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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.

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Delicious, Nutritious, Better-For-You Bison

“Meet the better meat,” invites The Bison Council, and we agree.

Bison is a red meat lover’s dream come true. It provides all the flavor of beef (even more, we think!) without the negatives. You can enjoy succulent steaks without high cholesterol and juicy burgers without all the fat. Bison is lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than even chicken and turkey, and is a great source of iron.

Here’s how bison compares nutritionally with other proteins.

The one catch impacts those who like their meat cooked medium-well. Because it has very low fat content (less fat than turkey!), bison must be eaten rare to medium rare (just the way we like our meat!). Tender and juicy, good bison gets raves from every food lover we know.

If you’re concerned because you don’t like rare beef, we still urge you to try rare bison—in fact, how about bison filet mignon or tenderloin roast for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day?

Here’s how to cook bison.

 

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A bison tenderloin roast. Photo courtesy AllenBrothers.com.

 

OH GIVE ME A HOME WHERE THE BISON ROAM

Let us interject a quick lesson: Bison and buffalo are not the same animal. They are cousins in the same family and sub-family, but of different genuses—like the dog and the wolf. Here’s how the taxonomy compares among bison, buffalo and cattle, complete with photos.

Bison is a native American animal; buffalo are the water buffaloes of Africa and Asia. The first Europeans to see bison presumed the huge, shaggy beasts to be another type of buffalo, and the misnomer has lasted for centuries, aided and abetted by the U.S. government’s minting of the “buffalo” nickel. Here’s the difference between bison and buffalo.

And it doesn’t help that the unofficial anthem of the American West (and the official state song of Kansas) was/is “Home On The Range.” The poem, written in the early 1870s in Kansas, was set to music, and the rest is tuneful—if inaccurate—history.
 
THE BISON REVIVAL

Bison once ranged over most of the North American continent: from the Rockies all the way to the East Coast (hence the city of Buffalo, New York), from Mexico north to the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Most American students learn the tragedy of the bison: how the great natural herds were slaughtered to the brink of extinction in the 1870s and 1880s by commercial hunters and sports hunters. The near-extinction also caused the demise of many Native American tribes, who relied on the bison for food, clothing, coverings for their lodges, sinew for bow strings, tools and fuel.

By 1889, the few remaining animals were saved by the combined efforts of William Hornaday, Director of the New York Zoological Park (now the Bronx Zoo) and a small group of private ranchers. In 1905, the American Bison Society was formed to save the bison and provide protect rangeland for the animals. In 1907, some offspring of the bison saved by Hornaday became the nucleus of the present-day herd of 600 in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

Fast forward to the late 20th century: In the 1970s an 1980s, as the high cholesterol content of beef was raised as a health issue, the search for better meat options led to the bison.

Today, the estimated 75 million North American bison of the mid-1800s are greatly reduced but thriving, with an estimated 500,000 animals. They live on approximately 4,000 privately owned commercial ranches; about 15,000 wild bison are free-ranging on protected lands. [Source: Wikipedia]

The bison is the largest land mammal to roam North America since the end of the Ice Age. It is a descendant of ancient animals that crossed the Bering Strait land bridge some 300,000 years ago. Americans can once again see magnificent herds of this noble heritage beast.

 

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A bison burger, with Gorgonzola blended into
the patty. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk
Marketing Board.

 

BISON CUTS

Bison is available in cuts similar to those of beef. You’ll find:

  • Cooked & raw sausages: franks, brats and sausages in different styles
  • Deli meats: bison bacon, bologna, pepperoni, salami
  • Ground: ground meat and burger and slider patties
  • Ribs: back rib racks and short ribs
  • Roasts: brisket, chuck, pot roast, prime rib, rump, sirloin butt, tenderloin (Chateaubriand), tri-tip
  • Steaks: filet mignon, flank, flatiron, hanging tender, ribeye, sirloin, strip
  • Plus: center cut shank (osso buco), jerky, liver, snack sticks, stew meat
  •  

    You can can replace bison in any recipe, from chili and meat balls to kabobs and stir frys. Check out the wealth of beautiful bison recipes from The Bison Council.

    Always look for bison that is 100% USDA certified. Many cuts are also American Heart Association certified—it’s that good for you.

     

    THE BISON COUNCIL

    Just as some beef is tough and some is celestial, so it goes for bison. To have that heavenly bison experience, you need to buy from a good butcher, who buys from a top rancher.

    The Bison Council is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and stewardship of the North American Bison. Members pledge to maintain the highest standards and ideals of animal care and husbandry, sustainability, food safety, purity of ingredients and quality of finished consumer products.

    Charter members include:

  • Carmen Creek Gourmet Bison
  • Chinook Bison Ranch
  • Double T Bison Ranch
  • High Plains Bison
  • Jackson Fork Ranch
  • Wild Rose Meats
  •  

    The website is a wealth of information about bison. Take a look!

      

    Comments

    EASTER: Pink, White & Green Deviled Eggs

    Make these gorgeous pink deviled eggs ahead of time for easy holiday entertaining: They’re perfect for Easter brunch or snacking.

    You can make all of the eggs pink, half pink/half white, or tint some pickle brine light green for a tricolor selection.

    Mix and match your toppings from the list in the recipe or whatever else appeals to you.

    Prep time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: PICKLED PINK DEVILED EGGS

    Ingredients For 20 egg halves

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill or chives
  •  

    Pickled deviled eggs in Easter colors. Photo and recipe courtesy American Egg Board.

     

    For The Marinade

  • 1 jar (16 ounces) beets
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  •  
    Garnishes

  • Capers & chives
  • Crab meat & fresh dill
  • Diced red bell peppers and flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • Small cooked shrimp & chives
  • Smoked salmon
  • Steamed asparagus tips
  • Sweet pickles, sliced jalapeños or pickled jalapeños
  •  

    aunt-nellies-beets-sliced-jar-230

    You only need the beet liquid, so enjoy the
    beets in a salad, on a sandwich (instead of
    tomato) or as a side. Photo courtesy Aunt
    Nellie’s.

     

    Preparation

    Deviled eggs can be made up to 12 hours ahead. Refrigerate them, covered.

    1. CUT eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks to medium bowl. Reserve 20 white halves; finely chop remaining 4 white halves.

    2. MASH yolks with fork. Add finely chopped whites, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper; mix well. Add dill; mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

    3. DRAIN beets, reserving juice (about 2/3 cup). Set beets aside for another use. Combine beet juice, water and vinegar. Arrange egg whites cut side down in shallow container. Pour beet mixture over eggs. Cover tightly. Refrigerate at least several hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

    If you want two or three colors, divide the eggs among the beet brine, plain pickle brine and tinted pickle brine. If using brine, you don’t need the water and vinegar.

    4. REMOVE purple egg whites from beet mixture, pat dry with paper towels. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of yolk mixture into each reserved egg white half. Garnish as desired.

     
    RECIPE TIPS

  • Don’t use the freshest eggs. Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days in advance of cooking. This brief “breather” allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.
  • Easier peeling technique. Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell. To peel a hard-boiled egg, gently tap it on the countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Starting peeling at the large end, holding the egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.
  • Easy mixing and filling method. Combine the filling ingredients in a 1-quart plastic food-storage bag. Press out the air and seal the bag. Press and roll the bag with your hands until the mixture is well blended. Push the filling toward bottom corner of bag. Snip off about a 1/2-inch of corner. Squeeze the filling from bag into the egg whites.
  • Picnic or tailgate tip. Prepare the filling in a plastic bag, as above. Transport the whites and yolk mixture separately in a cooler. Fill the eggs on the spot, pressing filling out of snipped corner of bag.

      

  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Wilted Greens

    If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy green vegetables, have you tried wilting?

    Wilted vegetables are served at some of the finest restaurants in the country, often with a filet of fish or a boned chicken breast on top.
     
    Wilting is a quick cooking technique that involves placing the greens in a hot butter or oil, until they’re barely cooked (i.e., wilted). We actually use a low-calorie technique, blanching the vegetables in simmering broth or stock.

    The Wilting List: Simply add delicate, leafy vegetables—arugula, beet greens, bok choy, chard, collards, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens or turnip greens—to a pan of simmering liquid (broth or water) and they wilt in a minute. barely cook or just “wilt.” As you can see, wilting is also a great way to discover the joys of greens you never eat.

    You can also wilt a medley of three different greens, such as chard, mustard greens and spinach. See the recipe below.

     

    crispy-salmon-wilted-greens-2-SLT-230

    Crispy salmon atop wilted greens. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

     
    Dark leafy greens are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and wilting preserves nutrients and flavor. So why isn’t everybody wilting greens?

    To begin your journey here’s a recipe developed in the Sur La Table test kitchen; more wilting techniques follow.

    RECIPE: CRISPY SALMON ON LEMON-CAPER WILTED GREENS

    You can substitute another vegetable for the spinach and halibut or other firm-fleshed filet for the salmon.

    Ingredients For 4 Sservings

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets with skin
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound spinach, washed and patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Kosher salt or sea salt, plus and freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    mustard-tendergreens-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Wilt me! Have you had these greens before? They’re mustard greens. Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F and position the oven rack in the middle.

    2. PLACE a large oven-proof skillet on the stove over a medium-high heat, and add olive oil. When the oil is just starting to shimmer, add the salmon, presentation side first. Sear to a light-golden brown color, about 2 minutes. Turn the salmon over to the skin-side and transfer to the oven. Bake until the salmon is flaky and slightly pink inside, about 5 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a plate; reserving the skillet and set aside.

    3. PLACE the skillet back on the stove over a medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter begins to foam, add the shallot and garlic and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, spinach, capers, lemon zest, parsley and cream. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    4. SERVE: Spoon the wilted greens mixture onto warmed dinner plates, and place the salmon on top. Serve immediately.

     
     
    BASIC WILTED GREENS

    Don’t worry if it seems like you have too many greens. Big bunches of leafy greens wilt down to flatness.

    Ingredients

  • 2 large bunches chard, kale, mustard greens or others (see list at top), rinsed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TEAR the greens into pieces; discard stems. (Note: We actually enjoy the stems, and keep them on. We also like to keep the leaves whole—we don’t mind cutting them on our plate with a knife and fork. Try it to see which you prefer.)

    2. HEAT the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes. Add the greens and toss to coat. Cover and cook, stirring once, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and serve.

    3. SEASON as you like with balsamic vinegar, chiles, honey, garlic, nutmeg or other favorites. As an option, garnish with toasted pecans or walnuts.
     
    Variations
     
    For breakfast, brunch or lunch, top with poached eggs.

    You can also add ham or bacon, Southern-style, as in this recipe.
     
    STOVE TOP WILTING

    This recipe uses a medley of greens, although you can use only one type or a different combination.

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 large bunch chard, stems removed*, leaves torn
  • 1 large bunch mustard greens, stems trimmed, leaves torn
  • 1 10-ounce bag spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add all greens and stock.

    2. COVER and cook until greens wilt, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Uncover; cook until juices thicken slightly, about 4 minutes.

    3. SEASON with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you like (balsamic vinegar, chiles, garlic, nutmeg, etc.).
     

    SIMPLE MICROWAVE WILTING

    1. WASH the greens in cool water and place in a microwave-safe bowl.

    2. COVER with plastic wrap and punch several holes in the wrap to vent. Microwave on High until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

    3. SQUEEZE out any excess moisture from the greens before seasoning and serving, or adding to a recipe.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Pukka Organic Herbal Teas For Health & Gifting

    There’s lots of herbal tea on the market, but some companies, like Pukka, an organic herbal tea specialist, focus on it.

    The company employs a team of skilled herbalists that pays meticulous attention to the quality of ingredients, ensuring that only the most potent, vibrant herbs are used in their blends.

    In fact, the company is first and foremost a purveyor of top-quality organic herbs.

    While Pukka teas are made according to the healing and wellness philosophies of Ayurvedic medicine, that doesn’t have to be your primary motivation. They also taste great, and are soothing, caffeine-free brews.

    In addition to drinking an infusion of herbs known to aid in digestion, immunity, weight management and so forth, you can drink flowers as well—and perhaps give a box of floral tea as a Mother’s Day party favor—or in an Easter basket for dieters, sugar-avoiders and the health-focused.

  • Elderflower, from the elder tree, has long been used as a sweet tonic.
  • Hibiscus helps rejuvenate and balance.
  • Limeflower is renowned for its relaxing qualities.
  •  

    pukka-herbal-teas-elvirakalviste-230

    An assortment of Pukka teas, ready for the Easter basket or Mother’s Day gifts. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Oat flower is known to calm, nourish and sooth the body and help settle the mind.
  • Rose is known to soothe and has a calming effect on the mind.
  •  
    And these are just a few of Pukka’s 35 varieties. Pukka offers a both unusual and popular herbal blends, including Lemongrass and Ginger, Peppermint and Licorice, Golden Chamomile, Night Time and Lemon Green Tea—all very pleasing to the taste buds. Iced tea can be made from these blends as well.

    See all the varieties at PukkaHerbs.com.

    Each flavor comes in a box with its own charming design, looking like fine wrapping paper.

    A box of 20 sachets retails for $6.95 at Vitamin Shoppe locations nationwide and iherb.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Vegetable Medley With Color

    asparagus-carrots-lecreuset-SLT-230

    Asparagus and carrots in a Le Creuset dutch
    oven. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

     

    The English word “asparagus” derives from the Latin sparagus, derived from the Greek asparagos, which itself derived from the Persian asparag, meaning sprout or shoot. The stalks shoot up from the crown of the plant and, if not harvested, the precious tips grow into fern-like leaves.

    That little tidbit is an introduction to asparagus season. If you’re an asparagus lover, it’s a great time: prices are lower and the flavor is better, since domestic asparagus get to market faster (Peruvian imports, for example, travel weeks by ship).

    Whether you’re looking for different ways to serve asparagus, or a way to cut down on the cost per portion, serve a medley—asparagus with one or two other vegetables.

    We were especially attracted to this handsome combination of asparagus and carrots from Sur La Table, with the carrots cut in lengths to match the shape of asparagus.

    But a memorable spring medley is the “big four” of spring: asparagus, garlic scapes, morel mushrooms and ramps (wild leeks).

    Otherwise, take a look at our list of vegetables by color, and pick your own medley.

    WHAT’S A MEDLEY?

    A medley is a mixture of different things: music, sports, vegetables, whatever. The word comes from the French medler to mix, which entered Middle English.

    A vegetable medley provides the opportunity to create more interest through blending flavors, colors and textures.

    You can grill, roast, sauté or steam your veggies—or enjoy them raw, as crudités with a dip.

    Most people believe that the finest texture and the taste come from the asparagus tips. They are called points d’amour (“love tips”) in French.

    But we enjoy the whole asparagus, including the texture of the stems. Just trim the white stem ends, which are tough.
     
    Asparagus Recipes

  • Asparagus Crostini With Pancetta & A Parmesan Crisp (recipe)
  • Asparagus & Grapefruit Salad (recipe)
  • Asparagus With Linguine & Parma Ham (recipe)
  • 12 More Easy Asparagus Recipes—including frittata, grilled, risotto, sautéed, scramble, sides and spring rolls
  •  

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF ASPARAGUS

    Asparagus has been enjoyed as a vegetable since ancient times. The earliest image is as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 B.C.E. It was also enjoyed in ancient Greece, Rome, Spain and Syria.

    Greeks and Romans ate asparagus fresh in season and dried in winter. The Romans would even freeze it high in the Alps: Emperor Augustus created the “Asparagus Fleet” for transporting the vegetable, and coined the expression “faster than cooking asparagus” to indicate a quick action. [Source: Wikipedia]

    There’s a recipe for cooking asparagus is in the world’s oldest surviving cookbook, Apicius’s “De Re Coquinaria” (“On Cookery”), Book III. It is attributed to a first-century Roman epicurian named Marcus Gavius Apicius, but compiled sometime between the third and fifth centuries.

     

    3-colors-dark-bkgd-australianasparagusgrowners-230b

    The three colors of asparagus. Photo courtesy Australian Asparagus Growers.

     

    And it’s still in print—in the original Latin! There’s an English translation for $10.95, and a translated Kindle edition is free!

    After the fall of the Roman Empire, asparagus seems to have fallen out of favor, reappearing in France in the 15th century and in England and in Germany in the 16th century. It arrived in the U.S. around 1850, and has resumed its position as a sought-after vegetable.

    So don’t let the season escape you: Pick up asparagus on your next trip to the market. It has just three calories per spear, so you don’t need to worry about portion control.

      

    Comments

    EASTER: Maggie Louise Chic Artisan Chocolates

    patent-leather-bunnies-rockstar-eggs-maggielouise-230

    Patent leather bunnies, rock ‘n’ roll eggs.
    Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

    While we know a couple of investment bankers who became chocolatiers, Maggie Louise is the first Harvard lawyer we’ve encountered.

    After a career in corporate law, she trained at Le Cordon Bleu, where she developed the concept for an elegant line of chocolates. She launched Maggie Louise Confections in the Fall of 2013, with a line of modern, chic chocolates that combine art with sophisticated flavors.

    Based in Austin, Texas, the entrepreneur puts a hip and fashionable spin on fine Easter chocolate. Taking inspiration from the tunes at Austin’s South By Southwest musical festival, she created a limited edition Rock ‘n’ Roll Easter assortment:

  • Chocolate Caramel and Sea Salt Easter Eggs, covered in white chocolate with a spatter paint finish.
  • Patent Leather Bunnies, fluffy vanilla marshmallows enrobed in bittersweet El Rey chocolate (El Rey, of Venezuela, is one of the world’s great chocolate producers of chocolate couverture).
     
    The Rock n’ Roll Easter Box retails for $38 and includes 12 eggs and 3 bunnies. There are also Easter Egglets, chocolate with pastel zebra stripes, filled with a mix of peanut butter candy, cream caramel and salted chocolate caramel.

    Get yours at MaggieLouiseConfections.com.

  •  

     

    As a mom, Maggie Louise also has the young ‘uns in mind, with chocolate dinosaurs and robots. For the ladies, there are chocolate charm bracelets and pearls. For everyone, there’s a nifty chocolate fried egg and lizard-patterned s’mores.

    We look forward to working our way through the collection, piece by piece.
     
    The Best Packaging

    We receive many boxes of fine chocolate, but none is more beautifully wrapped than Maggie Louise’s.

    The packaging is very fine and impressive. The chocolate boxes are grand enough to hold good jewelry. Even the tissue paper is a keeper. It’s a great line for gifting.

    If you like fine chocolate, you’ll love perusing the Maggie Louise Confections website. Law’s loss is chocolate’s gain.

     

    plate-of-chocolate-230

    Year-round chocolates. Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 6 Steps To Brewing Better Coffee

    caffe-americano-black-filicorizecchino-230

    It’s easy to brew better coffee. Photo
    courtesy Filicori Zecchino.

     

    Do you buy more coffee outside the home because you can’t brew a better cup of coffee? Consider this checklist to improving your home efforts:

    1. Start with a clean carafe. Coffee has oil that builds up in the carafe. You can’t see it, but it will become rancid, adding unpleasant flavor notes to the brewed coffee. Similarly, if you live in a hard water area and use tap water to brew, you need to remove the with calcium deposits. While most people rinse out the pot before each use, after every few uses you should wash the glass carafe with white vinegar and water, using a scrubbing brush. Just swishing water around doesn’t do the job. Once a month, run a vinegar-water solution through the entire apparatus, per manufacturer’s instructions.

    2. Grind your own beans. It’s less convenient, but coffee beans begin to lose flavor and aroma immediately after grinding. Within two hours, we can taste the difference! It’s better to buy whole beans and grind them immediately prior to brewing.

     
    If you don’t have the will to do it, buy small amounts of ground coffee a few times a week, rather than grinding a pound at a time. Experts advise that vacuum packed ground coffee (it’s what Starbucks uses) will turn out a better brew than beans ground at the market for use the next day or beyond.

    3. Use the correct grind. Drip machines require a medium grind, espresso machines use a fine grind and French press and drips systems require a coarse grind. If the grind isn’t right for the brewing technique, you won’t get enough extraction from the beans.

    4. Don’t use boiling water. Contrary to what most of us have been taught, the temperature of the water should be 200°F, not 212°F. While it doesn’t seem that significant, the extra twelve degrees of heat extract more bitterness and acid from the beans. Good electric coffee makers accommodate for this. If you’re boiling water to pour over ground beans, use a thermometer. You can use any thermometer that measures 200°; Taylor makes a special thermometer for coffee and tea.

     

    5. Use the right amount of coffee. The correct measure is two tablespoons of ground beans per six ounces of water. Machines make a six-ounce cup, not an eight-ounce cup. Be sure to use a coffee scoop or the tablespoon from your measuring spoon set, rather than eyeballing the amount with a regular spoon.

    6. Don’t store coffee in the freezer or fridge. Beans are porous and easily absorb moisture, odors and flavors. Keep the beans, whole or ground, at room temperature in an airtight container. We use the Friis Coffee Vault, an airtight stainless steel canister specially designed to vent carbon dioxide gas that continuously emits from the beans as a result of the roasting process.
     
    WHAT IF YOU HAVE TOO MUCH COFFEE?

  • Brew iced coffee. In the warmer weather, you’ll drink up the coffee faster if it’s iced.
  •  

    friis-coffee-vault-ps-230

    Keep whole or ground beans fresh longer in this special airtight container. Photo courtesy Friis.

  • Make coffee ice cubes. Freeze brewed, cooled coffee in ice cube trays. Pop them into freezer bags and use them to keep the iced coffee cold.
  • Give it away. Offer it to neighbors or co-workers, or donate it to the coffee room at work.
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Curried Egg Salad

    curried-egg-salad-louisemellor-safeeggs-230

    Curried egg salad on toast. Photo courtesy
    Louise Mellor | SafeEggs.com.

     

    To mark the end of National Egg Salad Week, we made a delicious curried egg salad recipe.

    And we did it the easy way, purchasing pre-cooked and peeled hard boiled eggs from Trader Joe’s.

    While we were at it, we picked up some pre-grilled chicken breasts across the aisle, and made a batch of curried chicken salad as well. We did some blending, and decided that we preferred egg salad and chicken salad separately, rather than combined.

    A different on a traditional favorite, this curried egg salad is fresh and invigorating. The recipe is by Louise Mellor for SafeEggs.com.

    Find more egg recipes at SafeEggs.com.

    CURRIED EGG SALAD RECIPE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT hard boiled eggs into small dice.

    2. COMBINE the eggs with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to combine.

    3. FOLD in arugula and serve salad on whole wheat bread or with crackers.

     

    EGG MYTHS

    Davidson’s Safest Eggs are whole raw eggs that have been pasteurized in the shell, using special equipment. Pasteurization kills the salmonella, as does cooking unpasteurized eggs.

    We go out of our way to find Davidson’s Safest Eggs when we’re making Caesar salad, mousse, steak tartare and other recipes that require raw eggs that are not cooked—not to mention making raw cake batter and cookie dough safe enough to enjoy.

    Many people believe different myths about egg safety. Here, Davidson’s puts them to rest:

  • Myth: If the shell of a fresh egg is smooth and un-cracked, it’s safe to eat raw. Nope! Even the most perfect-looking fresh egg can harbor Salmonella germs inside. If the egg has a crack, even a hairline, bacteria from the environment can enter them.
  • Myth: If you wash eggs before use, they’ll be safe. Nope! That’s because the Salmonella bacteria, if present, are usually inside the egg. The microbes come from the reproductive tract of the hen and are passed to the inside of the egg before it hits the nest.
  •  

    trader-joes-package-elvirakalviste-230

    All peeled and ready to eat. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Myth: You can pasteurize fresh eggs at home in the microwave. Nope! A brand like Safest Choice uses a patented process based on extensive scientific development and precision controls. Per the FDA, the equipment to pasteurize eggs isn’t available for home use, and it is not possible to pasteurize shell eggs at home without cooking the contents of the egg.
  • Myth: Organic eggs and brown eggs are safe from Salmonella. While organic eggs come from better fed, better cared for hens, they can still harbor salmonella. The color of the shells is determined by the breed of the hen, and likewise has no impact on safety.
  • Myth: Eggs from a local farm are safer than those from the grocery store. Nope! Chickens harbor Salmonella bacteria, and even eggs from the best family farms can harbor salmonella. Rodents, feed, flies, water, dust and other birds can deliver Salmonella to even the best-cared-for hens.
  • Myth: Generally, eggs that can make you sick will smell or taste “off.” Nope! The bacteria that cause spoilage and “off” aromas and flavors are different from those that cause foodborne illness. Salmonella bacteria in an egg can’t be seen, smelled or tasted.
  • Myth: Salmonella is only in the yolks of raw eggs. If you eat only the raw egg whites, you’re O.K. Nope. While the Salmonella is usually in the yolk, you can’t rule their presence in the egg white.
  • Myth: Egg pasteurization destroys nutrients. Nope! The all-natural water bath pasteurization process does not change the nutritional value of an ordinary egg in any way.
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: The Ataulfo Mango (Champagne Mango)

    ataulfo-champagne_mango-ilovemangoes-230

    The Ataulfo, or Champagne, mango. Photo
    courtesy ILoveMangoes.com.

     

    When you think of mangoes, you may think of the familiar reddish-green mangos, and wonder about the petite golden yellow ones that some people call baby mangoes.

    They’re Ataulfo mangos from Mexico, also commonly called Champagne mangoes, and they’re in season now.

    Mango lovers prefer them to the more prevalent Tommy Atkins cultivar (the red-green ones in the photo below). Their buttery flesh is not fibrous, and their thin pit makes them easier to slice and dice than other varieties.

    The Ataulfo—it was found in a conventional mango grove owned by Mr. Ataulfo Morales—goes by several other names as well: Adaulfo, Adolfo, baby, honey and yellow mango. It is closely related to the Alphonso variety popular in India.

     
    MANGO NUTRITION

    Mangoes deliver sumptuous tropical flavor with easy calories.

  • One cup of mango is just 100 calories, fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free.
  • Mangos contain more than 20 different vitamins and minerals. One cup provides 100% DV of vitamin C, 35% of vitamin A, 20% of folate, 12% of fiber and good amounts of B6, copper, K and potassium.
  •  
    Believed to be native to India, mango trees have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years. The different cultivars come in a rainbow of reds, yellows, oranges and greens and a wide variety of shape, flavor, texture and aroma.
     
    HOW TO ENJOY MANGO

    Our favorite way to eat mango is with a knife and fork, as a delicious fruit snack or dessert (note that the skin can cause stomach irritation, so should not be eaten). Second place goes to mango sorbet.

    But use mango however you would use peaches or pineapples—the two fruits to which mango’s flavor is compared.

  • Beverages: Daiquiri, Margarita, shake with mango sorbet or ice cream, smoothie
  • Breads: muffins and fruit breads
  • Condiments: chutney and salsa
  • Desserts: cobbler, fruit salad, grilled fruit, ice cream or sorbet, pie, pudding, tart, tartlet
  • Fruit Soup: mango gazpacho
  • Mains: poultry, pork, seafood
  • Salads: green salad, shrimp salad
  •  
    Recipes

  • Asian Fruit Salad With Pernod (recipe)
  • Blueberry Mango Cobbler (recipe)
  • Halibut With Mango-Blood Orange Salsa (recipe)
  • Ice Cream With Grilled Mango (recipe)
  • Orange Blossom Waffles With Mangoes & Nutmeg Cream (recipe)
  • Salmon with Cherry Mango Salsa (recipe)
  •  
    Find many more recipes at ILoveMangoes.com.

     

    HOW TO SLICE A MANGO

  • Peel the skin from the flesh with a small, sharp knife.
  • There is a long pit that runs down the center of the length of the fruit. Cut the mango lengthwise down the side of pit to free the first half (called a cheek). Do the same with the other half.
  • Dice or slice the flesh as you wish.
  • We nibble the remaining fruit on the pit in thin slices, although it can be used in sauces or pudding.
  •  
    There’s a second slicing technique that produces the “hedgehog”-like diced effect in the photo above:

  • Without peeling, cut the fruit from the cheeks, using the technique above.
  • Score the flesh into squares, about 1/2- to 3/4-inch in size, cutting up to, but not through, the skin.
  •  

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    The Tommy Atkins mango is the most commonly available in the U.S., due to its hardiness. Photo courtesy National Mango Board.

  • Gently push the mango cheek inside out, which pushes the cubes up and apart.
  • Cut the cubes from the skin to serve, or cut and eat cubes from a mango half with a knife and fork.
  •  
    Peeled and cut fruit will hold at least three days in the fridge, in an airtight container. The flesh may darken a bit, but the flavor changes only slightly. You can tell by the aroma when the time to enjoy it has passed.
     
    RIPENING MANGOES

    Mangoes need to ripen in a warm room. To speed ripening, you can place them in a paper bag.

    Color is not the best way to determine ripeness. Instead, touch and smell: A ripe mango will have a fruity aroma and the flesh will yield to gentle pressure. Unripe mangoes have no scent.

    Ripe mangoes can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The peeled flesh can be dried, frozen, puréed or stewed.
     
    GO FOR THE GOLD

    Ataulfo mangos have only recently gained popularity in the United States, but have been a major crop in Mexico for decades. In season between March and September, they are the second-most popular variety of mango sold in the U.S., behind the Tommy Atkins cultivar.

    And here’s the big tip of the day: The most prevalent mango, the Tommy Atkins, is not considered to be the choicest mango in terms of sweetness and flavor. Retailers prefer it for its very long shelf life and ability to be handled with little or no bruising, which is why it’s the mango offered first and foremost. [Source: Wikipedia]

    So go for the gold: Bring home some Ataulfos and taste the difference.

    The other less common mango varieties found in the U.S. include the Haden and Kent, which appear along with the and Ataulfo and the Tommy Atkins in spring and summer; and the orange and green Keitt from Australia, which comes from Australia in the fall (and has a lemony note to the flesh).

    Many people attest that mangoes taste best right off the tree, fresh and succulent. So if you’re in Florida, Mexico or other mango haven, see if you can seek out the experience, called by one expert “a taste experience you’ll never forget.”

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Scripture Cake For Easter

    gluttony-230-ps

    Fun for foodies: Gluttony focuses on the
    great feasts of history. Photo courtesy Ten
    Speed Press.

     

    In her new book, GLUTTONY: More IS More” (Red Rock Press), Nan Lyons, known for the wonderful novel and movie, Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe, describes some of the most lavish feasts and singular dishes through culinary history.

    From the ancient Greeks and Romans to the founding chefs of classic cuisine—Carême, Escoffier and Brillat-Savarin—to the breathtaking appetites of history’s prize eaters (King Henry VIII and Diamond Jim Brady, for example), Ms. Lyons plumbs the path of gluttony with wit and style.

    Travel the paths of the the rich and famous who enjoy history’s greatest banquets and richest dishes. The book is illustrated with classical art works of people enjoying their food.

    The icing on the cake: You and your guests can eat like these lucky gourmands. A portfolio of recipes, created by food editors and writers E. Clarke Reilly and Sylvia Carter, adapts some of the book’s luxurious dishes for contemporary cooks.

    The book is available in hardcover and Kindle editions.

     

    This recipe, from the recipe portfolio, is simple and Easter-appropriate: Scripture Cake, made with ingredients from the Bible.

     

    SCRIPTURE CAKE

    Ingredients

  • 1½ cups chopped dried figs (Nahum 3:12)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2¼ cups water (Judges 4:19)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (Revelation 18:13)
  • 1 cup softened butter (Psalms 55:21)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (I KINGS 10:2)
  • 2 cups sugar (Jeremiah 6:20)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons honey (Exodus 3:8)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 eggs (Isaiah 10:14)
  • 1 cup milk (Genesis 18:8)
  • 3¾ cups flour (Leviticus 24:5)
  • 1¾ cups chopped almonds (Numbers 17:8)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (II Kings 2:20)
  • 1½ cups raisins (I Samuel 30:12)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (Amos 4:5)
  •  

    scripture-cake-gluttony-redrockpress-230r

    The Scripture Cake from Gluttony. Photo courtesy Sylvia Carter.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 300°F. Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan.

    2. SIMMER figs and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until figs are very soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

    3. CREAM together butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl, until light and fluffy. Add honey. Then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix until well blended.

    4. PURÉE cooled figs and water until smooth. Strain purée through triple cheese-cloth to yield about a cup of fig essence.

    5. SIFT together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a clean bowl. Combine fig essence with milk and alternately mix fig milk and dry ingredients with egg mixture, ending with the dry mixture. Fold in chopped almonds and raisins.

    6. POUR batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour and 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few crumbs on it.

    7. COOL for 20 minutes and then remove from pan and cool completely on cake rack. Makes 16 servings.
     
    We added a side of bourbon whipped cream as a garnish.

      

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