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Archive for Vegetables-Salads-Herbs

PRODUCT REVIEW: Three Steamed Vegetable Splendors

Birds Eye Steamfresh Fresh Frozen VegetablesDelicious Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies steam fast, with no pots to clean.   Most people we know want to eat healthier and lose weight. Everyone wants to fight childhood obesity. Yet, when you suggest eating lots of healthy, low-calorie, steamed vegetables, there are more excuses than Brussels sprouts. Major food companies have listened, and have provided convenient, flavorful solutions for better steamed vegetables, plus fish and other proteins. You now can have delicious, low-calorie veggies in as little as one and a half minutes, for meals or snacking, and entire steamed meals in five to eight minutes. So put that old-fashioned steamer away: Here are healthy foods a 10-year-old can prepare:

Birds Eye Steamfresh, the first product in our lineup, are frozen vegetables that steam in the microwave (certified kosher).
McCormick Veggie Steamers provide seasonings and microwaveable bag units that take the guesswork out of cooking: Just add the specified amount of vegetables or fish and your meal is ready pronto.
Ziploc Zip ‘n Steam Bags provide just the bag: Add your own ingredients. The bags are preprinted with cooking times for standard foods. Glad makes a similar product.

More good news: No pots to clean. Full steam ahead! Read the full review and find more of our favorite products in the Vegetables Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. (Looking for low-calorie foods? Check out Diet Nibbles.)

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TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Salad

Christmas Salad
Make your Christmas salad decidedly red and green.
  Make a beautiful red-and-green Christmas salad by adding “red” greens to your “green” greens. If you can’t find the more exotic red lettuces (red leaf lettuce, red oak lettuce, red romaine, red mustard greens), most stores carry radicchio, the naturally red-veined chard and baby kale. For more color, add very thin rings of red and green bell peppers and slice crunchy, white water chestnuts into thin disks as “tree ornaments.” Use an elegant vinaigrette: fine olive oil with a sherry or Champagne vinegar in a 3 tablespoons:2 tablespoons proportion. Add a pinch of dry mustard, plus salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste. Click here for a red-and-green salad recipe with an Asian twist, seaweed, cherry tomatoes and sesame (shown in the photo at left). Visit the table of contents of the December issue of THE NIBBLE online magazine for more holiday recipes.
 

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Product Watch: Exotic Winter Squash

What do these have in common: acorn, Australian blue, banana, buttercup, butternut, calabaza, carnival, chayote, delicaza, gold nugget, hubbard, kabocha, orangetti, red kuri, spaghetti, stripetti, sweet dumpling and turban? They’re all winter squash—but you probably guessed that from the headline. Do you know how delicious they all are, though? We got a huge shipment from Melissas.com, purveyors of exotic fruits and vegetables, just so we could taste through them all. Call it two weeks of squash bliss. They’re all wonderful, but if we had to pick our personal winner, it’s carnival squash, so good we ate the rind, with a nod to Sweet Dumpling Squash (shown in the photo at the right).   Sweet Dumpling Squash
Sweet Dumpling Squash from Melissas.com.
Squash is good for you, with tons of vitamin A (one serving has four times the RDA—and 52% of vitamin C) and a good source of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. The calories: just 80 to 100 per cup, depending on variety. Read more about these gorgeous vegetables in the Squash Glossary—one of fifty fascinating food glossaries in THE NIBBLE online magazine. Also try the delicious Butternut Squash Gratin Recipe and check out the Mini Pumpkin & Habañero Cheddar Souffles.

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PRODUCT WATCH: Périgord Truffles

Feeling rich or reckless? Hankering to buy a voluptuous gift for yourself or your BFF (best foodie friend)? The French truffle season opens the last week of November. In the Périgord, the world’s greatest black truffle region, pigs, dogs and trufflers (human truffle hunters) will beating the bushes (or more literally, the forests of great oak and chestnut trees) for the precious fungus. While most connoisseurs pledge their troth to the white Alba truffle of Italy, we have always loved cooking with the Périgord truffle (the white truffle can’t be cooked, just grated over food).   Truffle Pig
Two Périgord truffle hunters: man and pig.
QuelObjet.com flies fresh black truffles directly to the U.S. from the Périgord, and will overnight express them to your doorstep. But orders must be placed in advance: They only import what has been ordered. To learn more about truffles, read our overview article, complete with a Truffle Glossary, recipes and some beautiful truffle photos. Truffles are found four to five inches underground, growing on the roots of oaks and a few other trees. Since they can’t be seen, they need to be sniffed out. Pigs have great noses for locating truffles and will naturally root them out. But pigs love truffles as much as we do, and will swallow them on the spot if they are not restrained (and as you can see from the size, it takes a tough man to restrain a large pig). Dogs, which can be trained to find truffles, but have no interest in eating them, are the preferred scout of most trufflers. P.S. If you plan a truffle feast…please invite us.

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NEWS: Great Tomatoes, Year-Round

Backyard Beauties
Backyard Beauties: A great tomato is joy.
  If New England’s Backyard Farms inspires farmers in other regions, Americans with a taste for quality tomatoes may be able to get them year-round. Once September arrives in northern climates, delicious, locally-grown tomatoes disappear and tomato lovers have only the memories until the warm weather returns. Tomatoes picked green and shipped from thousands of miles away don’t deliver anything approximating the flavor of a vine-ripened tomato.
But Backyard Farms, a greenhouse company located in chilly Maine, is bringing fresh, vine-ripened Backyard Beauties to local markets throughout New England, year round. Their Beauties are grown in environmentally-friendly greenhouses using state-of-the-art technology. While other tomatoes are traveling to the produce section from as far away as Holland and Mexico—a journey of weeks—Backyard Beauties stay on the vine until they are fully ripened. Picked today, they arrive in New England supermarkets tomorrow. The response has been phenomenal. Please, Backyard Farms: Set up shop in every region. Americans deserve great tomatoes all the time! For more information visit BackyardBeauties.com.

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