THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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NEWS: New Butter Convenience From Land O Lakes

If you use salted butter, Land O Lakes has some new packaging that may make your life easier—or at least, keep your butter fresher. Butter is a very delicate product, and picks up flavors and scents adrift in your refrigerator. If you’re not a big butter user, and have a stick unwrapped for a couple of weeks, you’ve no doubt detected it. Contrary to what refrigerator designers might think, you should not leave your stick of butter unwrapped on that tray in your “butter compartment.” It needs to be wrapped tightly in the paper or foil it came in. If you’re not going to use all of the sticks you bought, freeze the extra until you need it, in the carton or packaging it came in (but to protect it from absorbing freezer odors, place the carton in double plastic freezer bags). For more advice on giving your butter the TLC it needs, read our Butter Tips.   Land O Lakes Half Butter Sticks
The new “Half Stick” in the front, compared to full butter stick at rear.
But back to Land O Lakes: Now, you’ll be able to buy a 1-pound package of Land O Lakes salted butter that contains eight 2-ounce/one-quarter cup “Half Sticks” (a half-pound package of Half Sticks has been available since 2006, and only Land O Lakes offers this smaller-size stick). The original pound package with four full-length, quarter-pound sticks is still available, but the Half Sticks provide the convenience of not having to cut or rewrap partially used sticks for recipes, or to keep the butter fresher in the refrigerator. Initially, Half Sticks will be available in 21 states along the Eastern Seaboard and Southeastern portions of the U.S. The products are only available in the salted variety because America prefers salted to unsalted butter by 4:1. Not us!! We use unsalted butter exclusively, and when we want to serve salted butter, we top it with sea salt crystals—tastier, prettier and better for you because of the nutrients in sea salts. (Learn more about sea salts.)Learn more about butter:
– See almost 100 butter terms in our Butter Glossary. If you’re looking for the difference between Danish-style butter and European-style butter, or the difference between Bercy butter and beurre blanc, this is the place.
– Check out the History Of Butter, from the beginning to present. Recorded use of butter dates to 2,000 years before Christ. The word butter comes from bou-tyron, which means “cow cheese” in Greek.Visit the Butter Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine for our favorite artisan butters, butter competition winners and recipes for flavored butter.

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NEWS: Award-Winning Cheesemaker Buys Cannabis Cave

Fermo Jaeckle, CEO of award-winning Wisconsin cheese-maker Roth Käse, has purchased a 6,000-square-foot underground cave in Dixon Springs, Tennessee that was the center of a marijuana-growing operation. The cave was purchased in a state auction in December for $250,000. It was bought not by the cheese company, but privately by Jaeckle and other investors. The new owners plan to turn the subterranean cave into a cheese aging and curing facility and an agritourism destination. Located about 40 miles northeast of Nashville, the cave made national headlines in 2005 after a Drug Enforcement Task Force busted an elaborate cannabis-growing operation there. Besides a massive cannabis growing room, parts of which are 20 feet high, the cave was also outfitted with a ventilation system, elaborate lighting, offices, a kitchen, bedrooms, restrooms and an escape hatch. However interesting that sounds, Roth Käse’s headquarters in southern Wisconsin were built to resemble a Swiss chalet (after the country’s Swiss heritage) with some of the most impressive high-tech equipment you can imagine.   Roth Kase Gran Queso Cheese
Roth Käse’s GranQueso, a versatile Manchego-style cheese, has won many awards, including a First Place Award at the 2004 American Cheese Society Competition and a Gold Medal at the 2005 World Cheese Awards in London.
The cave’s natural, consistent temperature, which ranges from from 57° to 59° Fahrenheit year round, is perfect for aging cheeses. Because the cave is on a steep grade and not on a city sewer line, it is not ideally situated for cheese-making. Instead, the owners will partner with local producers to age and cure their cheeses. The owners intend to form a partnership with Roth Käse to distribute products processed at the property.

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REVIEWS: Baking Up A Storm

Elizabeth Falkner, Demolition Desserts
Elizabeth Falkner proposes everything from
The Real McCoy Ice Cream Sandwich to Blueberry Paper.
  We put an ace baker to work, finding the best new baking cookbooks. After baking up a storm, here’s Part I of her recommendations (Part II arrives next month):

Classic Stars Desserts, by Emily Luchetti, executive pastry chef at Jeremiah Tower’s pioneering San Francisco restaurant, Stars
Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts, recipes from the famed San Francisco sweet spot, Citizen Cake
The Greyston Bakery Cookbook, by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, featuring recipes from a community bakery in The Bronx whose brownies are used by Ben & Jerry’s
Pure Dessert, by Alice Medrich, one of the Bay Area’s legendary bakers, called “The First Lady of Chocolate”If you’d rather buy a great dessert than bake one, check out the Cookies and Desserts & Ice Cream sections of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Almond Day

Go nuts—it’s National Almond Day. This versatile nut is not just a snack or baking ingredient but a flavor-enhancer in sandwiches and salads—and of course, slivered on green beans. Almonds can purchased whole, slivered, chopped and in stick form (we like the elegance of slivers). Try smoked almonds, too: They really perk up egg, tuna, chicken and green salads. Almonds are high in vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. Our favorite foods with almonds:- Almondina low-calorie cookies
Enstrom’s Almond Toffee, our favorite toffee (it’s kosher, and also available in sugar-free)
Lake Champlain Almond Buttercrunch (also kosher)
Dolcielo’s Amureo Brownies, made with apricots marinated with Amaretto Di Saronno plus large chunks of almonds
Frontier Soups Asparagus Almond Soup
Minnie Beasley’s Lace CookiesNatasha’s Health Nut Cookies, made with almond flour, low carb, low cal, gluten free
  Almond Brownie - Dolcielo
Dolcielo’s Amureo Brownie
, laden with
Amaretto-marinated apricots and large chunks of almonds.
Pariya Foods Almond Nougat, our favorite nougat
Peeled Snacks Fig-Sated, our favorite healthy snack with figs, dates, almonds and pistachios
Poco Dolce Almond and Coconut Almond Chocolate Tiles with sea salt
Recchiuti Burnt Caramel Almonds
Vosges Chocolate Barcelona Bar, dark milk chocolate, roasted almonds and sea salt
Sophia’s Sweets Panforte, gluten free
Terra Medi Green Olive and Almond Bruschetta

Recipes:
Almond Biscotti recipe from Mario Batali
Almond Hummus
Chocolate Almond Beet Torte from Michael Recchiuti
Mulled Wine With Almonds

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ARTICLE: Gouda, Holland’s Most Famous Cheese

Gouda
Most people are familiar with small, red-waxed Goudas from the supermarket. We’ve found glorious Goudas that will change your mind about this cheese.
  As with neckties, politics and diets, various cheeses go in and out of fashion. The best-known cheese from The Netherlands, Gouda’s reputation has been in decline for some time. Some connoisseurs sniff that it’s a bland cheese with no character. It’s true that most Goudas are milder cheeses, smooth-textured and even buttery. Mass-produced Goudas, which are the only kind most Americans have experienced, can indeed be lackluster and dull. But there’s a whole little world of small creameries out there, producing Goudas in more varieties than you knew existed. And aged Goudas, which too few Americans have tasted, are a thing of beauty, with crunchy, tyrosine crystals and the taste of caramel. By the way, Holland is a southern region of The Netherlands, where Gouda originated. Since Gouda was never name protected, cheese called Gouda can be made anywhere in the world. Some fine artisan Goudas are made in the U.S., as you’ll discover in this article. Go Gouda—read all about it. Discover many other fine cheeses, and learn a lot about cheese, in the Cheese Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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