, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl, taking care to not smash the avocado pieces too much.

     

    avocado-feta-wraps-230

    A delicious marriage of avocado and feta, for an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre. Photo courtesy Nasoya.

     

    3. FILL the wrappers: Working one wrapper at a time place 1 tablespoon of filling in the top third of the egg roll wrap. Brush the edges with water and roll like a burrito. Seal with more water. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the filling has been used.

    4. BAKE for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned.

    5. MAKE the dipping sauce (recipe below).
     
    RECIPE: AVOCADO-LIME DIPPING SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 1 small ripe peeled avocado
  • 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Optional: hot sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients into a food processor; process until smooth. Season with additional salt, pepper and optional hot sauce.
     
    RECIPE: HAM & CHEESE BITES

    Think beyond “ham and cheese”: The flavor of these bites is quite sophisticated.

    Ingredients For 30 Pieces

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked ham, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg white (set aside to be used later)
  • 30 wonton wrappers
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the egg in a bowl whisk and add the cottage cheese, mixing until smooth. Stir in the ham, cheddar, salt, and pepper. Place in the refrigerator until ready to cook the wontons.

    2. Prepare the wontons: Working one wrapper at a time, brush the outer edge of the wrapper with egg white (this will help seal the bites). Place 1 heaping teaspoon of the cheese mixture in the center of the wrap. Fold the wrapper in half into a triangle and seal with more egg wash if needed.
    3. PLACE on a baking sheet until ready to cook (note, these can be frozen and cooked later). Repeat until all of the cheese mixture has been used.

    4. HEAT a large skillet over medium heat, spray skillet with nonstick spray or use 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the skillet is warm, place the wonton wrap in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd it. Do it in several batches.

    5. COOK for 1 minute on each side; the outside will be lightly browned. Place on a paper towel lined plate, keeping warm until ready to serve. Here’s a photo of the cooked dumplings.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ricotta Salata

    ricotta-salata-ig-230

    Ricotta salata. Photo courtesy iGourmet.com.

     

    Most of us are familiar with ricotta, the fresh cottage cheese-like* Italian favorite used in everything from lasagna to cheesecake to cannoli.

    But what about ricotta salata, a firm, aged sheep’s milk cheese (some refer it ricotta secca). A Sicilian specialty, it is ricotta that has been pressed, salted and dried—very different from ricotta and an exciting and versatile cheese.

    Ricotta salata is mildly salty, with a milky and nutty flavor. It is ideal for grating, shaving, slicing or cubing. You can use it anywhere you’d use feta. It’s typically more affordable than feta or Italian grating cheeses.

    You can crumble it, cube it, grate it, shave it or slice it. You can enjoy it with fruit as your cheese course, or add it to a cheese platter or antipasto plate.

     
    *Technically, ricotta isn’t a cheese but a by-product of the cheese-making process. The name “ricotta” means “recooked” in Italian (from the Latin recoctus). Historically, ricotta has been made from the whey that was left over from the process of making a cooked cheese. What to do with the whey has long been a question in the cheese world; many cheese makers of long ago simply fed it to their pigs, a practice still continued today. But somewhere along the line, someone discovered that the whey contained proteins and milk solids that would coagulate under high enough heat and with the presence of acid, and ricotta was born. In addition to ricotta salata, here’s also ricotta affumicata, an aged cheese that is smoked in the early part of the maturing process. Like ricotta salata, it can be eaten with bread or grated on pasta, gnocchi, and cooked vegetables.

     

    Try it:

  • In a green salad, ideally one with tangy greens like arugula and watercress. We love it with arugula, beets and fresh herbs.
  • On grains, potatoes or rice, whether sides or salads.
  • As a soup garnish.
  • On a sandwich, pannino or burger.
  • Atop pasta, or tossed with it. Check out Pasta alla Norma, made with eggplant and ricotta salata.
  • With eggs.
  • On cooked vegetables; try it with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale or spinach.
  • With eggs.
  • Grated on pizza, flatbread or crostini.
  • In stuffed artichokes or vegetable fritters.
  • Atop fruit salad or grilled fruit. An Italian classic mixes watermelon with ricotta salata, basil, pine nuts and olive oil.
  • Cubed on skewers, with vegetables, meats or fruits.
  •  

    ricotta-salata-southernitaliandesserts-230

    Ricotta salata in a traditional shape. Photo courtesy Southern Italian Desserts.

     

    What’s your favorite use? Let us know!
     
    RICOTTA HISTORY

    Ricotta production on the Italian peninsula dates to the Bronze Age (circa 3200–600 B.C.E. in Europe, and varying dates elsewhere). In the second millennium B.C.E., ceramic vessels called milk boilers started to appear frequently.

    Unique to the peninsula, they were designed to boil milk at high temperatures and prevent the milk from boiling over. The fresh acid-coagulated cheeses produced with these boilers were probably made with whole milk. Ceramic milk boilers were still used by Apennine shepherds to make ricotta as recently as the 19th century. Today metal milk boilers are used, but production methods have changed little since ancient times.

    By the first millennium B.C.E., the production of rennet-coagulated cheeses took over. Unlike the fresh acid-coagulated cheese, aged rennet-coagulated cheese could be preserved for much longer.

    The production of rennet-coagulated cheese led to a large supply of whey as a by-product. Cheese makers created a recipe that used a mixture of the whey plus milk, to make the fresh ricotta we know today.

    Because of its perishability, ricotta was most likely consumed locally, by the shepherds and cheesemakers. It is likely that its short shelf life did not allow broad distribution to urban markets; but even so, evidence from paintings and literature indicates that ricotta was known and likely eaten by Roman aristocrats as well. And at some point, ricotta was pressed and aged into ricotta salata. [Source]

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Non-Cocktail Ways To Use Tequila

    We found ourselves with a wealth of tequila on hand—lots of opened bottles that we tasted for one review or another, but never got back to. So we decided to use the tequila in cooking. Here’s what else to do with tequila.

  • Cake: Replace up to 1/4 cup liquid in a cake recipe with tequila, or add some to the frosting.
  • Compound butter: For corn or other vegetables, mix chili powder, lime juice and tequila into softened butter and return the butter to the fridge.
  • Fondue: Replace the Kirsch with tequila in cheese or chocolate fondue.
  • Fruit salad: Make a simple syrup by bringing to a boil 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup tequila to a boil (optionally add 1/4 cup triple sec). Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Let cool. Toss with fresh fruit salad and refrigerate for an hour or longer (the syrup can be made in advance).
  • Fruit topping: Add to sautéed fruit to create a delicious topping for ice cream or pound cake; or serve as a compote.
  • Granita or sorbet: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila to the recipe. Don’t add too much: Alcohol doesn’t freeze, so you could end up with a slushie.
  • Glaze: Add 1/2 cup tequila to 2 cups jelly for a ham glaze or other meat glave.
  •    

    partida-chocolate-cake-230jpg

    Add some tequila to your favorite cake recipe. Photo courtesy Partida Tequila.

  • Gravlax: Sprinkle the salmon with tequila after salting but before wrapping and weighting down.
  • Jell-O: For a more tame version of Jell-O shots, add tequila to the cold water when setting flavored gelatin.
  • Marinade: Make a mix of half lime juice, half tequila to marinate chicken, shrimp or other seafood (or choose another proportion).
  • Pasta sauce: As with vodka sauce, add a tablespoon or more to red or white sauce.
  • Salsa: Add a tablespoon of tequila.
  • Sauce for meat or seafood: Deglaze the pan with tequila instead of wine (here’s how).
  • Seafood marinade: 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup tequila, 1/8 cup soy sauce, 1/8 cup fresh lime juice.
  • Soups, stews, chili: Add two shots to the pot, or drizzle a teaspoon over individual bowls.
  •  

    tequila-cheesecake-olgacooks-230

    There’s tequila in both the cheesecake and
    the topping. Photo courtesy Olga Valentina |
    Olga Cooks.

     

    RECIPE: TEQUILA CHEESECAKE

    Olga Valentina of Olga Cooks created a wonderful Partida Tequila Cheesecake. Here’s a step-by-step photo display of the recipe.

    Ingredients

    For The Cheesecake

  • 2 tablespoons of blanco (silver) tequila
  • 2.5 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1.5 cups cream cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of sage honey (or other herbal or floral honey, but sage imparts a particular flavor)
  •  
    For The Crust

  • 8 ounces oatmeal cookies
  • 2/3 stick of butter
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 5-6 cups fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup of blanco (silver) tequila
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the topping: Hull, core and slice the strawberries, add to a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Pour the tequila and lime juice over the berries, mixing well so that the berries are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.

    2. MAKE the crust: Preheat the oven to 340°F. Blend the butter and oatmeal cookies by pulsing together in a food processor. Press the mixture into a 10″ springform pan, ensuring that the bottom is evenly covered. Bake for 10 minutes.

    3. MAKE cheesecake batter: Using an electric mixer, blend together the ricotta, cream cheese, honey, sugar and tequila. Zest the lime into the bowl, then squeeze in the lime juice. Mix well.

    4. ADD the eggs to the batter one at a time, using an electric mixer.

    5. POUR the batter into the crust. Surround the pan with aluminum foil and place it onto a ridged baking sheet*. Fill the baking sheet with an inch of water to make a bain marie. The water provides moisture that keeps the top of the cheesecake from cracking; the foil keeps the water out of the springform pan.

    6. BAKE for an hour at 340°F, or until the top of the cheesecake is golden brown. Cool on a rack, then chill the cheesecake in the fridge for 3 hours or ideally, overnight.

    7. TOP with the tequila-infused strawberries and serve.

     
    *Some professionals prefer ridged baking sheets for more even cooking, but you can certainly use a standard baking sheet.
      

    Comments

    TIP: Check The Sugar Grams

    It’s National Breakfast Month and we have a “public service announcement” on healthy breakfasts. You’ve heard it before, but if you’re not convinced that you’re eating the best breakfast you can, read on.

    More than 100 studies have linked eating breakfast with a reduced risk of obesity (and other health benefits, including diabetes and heart disease) and a mental edge—enhanced memory, attention, the speed of processing information, reasoning, creativity, learning, and verbal abilities.

    Just be sure that you don’t blow your entire daily quota of added sugar on breakfast (more about this in a minute).

    Healthcare professionals recommend a breakfast that combines good carbs and fiber with some protein. On the list:

  • Cottage cheese: Enjoy it plain (try some cinnamon or cracked pepper), with fruit, yogurt, or as a bread spread.
  • Eggs: A good source of protein, research has shown that the cholesterol in the yolks has less of an impact on blood cholesterol than previously thought. You can buy peeled, hard-boiled eggs for grab-and-go, or make your own. We poach eggs in the microwave in under a minute (the technique is below).
  • Cold cereal: Bran or whole-grain cereals (such as shredded wheat) are your best bet. Look for a product with less than 5 grams of sugar and at least 5 grams of fiber.
  • Fruit: Add bananas, berries, dried fruit, grapefruit, melon or other favorite. Enjoy it with cottage cheese and/or plain yogurt.
  •    

    oatmeal-fruit-beauty-zulka-230

    Don’t buy pre-sweetened cereals. Add your own sugar, honey or noncaloric sweetener, so you can control the amount. Photo courtesy Zulka.

  • Greek yogurt: It has nearly twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Instead of sugar-laden flavors, add fruit and a light sprinkling of sugar, honey or noncaloric sweetener to plain, nonfat yogurt.
  • Oatmeal: Ideally, make steel-cut oats, which contain more fiber than rolled or instant oats. They take longer, but you can prepare a large batch and reheat individual portions each morning. Any type of oatmeal except the flavored ones is a better-for-you choice. Avoid flavored varieties, which are packed with sugar. Instead, sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar or a bit of honey on plain oatmeal, and add fruit for natural sweetness (plus nuts for added protein).
  • Peanut Butter or almond butter: These are excellent sources of protein. Spread them on whole grain bread.
  • Spreads: Butter and jam just add empty fat and calories. If you need a bread spread, consider almond butter, peanut butter, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt.
  • Whole grain bread: This is an easy switch. Whole grains products—in bagels, bread, crackers, English muffins, whatever—contain more fiber and nutrients than refined, white flour products.
  •  

    Healthful add ons:

  • Sprinkle your cereal, cottage cheese or yogurt with wheat germ or ground flaxseed.
  • Add a banana—a healthful carbohydrate that keeps you feeling fuller longer.
  •  

    granulated-sugar-beauty-zulka-230

    Too much sugar is hidden in processed foods.
    Read the nutrition label! Photo courtesy
    Zulka.

     

    SUGAR GUIDELINES

    Many people don’t realize how much sugar is hidden in processed foods. The nutrition labels can be eye opening. A can of soda may contain up to 10 teaspoons or 40 grams of sugar—more than your entire daily recommended discretionary sugar intake! A tablespoon of ketchup has 1 teaspoon of sugar.

    “Sugar” includes all caloric sweeteners: brown sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, honey, molasses, syrup, table sugar, etc. (here are the different types of sugar).

    The American Heart Association, the World Health Organization and other bodies recommend limiting sugar intake to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance:

  • Women: no more than 100 calories per day—about 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams
  • Men: no more than 150 calories per day—about 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams
  •  
    The shocker: You can ingest that amount of sugar in one bowl of sweetened breakfast cereal!

     
    These guidelines are from Consumer Reports, which profiles healthy breakfast foods in its October issue.

    What To Look For In A Cereal

  • Few ingredients
  • 5 grams or more of fiber
  • No more than 3 grams of fat
  • No more than 8 grams of sugar
  • No more than 140 milligrams of sodium
  •  
    What To Look For In A Yogurt

  • 20 grams or less of sugar per serving
  • Those that supply at least 15 percent of the daily value of calcium
  • If fat intake is a concern, low- or nonfat product when possible
  •  
     

    HOW TO MAKE POACHED EGGS IN THE MICROWAVE

    You can use a microwave egg poacher or simply a bowl of water:

  • Fill a 1-cup microwaveable bowl or teacup with 1/2 cup water. Add the cracked egg.
  • Cover with a saucer and microwave on high for about 1 minute, or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: “Brinner,” Pancakes For Dinner

    September is National Breakfast Month, and Krusteaz, makers of quality pancake, waffle and baking mixes, reminds us that breakfast food is not just for breakfast.

    It’s also for dinner. According to a recent Krusteaz survey, having breakfast food for dinner, or “brinner,” is a growing trend. A whopping 91% of Americans say they have eaten breakfast foods for dinner—and we count ourselves among them.

    Krusteaz suggests pancakes as part of your brinner.

  • Think of pancakes as a substitute for potatoes, potato pancakes or Yorkshire Pudding. Serve them with grilled meat or poultry and a savory sauce instead of maple syrup. We served them last night with leftover pot roast: a hit!
  • Consider a gluten-free mix. There are quite a few good ones on the market, including from Krusteaz.
  •  
    You don’t have to make them sweet, covered with maple syrup. Here’s a savory recipe from Krusteaz.

    RECIPE: APPLE HAM PANCAKE STRATA

    You can use a gluten-free mix; you can substitute chicken for ham; you can add your own special touches. We added some dried cherries and cranberries, and next time will toss in a cup of grated Gruyère.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, total time is 1 hour 10 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8-9 Servings

  • 6 pancakes, prepared as directed and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 cup diced apples
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons melted butter
  •    

    apple_ham_pancake-strata-krusteaz-230r-s

    The “secret ingredient” in this strata: pancakes! Photo courtesy Krusteaz.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan.

    2. PLACE the pancake pieces, apples and ham in the pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half and maple syrup; pour over the apple, ham and pancake mixture.

    3. BAKE 40-45 minutes or longer if a firmer strata is preferred. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Brush with melted butter, if desired, and serve.

     

    peanut-butter-jam-pancakes-krusteaz-230

    We love PB&J just as much on pancakes as
    on bread. Photo courtesy Krusteaz.

     

    RECIPE: PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY PANCAKES

    If you like PB&J sandwiches, this is a recipe for you! Prep time is 10 minutes, total time is 15 minutes. The PB adds protein to the dish. Enjoy it with a tall glass of milk.

    Ingredients For 7-8 Pancakes

  • Buttermilk pancake mix
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly or jam of choice
  • Optional garnish: chopped peanuts; dried cherries, cranberries or raisins; powdered sugar; sliced fruit
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE buttermilk pancakes as directed on package, adding 3 tablespoons peanut butter for each cup of mix used.

    2. POUR pancake batter on griddle; add 1 tablespoon of jam per pancake and swirl with a spoon. Cook as directed. Immediately upon removing pancakes from griddle, swirl additional jam on top.

    3. GARNISH as desired and serve.

     

    PANCAKE MAKING TIPS

    Krusteaz wants you to make perfect pancakes. Their tips:

    1. Use cold tap water.
    Water at 55°F-60°F makes fluffier pancakes and more tender waffles.

    2. Use an ice cream scoop.
    Get the perfect size pancake every time by using an ice cream scoop to measure the batter.

    3. Keep the leftovers.
    Don’t toss leftover pancakes; store them in the fridge for 2-3 days, or freeze them for up to 3 months. Store them in an airtight container. Microwave them or reheat them in a hot pan on the stove top.
     
    There are more tips, recipes and a store locator on the Krusteaz website.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 10 Trending Sauces To Know (And Use!)

    Yesterday we recommended serving proteins “three ways.” One of the ways to differentiate them is with sauces, and we recommended a look at the famed mother sauces of France.

    Then, we got an email from Food & The Menu, a magazine for chefs. The new issue features “10 Sauces Of The Moment”—options that span the world.

    “Say ‘so long’ to complicated reductions and rich, butter-mounted glazes,” says Joan Lang, the article’s author. “Some of today’s most trending sauces are more like condiments, following the popularity of sriracha, harissa, wasabi and aïoli.”

    So if you want to get ahead of your favorite chefs, consider these sauces, many of which are sold ready-made. Some will be familiar to you, others less so. Read the full article, which includes recipe ideas:

    1. Adobo Sauce

    Long a Mexican staple, this vinegar-based sauce is made with chiles and/or paprika, garlic, cumin, oregano, pepper, sugar and sometimes tomato or ketchup. It is perhaps the easiest of the group to find in your local supermarket (it’s also available online). There’s a Filipino version of adobo, a simmer sauce of vinegar, garlic and soy sauce. Try them both!

    2. Colorado Sauce

    Rich, smoky and spicy, Colorado sauce (also called red chile sauce or chile colorado) is another find from Mexico. To achieve its namesake red color, it incorporates multiple types of roasted or dried chiles (such as ancho and New Mexico) with onions and tomatoes. Make it or buy it.

    3. Comeback Sauce

    From Mississippi, this sauce is a cross between spicy rémoulade sauce and creamy Thousand Island dressing is a versatile dip, dressing or spread osandwiches and more—and you sure can’t argue with the fun name.

       

    aloha-soy-sauce-amz

    Soy sauce with a Hawaiian twist can be brush onto grilled food or added to dips, mayonnaise, and vinaigrettes. Photo courtesy Aloha Brand.

     
    4. Donkey Sauce

    Popularized by television chef Guy Fieri, donkey sauce combines mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sriracha and lots of roasted garlic to create a hot and spicy alternative to aïoli sauce, the classic French garlic mayonnaise. 
     
    5. Fonduta

    A rich, melted cheese sauce from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, fonduta is usually made with Fontina, Parmesan and cream—and if you’ve got the bucks, white truffles in season. It is served as a sauce over food or as a fondue-like dip.
     

     

    ponzu-yakamiorchard-230

    Ponzu sauce is available in most
    supermarkets. We buy this gourmet blend
    from Yakima Orchard online.

     

    6. Gochujang Sauce

    Pronounced ko-choo-CHONG, this pungent Korean hot red chili paste is made from fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, red chile, garlic, honey and salt. Spice lovers will enjoy a jar. Look for it in Asian markets or online.

    7. Hawaiian Sauces

    These range from traditional salty-sweet Aloha Sauce (a brand of soy sauce blended with fruit juices, brown sugar, ginger and garlic) to more creative inventions like poi vinaigrette (mashed boiled taro root mixed into a vinaigrette). You can find Aloha Sauce on Amazon.com.

     
    8. Kewpie Mayonnaise

    This MSG-laden mayonnaise from Japan, first made in Japan in 1925, more recently came to prominence at sushi bars in the U.S. as “Dynamite Sauce” for the Dynamite Roll.* Made with rice vinegar instead of distilled vinegar, it is yellower, creamier and richer than western mayonnaise. It is now used to give a kick of sweet and vinegary creaminess to salads and vegetables. Look for it in Asian markets or online.

     
    9. Nyonya Sauce

    This spicy Malaysian sauce typically contains chile paste, curry, fish sauce, lemongrass and other spices. Lang predicts that “before long this flavor booster will go mainstream.” We found it available in packets on Amazon.com.
     

    10. Ponzu Sauce

    This Japanese soy-and-citrus-based dipping sauce is an easy mix of yuzu or lemon juice, kombu, mirin and rice wine vinegar. In Japanese cuisine it’s served with dumplings or shabu shabu, but its uses have evolved (we like it with seafood and rice). You can buy it in the Asian products section of your market. Our favorite, from Yakami Orchard, is available online.
     
     
    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CONDIMENT AND A SAUCE?

    A sauce is a condiment, which is defined as a food item added to the primary food to enhance its flavor.

    While some condiments are used by the chef during cooking (barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, for example), others, such as ketchup and mustard, are applied by the individual diner.

    The word derives from the Latin condimentum, meaning spice, seasoning or sauce. That word in turn derived from the Latin condere, meaning to preserve, pickle or season. The word originally described pickled or preserved foods, but evolved over time.
     
    *The Dynamite Roll incorporates shrimp tempura, masago (capelin roe) and vegetables, such as radish sprouts, avocado and/or cucumber.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Check Your Cooking Spray Ingredients

    Some 50 years ago, the debut of the first spray cooking oil, PAM, was a game changer for many cooks. But over the years, the joy of convenience and calorie savings gave way to wariness of the chemical propellants—petroleum, propane and isobutene—said to be 11% of the contents in the aerosol spray can. Today’s tip is to look at the ingredients in the can.

    If you’ve never used it, here’s the 411: Cooking spray is applied to frying pans and other cookware to prevent food from sticking. The virtually calorie-free spray spare the calories and saturated fats of butter, oil or other fat because the sprayed layer is so thin.

    PAM and the cooking spray brands that followed made other tasks a breeze, too—in the kitchen and beyond. We’ve listed some of the popular uses for cooking spray, below.

    In recent years, consumers have become more aware and fussy about the quality of the ingredients they consume. Two companies have decided to lose the controversial chemicals: major brand Bertolli and artisan producer La Tourangelle.

    Opting for compressed air to propel 100% oil (instead of 89% oil and 11% chemicals), these products deliver even better taste without the hint of chemicals.

    The original sprays were a greasing agent; these new, all natural sprays are also salad spritzers, finishing oils* (especially the top-quality La Tourangelle line) and more—for example, a cholesterol-free, mess-free condiment for corn on the cob. In every case you use far less oil than in another type of application.

     
    BERTOLLI 100% OLIVE OIL SPRAY

    The new sprays launch in three varieties:

       

    bertolli-cooking_spry_extravirgin_230

    Spray away, without chemical propellants. Photo courtesy Bertolli.

  • Bertolli 100% Classico Olive Oil Spray, to spray directly on the pan before sautéing proteins and vegetables
  • Bertolli 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray, to spray onto salads and pastas
  • Bertolli 100% Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil Spray, for baking tins and preparations that require high heat
  •  
    You can purchase a six-pack on Amazon.com for $37.52 ($6.25 per five-ounce can), or a three-pack, one of each flavor, for $21.99 ($7.33 per can).

     
    LA TOURANGELLE ARTISAN OIL SPRAYS

    La Tourangelle, the California-based artisanal oil company and a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, has launched the first-to-market line of gourmet spray oils that are also all-natural and propellant-free. The company’s top-selling bottled oils are now sprayable:

  • 100% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Spray
  • Grapeseed Oil Spray
  • Roasted Pistachio Spray
  • Organic Canola Spray
  • Roasted Walnut Oil Spray
  • Thai Wok Spray
  •  
    The products are now available online at LaTourangelle.com and will be hitting store shelves soon. The prices range from $6.99 to $9.99 SRP. Consider them as stocking stuffers for friends with good palates.

     
    *A finishing oil is one that is added to cooked food as a condiment, to add flavor and mouthfeel. It is an oil with especially fine natural flavor and aroma that should be enjoyed as a surface accent, and not used for cooking or baking where the nuances will dissipate under heat. It can be used on carpaccio, legumes, porcini mushrooms, pasta, rice and other grains, roasted meats and fish, vegetables and other foods. Fine olive oil can be drizzled atop vanilla ice cream and garnished with a sprinkle of sea salt.

     

     

    la-tourangelle-sprays-230

    Four of the six new artisan-quality spray oils
    from La Tourangelle. Photo courtesy La
    Tourangelle.

     

    USES FOR COOKING SPRAY

    Cooking spray is godsend for anything that calls for greasing, from skillets to bundt pans. Popular kitchen uses include:

  • Baking & Roasting: baking sheets, baking dishes/casseroles, cake and muffin pans, roasting pans and broiler pans
  • Cookware, with or without non-stick coating: barbecue grills, frying pans/skillets, gelatin molds, griddles, pots
  • Food preparation: preventing food from sticking to spatulas, wooden spoons, skewers, measuring cups (especially when measuring sticky things like honey, syrup and agave), food processor blades and blender blades
  •  
    Adventurous people found uses beyond the kitchen: everything from unsticking doors to preventing fresh nail polish from smudging.

    How about using cooking spray for removing dead bugs from your car, and other unconventional uses?

     
    COOKING SPRAY HISTORY

    PAM, America’s first aerosol cooking spray, was launched in 1961 by entrepreneur Leon Rubin who, with Arthur Meyerhoff, started Gibraltar Industries to market the spray. The name is an acronym for Product of Arthur Meyerhoff. The brand is currently owned and distributed by ConAgra Foods.

    With canola oil as its main ingredient, the appeal of PAM was immediate.

  • For calorie counters, it provided a zero-calorie*, fat-free option for greasing the pan, instead of other fats at 100 calories per tablespoon.
  • For bakers, it was the way to prevent cakes and muffins from sticking.
  • For recipes like vegetables, mozzarella sticks and the like, it helped the seasonings to stick thoroughly.
  • For utensils, coating the inside of a measuring cup with the spray allows sticky substances such as honey to pour out more easily.
  •  
    Not only did it spawn imitators (Baker’s Joy, Crisco, Emeril, Mazola and Smart Balance, for example), but PAM itself developed eight varieties: Original plus Baking, Butter, Canola Oil, Organic Canola Oil, Grilling, Olive Oil, Organic Olive Oil Professional.

    And now, welcome to Cooking Spray 3.0: chemical free.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Get Better Crackers

    raincoast-crisps-boxes-230

    The Nibble’s reigning favorite cracker. Photo
    by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We’ve eaten more than our share of supermarket crackers—Carr’s Water Biscuits, Keebler Club Crackers, Nabisco Saltines, Ritz Crackers and the like. They’re good, but sometimes we want amazing.

    Special occasions deserve special crackers—to accompany cheese, dips, salads, soups, spreads, whatever. They may be pricier than the supermarket varieties, but if your palate craves excitement and your eyes want visual allure, it’s money well spent.

    Otherwise stated, Cracker Barrel makes perfectly tasty Cheddar cheese. But if we want a great Cheddar experience, we’ll spring for Fiscalini Farmstead, a great artisan wheel from California.

    It can be a challenge to find great crackers, even when you know what you’re looking for. Recently we raced through three specialty food stores in search of Raincoast Crisps, our current favorite cracker. We finally found them at Dean & Deluca retail and etail, and also online at iGourmet.com.

    They’re $6.79 for a six-ounce box at iGourmet, and a whopping $10 at DDL. The amazing flavors and textures and small batch production make it worth the special-occasion splurge. They’re exquisite absolutely plain or however you wish to serve them.

     
    Three more-affordable brands of special crackers we favor, all natural and artisan (small batch, better ingredients):

    Dr. Kracker

    Rolled by hand, these artisan flatbreads are long on flavor and unique in their appearance. Each cracker is topped a generous number of attractive—and healthy—seeds, sesame, sunflower, and/or pumpkin.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
  •  

    Mary’s Gone Crackers

    Mary’s Gone Crackers are gluten-free and vegan, yet packed with so much flavor you start to wonder what is in them that makes them taste so vibrant and delicious (the answer: whole grain brown rice, whole quinoa, flax seeds and sesame seeds). They’re also organic, whole grain and OU kosher.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
  •  
    La Panzanella Croccantini

    Unlike the previous recommendations, which are whole grain and laden with seeds, nuts or fruits, La Panzanella Croccantini provide classic Italian flare. Made from white flour, even the plain version is wonderful, but cracked pepper, garlic and rosemary versions add extra flavor. The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

  • Company Website
  • Our Review
  •  
    You can also browse the shelves at specialty food stores and try whatever looks good.

     

    raincoast-crisps-blue-cheese-230

    Raincoast Crisps with cheese. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    As with government, people get the crackers they deserve. If no one wants to pay more for better products, the shelves get stacked with more varieties of Ritz and saltines.
     
    HOW TO RE-CRISP SOGGY CRACKERS

    As crisp as they begin, crackers will attract moisture over time and get soggy. But you can easily re-crisp them:

    1. Put the crackers in the microwave on a paper towel. Don’t overlap.

    2. Microwave them for 40 seconds on medium/high.

    3. Allow the crackers to cool for 3-5 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool down.

    Crunch away!

      

    Comments

    « Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »









    About Us
    Contact Us
    Legal
    Privacy Policy
    Advertise
    Media Center
    Manufacturers & Retailers
    Subscribe
    Interact