THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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TIP OF THE DAY: Low-Calorie Fruit Kabobs

If you’re ready to switch gears after chocolate-filled Valentine’s Day festivities, fruit kabobs with yogurt dip are a sweet transition—low-calorie and healthy, too. For a snack or light dessert, simply skewer pineapple chunks, melon balls, berries, grapes, orange segments—whatever catches your eye in the produce section—in interesting patterns (or, serve them as fruit salad). You can make an easy yogurt dip from one cup of vanilla yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. The diet dip version substitutes plain, fat-free yogurt and 2 packets of sweetener—hold the honey. Our favorite plain, fat-free yogurt, FAGE Total, is so delicious, we’re happy with the fat-free version. Read our review of FAGE Total Yogurt. Find more low-calorie foods in the Diet Nibbles Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Yogurt
Make fruit kabobs with berries, grapes, pineapple, etc.; or just enjoy this delicious and healthy snack as a fruit salad with yogurt topping.
 

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Creme-Filled Chocolates Day

raspberry-cream-230

Strawberry cream fills this chocolate bonbon from Fanny May.

  Fittingly, February 14, Valentine’s Day, is also National Creme-Filled Chocolates Day.

Cream-Filled chocolates were made possible by Jean Neuhaus, the Belgian chocolatier who invented the first hard chocolate shell in 1912. Using molds, it enabled fillings of any kind and consistency—creme, whipped cream, soft caramel, light ganache, liqueurs, etc.

Previously, only solid centers like caramels and nut pastes could be enrobed in chocolate—anything else would have leaked out. In enrobing, the center—marzipan, fruit jelly or nuts in caramel, for example—were hand-dipped into liquid chocolate. The center had to be solid enough to be held and hand-dipped.

With Neuhaus’ chocolate molds, chocolates could now be made in pretty shapes, too—flowers, butterflies, fleur-de-lis, crowns, berries and others that are now familiar to us.

 
Thanks, Jean Neuhaus, for vastly expanding our world of chocolate bonbons. Today, bonbons with chocolate shells are known as Belgian style, and dipped chocolates as French style.

Some chocolatiers work in only one style, some create a mixture of both. Chocolate shells have a thicker chocolate covering than dipped chocolate, so consumers have their preferences, based on whether they like more chocolate flavor or more flavor of the center.

Read more about filled chocolates, a.k.a. bonbons, in our article on chocolate truffles and ganache in the Chocolate Section of THE NIBBLE webzine.
 
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH CREME VS. CREAM?

The difference between cream and creme is just the spelling.

Creme is an Americanization of the French word for cream, crème—pronounced KREHM, with l’accent grave, the downward sloping accent mark that turns the “e” sound into “eh.”

Creme was most likely first used in the U.S. to make the dish sound more special: a creme pie versus a cream pie, for example.

But why mispronounce and misspell another language’s word for cream, or create a new spelling when there’s a perfectly good and accurate existing word?

That, dear reader, is the challenge of allowing “amateurs” to name things. In France, the Académie Française, established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, is the pre-eminent authority for matters pertaining to the French language, and publishes an official dictionary of the French language. In recent years, a committee of 40 had to rule on whether newer words like “le computer” are permitted in the dictionary, as opposed to French for “a machine that computes information.”

Back to creme vs. cream: Unless it’s a French recipe with an appropriate accent, such as Coeur à la Crème, stick to cream.
 
  

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TIDBITS: The Difference Between Kettle Chips And Conventional Potato Chips

What exactly are “kettle chips,” such as those made by Boulder Canyon, our Top Pick Of The Week (see the previous post)?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Potato chips, invented in 1853 in Saratoga, New York, were originally called Saratoga chips (the history of potato chips).

By the 1920s, every town in the U.S. had its own chip maker, or “potato chipper.” The chip maker sliced up potatoes and fried them one batch at a time in a small kettle.

The chips got soggy quickly in the days before vacuum packaging (or even airtight bags), and needed to be purchased fresh (see the history for the invention of the potato chip bag).

The continuous fryer was invented in 1929, creating tremendous economies of scale and driving most of the small, kettle cookers out of business.

By the 1940s, automation had evolved to change much of America’s artisan food production into mass production, including potato chips.

Potato farmers bred the natural sugars out of potatoes to accommodate mass production, because the natural, variable sugar content required individualized attention to know when the batch was done. That can’t happen in mass production.

The result: Brands like Lay’s and Wise, which sell many millions of bags a year, are certainly popular; but their flavor is only a shadow of the former gustatory glory of the potato chip, made in small batches with more flavorful potatoes.

Hence, the resurgence of the artisan chip.

Today’s “kettle chips” are a return to the thicker, small-batch chips made with top ingredients (you can use some of the best brands to construct fancy hors d’oeuvres, as shown in photo #2).

While today’s “kettles” are fryers much larger than the original stovetop kettle, they are still small in comparison to mass-produced chips.

Don’t be afraid to spend more: With many brands, it really is a superior potato.

  • Read more about potato chips in the Snacks Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
  • Fry your own kettle chips with this recipe.
  •   Artisan Potato Chips

    Potato Chip Garnish
    The right chip is not just a good snacker: It creates sexy hors d’oeuvres. [1] Saratoga Chips, the original branded chip (photo The Nibble). [2] A house-made waffle chip as an hors d’oeuvre garnish (photo courtesy Kettle Brand chips.

     
      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Boulder Canyon Potato Chips

    Boulder Canyon Potato Chips
    Two of our favorite flavors of Boulder Canyon potato chips: Hickory Barbecue (front) and Parmesan &
    Garlic.
      The second potato chip to be named a Top Pick Of The Week by THE NIBBLE specialty food magazine is the polar opposite of our first. North Fork Naturals, the first top chip, offers classic potato and sweet potato chips. Boulder Canyon pulls out all the stops to present seven flavors plus “original” all natural potato chips.* These thickly-sliced, small-batch kettle chips are flavor-forward in a delightful way: You know what you’re tasting, and it tastes good. Whether as a casual snack with a beer, a more tony encounter with a martini, a side with a sandwich or a more creative pairing (garlic chips are killer with cucumber-yogurt dip), you’ll understand the difference between a chip off the same old block and a chip that belongs at the Ritz.The kettle chips are made in Balsamic Vinegar & Rosemary, Hickory Barbecue, Jalapeño Cheddar, Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt, Parmesan & Garlic, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Spinach & Artichoke and Totally Natural/Original. We do have some favorites. Read the full review to find out what they are. Find more of our favorite salty treats in the Snacks Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
    *There are also three crinkle-cut flavors.

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    RECIPE: Easy Valentine’s Day Dessert

    If you still don’t have a special Valentine’s Day dessert, you can pick up these ingredients and have something special in 5 minutes.

    Kozy Shack’s Chocolate Covered Strawberries all-natural pudding and pie filing is the first in a new line of Limited Edition products from the pudding company. This flavor, available through April 1st, drops large pieces of strawberries into a very satisfying chocolate pudding.

    The recipe for the Chocolate-Strawberry Cream Pie is on the package, but we’ve included it below. The pudding is delicious right out of the container and as an ingredient in other desserts.

  • If you can’t get hold of this limited-edition flavor, buy the regular chocolate pudding and stir in some diced strawberries, fresh or frozen.
  • If you prefer real whipped cream to frozen whipped topping and have an extra 10 minutes to stabilized whipped cream that doesn’t collapse (deflate), see the recipe below.
  •  
    RECIPE: EASY CHOCOLATE-STRAWBERRY PUDDING PIE

    Ingredients

  • 1 eight-inch pre-made pie shell (regular or chocolate crust)
  • 22-ounce container Kozy Shack Chocolate-Covered Strawberries Pudding
  • Whipped topping
  • Fresh strawberries and shaved chocolate to garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the pudding the into pie shell and spread evenly.

    2. COVER the entire surface of the pie with whipped topping. Place in the freezer for an hour.

    4. REMOVE, slice and serve.

      Kozy Shack Pie

    Kozy  Shack Chocolate Pudding Recipe
    Make this pie in 5 minutes with Kozy Shack’s Chocolate Covered Strawberries pudding and pie filling. Photos courtesy Kozy Shack.

     
    RECIPE: STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM WITH GELATIN

    Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the gelatin and cold water in a small pan; let stand until the mixture is thick. Then place the pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat. Let it cool, but do not allow it to set.

    2. WHIP the cream with the sugar until slightly thick. While slowly beating, add the gelatin to whipping cream. Whip at high speed until stiff.
     
    Visit KozyShack.com for more recipes, and check out the recipe collection in the Desserts & Ice Cream Section of THE NIBBLE webzine.
      

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