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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.

TIP OF THE DAY: Use Lemon, Not Salt

Sunkist has a recommendation for people who should cut down on their salt intake—and that’s just about all of us.

They call it the S’alternative Choice. It’s lemon juice, an excellent substitute for salt.

The average American consumes twice the amount of recommended sodium daily. Uh oh.

Even if you’re in great shape now, as you hit middle age, the excess sodium can create serious problems.

While much of the salt we consume is in prepared and processed foods, you can reduce the salt in recipes—including proteins, grains, soups, salads, rubs and seasoning mixes—up to 75% without compromising flavor.

Sunkist commissioned a study at Johnson & Wales University to explore how to reduce salt with citrus. Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos worked with Sunkist to develop what they call the “optimal blend”:

In everyday cooking, use 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon zest before/during cooking. Finish cooked food with 2-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice.

Here are other ways to substitute for salt:

   

lemons-salt-cookingsf-230

Use more lemon juice, less salt. Photo courtesy Cooking San Francisco. Chart image courtesy Sunkist.

 

lemon-salt-chart-sunkist-520

 

510937_salt_shaker-230

Salt is not necessarily your friend. Develop
good salt habits. Photo by Ramon Gonzalez |
SXC.

 

YOUR DAILY SODIUM LIMITS

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the USDA Center For Nutrition Policy And Promotion recommend that Americans consume less than:

  • 2,300 mg of sodium per day for adults in good health.
  • 1,500 mg of sodium per day for children or for adults who are 51 and older or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
  •  
    How much sodium is in your daily diet? You’d be shocked. For just one day, write down everything you eat. Packaged foods will have the sodium on the nutrition label; you can look up other foods online.

    Excessive sodium intake has been linked to health problems such as high blood pressure, cancer and osteoporosis. According to a 2010 study by Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS, director of the University of California Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital:

    If every American reduced his or her daily sodium intake by 400 milligrams, 32,000 heart attacks, 20,000 strokes and 28,000 deaths could be prevented each year.

     

    This is not just a warning for adults: The habits kids develop for stay with them for life.

    Get the facts on sodium, learn helpful tips and discover healthy the alternatives. Visit SunkistSalternative.com.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Italian Hot Dogs

    mozzarella-pesto-turkey-dog-jennieo-230

    Hot dogs, Italian style. Photo courtesy
    Jennie-O.

      What do you like on your hot dog? Pickle relish and onions? Sauerkraut? Chili?

    How about marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and pesto?

    That’s the suggestion from Jennie-O, maker of turkey franks.

    Prep time is under 15 minutes, total time is 30 minutes.

    RECIPE: ITALIAN HOT DOGS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 turkey franks
  • 4 hot dog buns, split
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • ½ ball (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn
  • ½ cup roasted red bell peppers strips
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE grill for medium heat. Grill franks according to package direction.

    2. GRILL buns, cut side down, until golden brown. Spread inside buns with marinara sauce. Add mozzarella and bell peppers. Place on grill, close lid.

    3. GRILL 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from grill. Add franks. Top with pesto.
     
    Perhaps you should serve these with a glass of Chianti instead of a beer?
     
    MORE HOT DOG RECIPES

  • Gourmet Hot Dog Recipes, Part 1
  • Gourmet Hot Dog Recipes, Part 2
  • Bacon Cheese Hot Dogs Recipe
  •  
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Parmesan Zucchini Crisps

    When we look at zucchini prices in the winter months, we think ahead to the summer months and all the zucchini dishes we’re going to make.

    This weekend, we’re serve these zucchini crisps with Prosecco, although they go with any wine, beer or cocktail and make a fine side dish or snack-in-front-of-the-TV.

    They’re baked, not fried; and combine the best aspects of cheese and salty snacks in the form of a serving of green vegetables. Yes, it’s another way to trick the veg-resistant into eating more veggies!

    The zucchini crisps (chips) are also easy to make. Thanks to XBar at the Hyatt Regency, Los Angeles, for the recipe.

    The better the Parmesan cheese you use, the tastier the crisps. If you’re a fan of panko, Japanese bread crumbs, you can use them to amp up the dish.

    RECIPE: PARMESAN ZUCCHINI CRISPS

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    zucchini-parmesan-crisps-xbarhyattregencyLA-230

    This salty snack includes a serving of vegetables! Photo courtesy Hyatt Regency | LA.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 450°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

    2. SLICE zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Toss the zucchini with olive oil in a medium bowl.

    3. COMBINE the cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Dip the zucchini rounds into the cheese mixture, coating each side. Place the rounds in a single layer on the baking sheet.

    4. BAKE the rounds until browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Enjoy them warm or at room temperature.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Godiva Soft Serve Ice Cream

    godiva-swirl_praline-cone-230

    We’re in heaven with a Godiva softserve swirl
    in an almond praline cone. Photo courtesy
    Godiva Chocolatier.

     

    When it comes to soft serve ice cream, some fans say that the best is at Dairy Freeze in Boston. Others cite Christy’s Tasty Queen in Kansas City.

    Without going to those establishments or any others, we opine that the best soft serve ice cream is at Godiva Chocolatier boutiques.

    Godiva has launched a premium soft serve ice cream, and it is spectacular.

    First, chose your flavor: Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate Vanilla Bean or Swirl. The softserve is made with Godiva chocolate, which makes it more intensely, more deliciously flavored right off the bat.

    Godiva designed custom soft serve machines to deliver the densest, creamiest mouthfeel.

    And it gets better: There are crunchy Belgian waffle cones. Choose from plain, dipped in either milk or dark chocolate, or our favorite, dark chocolate with praline almonds (shown in the photo).

    Don’t like cones? You can have your softserve in a five ounce cup.

    We had the opportunity to try all three flavors recently at the Godiva boutique in Rockefeller Center (52 West 50th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenues). What happiness!

    And it doesn’t break the calorie bank. A large waffle cone with softserve is 380 calories in a plain cone, 470 in the almond praline cone. It’s worth every calorie.

     
    More good news:

    Bring A Friend To Happy Hour

    During Godiva Happy Hour, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, the second cone is half price.

    We also noted on the company website that there are punch cards for the soft serve and the Trufflelata shake: Buy six in any combination, the next one’s free.

    What better way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month than with a great new soft serve ice cream?

    Go for the Godiva, ladies and gents! Go often!

    Use this store locator to find the Godiva store nearest to you.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pie Dough Crumb Topping Sundae

    It’s the reverse of pie à la mode; perhaps it should be called an ice cream crumble.

    Today’s tip was inspired by The Strawberry Barbara, a sundae from McConnell’s Ice Cream in Santa Barbara.

    McConnell’s marries strawberry ice cream, house made rhubarb sauce (think rhubarb pie filling) and pie crust crumbles, topped with whipped cream.

    You can build the sundae in a bowl or a sundae dish, on a dessert plate or even in a large wine goblet.

    You can also use the topping on puddings and yogurt.

    RECIPE: PIE DOUGH CRUMBLES #1

    Ingredients

    Ingredients For The Pie Dough Crumbs

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  •    

    strawberry-sundae-pie-dough-crumbles-mcconnellsicecream-230

    Strawberry ice cream with pie dough crumbles. Photo courtesy McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.

     

     

    key-lime-ice-cream-pie-crumbles-mcconnellsicecream-230r

    Key lime ice cream on a bed of crumbles. Photo courtesy McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.

    2. MIX ingredients together large, moist clumps form (we tend to like them on the larger size, about 1/2 inch diameter). If the ingredients stick together too much to make crumbs, add a bit more flour and sugar in a 2:1 ratio until the mixture becomes crumbly.

    3. BAKE on a sheet for 10-15 minutes until golden (but not brown). Let cool; store in an airtight container until ready to use.

    If you’d like crumbles with a deeper flavor, add brown sugar.

    RECIPE: PIE DOUGH CRUMBLES #2

    Ingredients For The Pie Dough Crumbs

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  •  
    ASSEMBLING THE SUNDAE

    Ingredients

  • Ice cream of choice
  • Pie crumbles
  • Whipped cream
  • Optional garnishes: chocolate shavings, diced fruit, sauce, sprinkles, etc.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SCOOP ice cream onto a plate. Top with pie crumbles.

    2. ADD garnishes and serve

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Seminole Pride & Blood Orange Meringue Pie

    A Great Juice Story

    Deprived of their original resources, many Native American tribes have fallen into unfortunate circumstances, struggling economically and facing the ills that come with hardship.

    The Seminole Tribe of Florida, through the careful leadership of their elders, managed to overcome such bleak circumstances. The Tribe became self-sufficient through economic development enterprises located on six reservations throughout the State of Florida, one of which is citrus farming.

    Economic success has enabled them to reach out to help struggling Native Nations as well as local communities, through product donations, financial contributions and sponsorships.

    Earlier this year, the Tribe teamed with the Roe family, fourth generation distributors and growers of the Noble brand of fruits and juices, to launch a new brand, Seminole Pride Noble. The line includes natural and organic juices in apple, blood orange, grapefruit, lemonade, orange, orange tangerine, red grapefruit, tangerine and tangerine clementine.

    The operation is committed to sustainable citrus farming and to the environment in general; even the bottles used are 100% sustainable and are made at the juicing facility, keeping the total business carbon footprint environmentally friendly.

       

    seminole-pride-aka-noble-blood-orange-juice-230

    One of 10 Seminole Pride juices. Photo courtesy Noble Juice.

     

    Look for the juices (here’s a store locator), and check out the delicious recipes on the website. A little bit of juice perks up the flavor in everything from salads and slaws to meats and sautéed veggies.

     

    blood-orange-meringue-pie-noblejuice-230

    A tempting blood orange meringue pie, made
    with Seminole Pride Noble blood orange
    juice. Photo courtesy Noble Juice.

     

    RECIPE: BLOOD ORANGE MERINGUE PIE

    You don’t even have to squeeze oranges to make this splendid pie. Just buy the blood orange juice! Prep time 30 minutes plus chilling, bake time 10 minutes plus cooling.

    Instead of a standard pie crust, we used this graham cracker crust recipe from Key lime pie.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup blood orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 9” pie crust, baked from scratch (or to package directions) and cooled
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. MAKE the meringue: In a stand mixer or large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add 6 tablespoons sugar gradually and continue to whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

    3. MAKE the filling: In a saucepan, whisk together the remaining cup of sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in water and blood orange juice, making sure to eliminate any lumps. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter and whisk until melted. Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding ¼ cup of the hot filling mixture to the egg yokes, whisking to combine. Whisk egg yolk mixture into filling mixture. Continue whisking mixture until thick. Remove from heat and pour into cooled pie shell.

    Cover filling with meringue, making sure to seal the edges.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown.

     
    More about blood oranges.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Tequila Day

    No Margaritas today: Celebrate July 24th, National Tequila Day, with a different tequila cocktail.

    Perhaps you’d prefer some tequila ice pops, too.

    Here’s a cocktail suggestion from Tequila Avión, incorporating ripe summer papaya.

    RECIPE: PAPAYA SMASH

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1¼ ounces añejo tequila
  • Slice of fresh papaya
  • ¼ ounce agave nectar
  • ½ ounce Aperol or Campari (see note below)
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Fresh papaya slice for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE a slice of fresh papaya and agave nectar in a mixing glass. Add the tequila Aperol and orange juice. Top off with fresh lime juice. Add ice and give it a good shake.

    2. STRAIN into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a fresh slice of papaya.

       

    papaya-smash-avion-tequila-230

    Papaya and tequila: an inspired combination. Photo courtesy Tequila Avión.

     

     

    avion-anejo-bottle-230

    Anejo tequila is aged for two years, adding
    complex flavors. Photo courtesy Tequila
    Avión.

     

    TEQUILA & COKE

    Those who enjoy a rum and Coke can celebrate with the tequila version. Coffee lovers can buy Avion’s Espresso Tequila and make this cocktail, “The Rally,” with 1 part Avión Espresso Tequila and 2 parts cola.

    Find more recipes at TequilaAvion.com.
     

    APEROL VS. CAMPARI

    Like the better-known Campari, Aperol is an Italian apéritif, a dry alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Other apéritif examples include champagne, gin, pastis, dry sherry (fino or amontillado), vermouth, and any still, dry, light white wine.

    Aperol is milder, less bitter and much lighter in color. Its ingredients include, among others, bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona. Although it tastes and smells much like Campari, Aperol has an alcohol content that is less than half of Campari (Aperol is 11% A.B.V.), with the same sugar content.

    The opposite of an apéritif, a digestif is an alcoholic beverage served after a meal, in theory to aid digestion. Examples include brandy, eaux de vie (fruit brandies), grappa (pomace brandy), liqueurs, and fortified wines such as cream sherry, sweet vermouth, Port, and Madeira.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Veggie Skewers, Veggie Grilling Tips

    We discovered these nifty grill combs from Fusion Brands at Sur La Table. What better way to get everyone to eat more veggies than to skewer and grill them?

    Americans are woefully behind when it comes to eating the recommended 3-5 servings of vegetables a day; and no, spaghetti sauce and ketchup don’t count.

    So make it fun by grilling skewers of veggies while you’re cooking your proteins. Aim to build skewers of 70% veggies, 30% protein; or make all-veggie skewers.

    BEST VEGETABLES FOR GRILLING

    Many different types of vegetables can be grilled, but start with a selection from these:

  • Asparagus: If you loose them between the spokes of the grill, get a grilling basket or a shaker basket.
  • Bell peppers: Grill whole, char and peel, or cut into chunks and grill until just charred around the edges.
  • Corn: Some people leave corn in the husks for grilling. Others like the char that comes from grilling the husked corn. Try both and decide.
  •    

    veggie-skewers-comb-SLT-230

    A fun way to cook and eat veggies. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

  • Eggplant: Slice then into 1/4” pieces and briefly marinate in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and basil.
  • Green beans: Few people think to grill these. All you need is a grilling basket/shaker basket.
  • Mushrooms: Marinate whole portabellas in balsamic vinaigrette for 1 hour; grill over high heat for 10 minutes. Smaller mushrooms can be skewered or grilled in a basket.
  • Onions: Cut crosswise into half-inch slices, skewer and grill over medium heat.
  • Potatoes: Parboil fingerling or new potatoes until they are al dente thread and finish them on the grill.
  • Radicchio or Endive: Quarter, leaving the core in, and serve warm with a vinaigrette.
  • Tomatoes: Cut in half and grill cut-side down; flip halfway through (3-4 minutes), top with pesto and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Zucchini And/Or Summer Squash: Use the eggplant marinade above.
  •  
    GENERAL GRILLING

    Karen Schultz and Maren Jahnke note in their book, Vegetarian Grilling, that vegetables contain far less fat than proteins. They thus require added fat so that they don’t dry out.

    This is done both by marinating and by brushing often with olive oil or other oil. “Be heavy on the brush,” they recommend.

    For more on how to grill vegetables, John Kennedy, in an article on SteakBytes, the blog of Omaha Steaks, offers these tips:

     

    grilling-basket-mr-bar-b-q-amz-230r

    How to keep small veggies from slipping
    through the grill: Use a grilling basket. Photo
    courtesy Mr. Bar-B-Q.

     

    VEGGIE GRILLING TIPS

    1. USE skewers. Skewers are the best way to keep vegetables from rolling around on the grill, and to easily flip to ensure that each side is getting equal contact with the heat. If you don’t want to invest in skewers, you can wrap the vegetables in a sheet of foil, then place the packet on the grill. Use nonstick cooking spray on the foil before adding the vegetables to help prevent sticking.

    2. BRUSH the vegetables with olive oil or canola oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Avoid the temptation of butter, to keep the cholesterol/saturated fat levels low.

    3. SEASON with dried or fresh herbs instead of salt. You’ll add great flavor without increasing sodium levels.

    4. SLICE the vegetables thickly since they will cook fast (unless you want thin, crisp slices). However, denser vegetables take longer to cook: Potato slices require a lot more time than zucchini slices, for example.

     

    5. COOK vegetables directly on the grill at medium-high heat and turn over halfway through cooking.
     
    Do this often, and you’ll eat better while enjoying the superior flavor of grilled vegetables.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: BerryBreeze Refrigerator Air Purifier

    Even if you don’t need an air purifier for your home, you may need one for your fridge.

    BerryBreeze is a 21st-century improvement on the open box of baking soda, left in the refrigerator or freezer to filter migrating aromas from raw and cooked foods.

    But BerryBreeze does more.

    The same process that neutralizes odors also preserves produce, by destroying harmful bacteria and mold that cause fruit and vegetables to decay. The manufacturer claims it will keep produce fresher for up to 10 days, or two to three times longer. The benefit: less waste of food and money, less to toss into the landfill.

    BerryBreeze is a rebranding of a machine called the Ozonator, which you may have seen on TV.

    It runs on four D batteries. The device converts the oxygen in the fridge to ozone (activated oxygen), a powerful oxidizing agent that destroys surface molecules of bacteria and mold. It also defuses ethylene, a gas emitted by numerous fruits (including apples and melons) which speeds up the ripening and rotting of foods.

     

    berry-breeze-230

    The same process that purifies the air helps produce last longer. Photo courtesy BerryBreeze.

     
    We tried it and it did seem to extend the life of fragile raspberries. The fridge smelled better, but the machine isn’t a miracle worker: You have to do your part to tightly cover odorous items and police for rot.

    BerryBreeze is available at retailers nationwide, including Bed, Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods Markets. You can also buy it online at BerryBreeze.com.

    The retail price is $49.95; you supply the batteries.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

    cheesecake-bites-driscolls-230

    How about some cheesecake-stuffed
    strawberries? Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Here’s another no-bake recipe from Driscoll’s berries. Strawberries filled with a simple cheesecake filling are a bite-sized treat and better-for-you option than, say, a slice of strawberry cheesecake.

    For ease of preparation, make the filling and prep the strawberries ahead of time; then assemble just before serving.

    Prep time: 20 minutes, cook time is 5 minutes.

    RECIPE: NO BAKE CHEESECAKE STUFFED STRAWBERRIES

    Ingredients For 20 Pieces

  • 2 packages (16 ounces each) fresh strawberries
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon graham cracker, vanilla wafer or shortbread
    cookies
  •  

    Preparation

    1. LINE a baking sheet with waxed paper. Cut the top off each strawberry and core out the center with a melon baller. Place on the baking sheet and set aside.

    2. BEAT the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and salt with an electric mixer until creamy and evenly blended. Place the cream cheese mixture in a pastry bag or a self-sealing plastic bag with a corner cut off. Pipe the cream cheese mixture into the strawberries.

    3. MELT the chocolate chips in microwave on 50% power or in a bowl set over simmering water. Place the melted chocolate in a pastry bag or a self-sealing plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner. Pipe the melted chocolate over the strawberries. Chill in the fridge to set, at least 15 minutes.

    4. TOP with cookie crumbs and serve on a plate or tray.
     
      

    Comments

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