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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 Uncategorized

TIP OF THE DAY: Non Fat Mashed Potatoes

If you want your mashed potatoes laden with
butter, cream and sour cream, here’s a recipe
from Williams-Sonoma. Photo courtesy
Williams-Sonoma.

 

Lovers of mashed potatoes have to be cholesterol-hearty: There’s lots of saturated fat-laden butter, cream and sour cream in each delicious forkful.

But you can make an alternative version with nonfat versions of Greek yogurt, labne (kefir cheese) and/or sour cream.

RECIPE: LOWFAT MASHED POTATOES

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold potatoes, skins on
  • 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt, nonfat labne or 1/2 cup each yogurt or labne plus 1/4 cup nonfat sour cream (use a total of ½ cup of yogurt/labne/sour cream per pound of potatoes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil or dill, snipped
  • Optional to spice it up: chipotle or red pepper flakes*
  • Optional: Milk for consistency
  •  

    *Use 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotles in adobo sauce, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (instead of the basil or dill.

    Preparation

    1. SKINS ON. Place the potatoes in a large pot of salted water; water should cover the potatoes by 2 inches. Why keep the skins on the potatoes? Because in addition to the nutrition they contain, potatoes boiled whole in their skins absorb less water and produce lighter, fluffier mashed potatoes.

    2. BOIL. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork (about 15 minutes). Drain.

    3. MASH. Mash the potatoes (we use a potato ricer or a food mill, over a bowl). Depending on the size of your ricer/food mill, you may have to process the potatoes in batches.

    4. STIR. Add the yogurt/labne/sour cream and stir until smooth. If the mixture is too thick for your preference, add some nonfat milk until you reach the desired consistency. You can stir the herbs into the potatoes or sprinkle them on top as a garnish.
     
    Find more of our favorite potato recipes.
     
    How many different types of potatoes are there? Thousands, worldwide; but here are dozens of varieties you can find in the U.S.

      

    Comments

    ENTERTAINING: Toys & Food

    Today we received this photo of a 1,100-pound car. But it can’t be driven: It’s a cake. Really.

    The life-size baked race car was created by the Ace of Cakes, Duff Goldman, for a NASCAR promotion at Hendrick Motorsports in Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR star Kasey Kahne unveiled his new No.5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet alongside the life-size replica baked by Goldman and his team at Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes.

    The cake car took five full-time Charm City Cakes designers and decorators more than two weeks of engineering, fabrication, carving and decoration.

    The cake was fully equipped with actual spinning wheels and smoke (from a fog machine). More than 80 company logos were reproduced using layered gum paste—a painstaking task. Goldman calls it his “best cake ever.” The price was not revealed (but we’d sure love to know!).

     

    Bring a fork: This car’s a cake. Photo courtesy Time Warner Cable.

     

    We love cake. Although we were far from North Carolina at the time, we had just as good an invitation: to TOY Restaurant and The Oyster Bar at the Hotel Gansevoort in New York City’s Meatpacking District.

    The area used to hold New York City’s meat packers, where beef, lamb and pork sides were broken down into retail and foodservice cuts. Today, the old red brick buildings have been turned into very chic and trendy shops and restaurants—gleaming expanses of glass windows brighteni up the old buildings and reflect the old cobblestone streets.

     

    Use your toys as serving pieces. Photo courtesy TOY Restaurant | New York City.

     

    The Hotel Gansevoort is a new edifice, with amenities that include 360° panoramic views of New York City, sunsets over the Hudson River and an Exhale mind/body spa.

    But our favorite amenities are Toy restaurant and the expansive (for New York) outdoor dining spaces that wrap around the north and west sides of the hotel.

    TOY is a “multi-sensory, stimulating fantasy playground, designed to thrill and entertain.” The cavernous space is dramatic day or night.

    The Oyster Bar, a smaller room next door to the main restaurant, is our pet spot: Oysters are one of our passions. We dined outdoors on a balmy October night, enjoying Kumamotos, Pacific and Virginica oysters so fresh, they needed no garnish (the different types of oysters).

    But in TOY restaurant, we had our own racing car, this one filled with ice and Champagne.

    While you can’t recreate the Duff Goldman cake at home, you certainly can repurpose toys, as they do at TOY:

    Pack cars and wagons with ice and Champagne bottles, white wine, soft drinks or beer. Serve sushi or other nibbles on large toy sailboats. Look at your other toys and decide how to incorporate them into your party.

    If that old Radio Flyer needs a coat of paint, consider a color that matches your decor (or keep it Nostalgic Red).

    Many oysters later from The Oyster Bar, sushi from TOY and three glass of Prosecco on the terrace, we felt as if we’d had a mini vacation. Let someone else enjoy the Exhale Mind and Body Spa. We’re headed back to TOY and The Oyster Bar.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Fish Clip Bag Clip

    The clamp-style bag clip is great for bags of potato chips, cookies and other packaging with a long, foldover top. These are generally made from sturdier materials that don’t cinch neatly at the neck—which is why the bag clips were invented.

    But there are other foods in softer packaging—bags of bread, produce bags and such. For these types of foods—anything in bag that you’d twist close—the Fish Clip is the better bag.

    The jaws of the fish open wide, then cinch tight and lock in place. It accommodates a broad variety of package necks, including the smallest (like the bread bag) to the largest cereal bag.

    The clips are magnetic so they can tread water on the fridge until needed. Or, use them for non-food purposes—on filing cabinets, to neaten cable cords—a more colorful substitute for velcro ties.

     

    Fun and really useful: the Fish Clip. Photo courtesy Shrockie.com.

     

    Kids will love them, too. Girls may find themselves appropriating the clips as pigtail holders.

    Think of them as small gifts and stocking stuffers. You can buy them online at Amazon.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Raspberry Cream Pie

    Today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day. We’d never had a raspberry cream pie, so we whipped one up. The only baking is of the pie shell or tart crust. The pie is served chilled—refreshing on a hot day.

    You can substitute any berry. We also enjoy a strawberry cream pie, blueberry cream pie, or mixed berries (you can get very artistic arranging the colors and textures).

    RASPBERRY CREAM PIE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/2 cup raspberry purée
  • 1 baked pie crust or tart shell
  • 3 pints raspberries, lightly rinsed and patted dry
  •  

    A raspberry cream tart, bursting with fresh fruit. Photo by Amber B | IST.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE. In the top of a double boiler, mix sugar, flour and salt. Stir in milk. Cook 15 minutes over hot water, stirring constantly until thick. Add egg yolks, stir and cook 3 minutes.

    2. ADD. Add butter and allow mixture to cool. Stir in vanilla. Add to pie shell and let set in the fridge for a half hour or more.

    3. VARIATION. You can also add raspberries to the cream filling, for a double raspberry cream pie. Add the raspberry purée along with the vanilla to the cooled cream mixture.

    3. GARNISH. Cover the top of the pie with the raspberries. It’s best to begin at the edges and work your way in. In this way, if you run out of berries, the ungarnished center will look “normal,” not a mistake.

    CREAM PIE VS. CREAM PIE

    What’s the difference between cream and creme? Just the spelling.

    Creme is an Americanization of the French word for cream, crème? (pronounced KREHM), most likely adapted to make the dish sound more special. But why mispronounce another language’s word for cream?

    Unless it’s a French recipe, such as Coeur à la Crème, stick to cream.

    PIE VS. TART

    We made a raspberry cream tart instead of a pie? What’s the difference between a pie and a tart?

    It’s interesting enough that we created an article about it. Check it out!

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Yanni Grilling Cheese

    Yanni cheese doesn’t melt when grilled or
    fried: It just becomes soft and luscious.
    Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    If you’re trying to cut back on cheese, don’t buy Yanni Grilling Cheese from Karoun Dairies. It’s addictive, and you’ll be back at the store the next day to buy more—much more.

    This oh-so-delicious comfort food can be baked, grilled, microwaved or pan-fried. It’s made for grilling without melting.

    Karoun makes original and jalapeño flavors. The jalapeño is only mildly spicy and provides an excellent counterpoint to the creamy cheese. In fact, we find ourselves adding a pinch of crushed chili flakes to the original variety.

    You won’t run out of ways to serve yanni, from appetizers and salads to burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.

    Check out the full review, which includes our favorite uses, this week’s recipe and cooking video on how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

    Prepare to discover a new favorite comfort food.

    Find more of our favorite cheese reviews and recipes.
     

     

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Two Ideas From Belgium

    Recently, NIBBLE writer Leah Hansen joined a group of journalists on a press trip to Belgium. She came back very excited about the country, and used her camera to capture tips from everyday life.

    DECORATE DAIRY

    For a cheese board or a buffet, use fresh herbs to decorate cheese—and butter, too.

    Press fresh herbs or flowers into soft or semi-soft cheeses before serving.

    Lavender (in the photo) and rosemary look pretty and add a layer of aroma and hint of herb flavor. Don’t limit yourself to these choices, though: Use your eye and your palate to find herb-cheese pairings that please.

    You can turn cheese decorating into a party activity. Give each person or small group a Camembert or baby Brie to decorate. Provide some fresh herbs and whatever you have on the spice shelf. Serve the cheeses with fruit for dessert.

     

    Use fresh herbs from the market to decorate butter and cheese. Photo by Leah Hansen | THE NIBBLE.

     

     

    Switch out the mayo for some fresh,
    unsalted butter on a ham sandwich. Photo by
    Leah Hansen | THE NIBBLE.

     

    HOLD THE MAYO

    In Belgium and France, butter is the condiment of choice on a ham sandwich.

    The flavor of unsalted butter with ham on French-style bread (you need good bread!) is very elegant. Try it. We add a bit of Dijon mustard as well.

    Plan your own trip to Belgium to enjoy the history, the cuisine, and lots of great beer and chocolate. These websites will get you started:

  • Belgium: VisitBelgium.com
  • Brussels: VisitBrussels.be
  • Flanders: Visit Flanders
  •  

    BELGIAN WAFFLE TRIVIA

    In Belgium, there is no such thing as a “Belgian” waffle. Every region has its own style of waffle (called a gauffre, pronounced GO-fray or GAW-fray) based on two major styles: the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle.

  • NOT FOR BREAKFAST. Belgians do not eat waffles for breakfast, but for dessert. What we think of as a “Belgian” waffle is the rectangular or square Brussels waffle. It is served with whipped cream and berries or other sweet toppings such as powdered sugar, ice cream, butter and sugar or syrup, with chocolate syrup or other fresh fruit; and is eaten with a knife and fork.
  • SNACK WAFFLE. Liège-style waffles are enjoyed as a snack, and sold from street carts and in coffee shops. They are somewhat irregular in shape, although they are quasi-square or round. Here’s a photo.
  • “BELGIAN” WAFFLE. The Belgian waffle got its name at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City, where it was served with whipped cream and strawberries. The manager of the Belgian Pavilion, Maurice Vermesch, named it the Belgian waffle because he did not think many Americans were familiar with Brussels!
  • Belgian waffles have deep divots—that’s the official name for the pockets or wells created by the waffle press. The batter includes yeast and beaten egg whites, which give the country’s waffles a lighter texture and fluffier consistency than the typical American waffle, which tends to use baking soda or baking powder in the batter. They are also very crisp.
  •  
    Check out all the types of waffles in our Pancake & Waffle Glossary.

      

    Comments

    We’re Off To A Trade Show ~ Back On Wednesday

     

    THE NIBBLE team is off to Washington, D.C. for the Fancy Food Show—to find more great product recommendations. We’ll be back at our desks on Wednesday morning.

    Blog.TheNibble.com is on hiatus until then. But you can find plenty to amuse yourself with at TheNibble.com.

    How about learning more about one of your favorite products?

    Be back soon!

      

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: How To Make Strawberry Steak Salad For Valentine’s Day

     

    For lunch or a light dinner on Valentine’s Day, try this Strawberry Steak Salad.

    Sliced fresh strawberries, which look like little red hearts, unite with grilled skirt steak, a spring mix salad, avocado, mascarpone cheese, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers in a blush wine or raspberry vinaigrette.

    A lighter dinner gives you more room for desserts and chocolate!

       

       

  • Ratchet up the heat with a Thai Beef Salad.
  • Leg Of Lamb Salad with watercress and fennel in a Dijon vinaigrette.
  • More of our favorite salad recipes.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sifted Flour

    Baking up a storm? Pay close attention to the flour specifications.

    It’s important to note that in a recipe, “sifted flour” is not the same as “flour, sifted.”

    In the first instance, you sift the flour, than measure out what you need. In the second, you measure out what you need, then sift it.

    Baking is chemistry: slight deviations can create disappointing results.

    Don’t pack flour into a measuring cup: You can end up with 20% more flour than intended. Instead, use a measuring cup that is exactly one cup to the brim. Fill to overflowing with a scoop or spoon, then level it off with a knife.

     

    Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

    And be sure to use the right flour. The wrong type of flour (or too much flour) can result in a tough, dry product. Too little flour can cause a cake to collapse.

    Put your baker’s thinking cap on and you’ll be fine.

    Thanks to Chef Louis Eguaras for this tip.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: More Uses For Squash

    Now that we’re into winter squash season, expand your use of squash beyond a dinner vegetable. Squash can be sauteed, steamed, oven roasted, grilled, mashed, puréed and made into soup.

    But don’t overlook savory or sweet squash soufflé and squash pie (pumpkin is a squash, but you can make pies with butternut squash and other varieties). Add squash to stews and casseroles. Season it with your favorite spices (we like nutmeg and cinnamon) and fresh herbs. Make squash fries (like sweet potato fries).

    Acorn and butternut squash are delicious vegetables that also can be puréed into a dip or hors d’oeuvre.

    SQUASH DIP RECIPE
    1. Bake or steam a 2-pound squash.
    2. Place the flesh in a food processor with 1 tablespoon orange juice, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon orange rind and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Blend on high for one minute or until smooth.
    3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

     

    Autumn Comfort Mac & Cheese incorporates
    butternut squash, pancetta, cavatappi and a
    variety of cheeses. Photo courtesy Tillamook Cheese.

    4. Spoon or pipe into vegetable chips (Terra Chips are excellent), potato chips or mushroom caps; or serve with crudités.

    Try these squash recipes, too:

  • Autumn Comfort Mac & Cheese
  • Butternut Squash Gratin
  • Cream Of Winter Squash Soup
  • Maple-Glazed Leg Of Lamb With Butternut Squash Purée
  • Dessert Recipes

  • Butternut Squash Dessert Ravioli With Maple Syrup, Pears, Apples & Walnuts
  • Butternut Squash Soufflé (a lighter version of pumpkin pie)
  • Check out our Squash Glossary, THE NIBBLE’s most popular article.

    Comments

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