THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

PRODUCT: Red, White & Blue Champagne

Chandon, Moet et Chandon’s sparkling wine from Napa Valley, has been issuing a limited-edition red, white and blue bottle of its brut sparkling wine for the past six years; a different design each year.

Founded in 1973 by venerable French champagne house Moët & Chandon, Chandon was the first American sparkling wine venture established by a French Champagne house in Napa Valley. Its Napa Valley vineyard holdings, Chandon grows the traditional French champagne grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.

They also create limited-edition bottles for New Year’s Eve; but let’s get back to the red, white and blue.

The bottles of Chandon Brut in American flag colors bottle was so popular, that three years ago the winery launched a companion bottle of Chandon Rosé.

If you’re pouring bubbly over Memorial Day and Independence Day weekends, these peak-chic bottles are the ones to pour.

It’s the same delicious Chandon Brut and Rosé, in standard sizes and minis—the latter a festive party favor.

The bottles, officially called the American Summer Limited Edition, are available Memorial Day through Labor Day at select retailers.

If your wine and liquor store doesn’t carry them, they can order them for you by the case. You can purchase them at Chandon.com as well.

  • Limited Edition Brut Classic Summer 2017 is $26.00/750 ml bottle, $310/case. Minis (quarter bottles) are $8/bottle, $192/case.
  • Limited Edition Rosé Summer 2017 is $28.00/50 ml bottle, $336/case. Minis are $9/bottle, $262/case.
  •  
    WHY IS ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE MORE EXPENSIVE?

    Whether from Champagne or another region of the world that produces sparkling wines*, sparkling rosé champagne is typically more expensive than sparkling white wine.

    That’s because making it is more labor-intensive and time-consuming.

    There are two ways to make rosé champagne. We’ll start off with the fact that there are two main wine grapes grown in the Champagne region: chardonnay (white grapes) and pinot noir (black grapes†). Champagne can be made from:

  • All white grapes, called blanc de blanc (meaning, white wine [champagne] from white grapes), made from chardonnay grapes and possibly some blending grapes. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is an example (here are more). “Blanc de blancs” will be on the label.
  • All red/black grapes, called blanc de noirs, made from pinot noir and/or pinot meunier grapes. The term means literally “white of blacks,” a white wine made from black grapes), These are more limited and more costly. Examples include Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Francaises Blanc de Noirs and Krug Clos d’Ambonnay (here are others). Here are others.
  • A combination. Most champagnes are a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir.
  •  
    How Sparkling Rosé Is Made

    Making a rosé takes extra steps. The most common method in the Champagne region is to blend still red wine into the champagne. The red wine produces deeper, more robust red fruit aromas.

    The other approach, used by the top houses, is more complicated and more costly. During the part of the juice fermentation called maceration, the winemaker allows skin contact of the red grape skins, with the pressed white juice.

     

    July 4th Champagne

    Moet et Chandon Champagne

    Rose Champagne Flutes

    [1] Chandon’s 2017 American Summer Limited Edition sparkling wines (photo courtesy Chandon). [2] Moet and Chandon, the famed French champagne, planted its grape vines in Napa Valley to produce Chandon. [3] Rosé bubbly adds even more festiveness (photo Jacek Kadaj | Fotolia).

     
    The process is very carefully monitored to extract the color, tannin and flavor compounds from the skin. It produces a more delicate flavor than blending in red wine.

    (Champagne trivia: The coveted pale salmon color known as oeil-de-perdrix, partridge eye, which dates to the Middle Ages in Champagne. It gave its name to a style of rosé wine made in Switzerland. Here’s more information.)

    Champagne houses pride themselves a consistent house style. The challenge with either approach to making rosé champagne is to create the same color year after year, even though the blend of grapes changes based on the harvest (i.e., the sweetness and other properties of the harvested grapes).

    But…back to summer sipping: A sparkling wine lighter than champagne is best in the outdoor heat. Here are the different types of sparkling wine and sparkling rosé.

    ________________
    *Legally, only sparkling wine produced in the French region of Champagne can be called champagne. Everything else is properly called sparkling wine.

    †Red wine grapes are referred to as black in the industry. Depending on varietal, they can range from dark red to purplish black in color.

    ‡By law, arbane, petit meslier, pinot blanc and pinot gris can also be used in the blend. Some producers use them to round out the flavors; but these grapes comprise just a fraction of the the grapes grown in the region.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Fix Runny Fruit Pies

    Fruit pies are one of the joys of summer. But once you cut into your beautiful pie, the juice and fruit can spill out of the crust and into the space of the piece of pie you’ve just removed.

    Unhappily called a lava flow, pan puddle or slump—or simply runny pie—you can eliminate it through experimentation with types and amounts of thickeners.

    You want your pie filling to hold its shape. Where do you begin? Here’s a detailed matrix from P.J. Hamel of King Arthur Flour, who advises that every recipe needs testing until it meets your satisfaction. There is no one perfect solution.

    Why? Each fruit has a different amount of pectin, a natural thickener. Each type of added thickener has a different thickening power, based on the percentage of starch it contains.

    For this reason, recipes from reliable sources use a specific type and amount of thickener for a specific type of fruit. Don’t substitute either the fruit or the thickener and expect optimal results.

    For example:

  • Apples contain a lot of pectin, a natural thickener. Although they release juice when cooked, they are not nearly as juicy as stone fruit or berries.
  • Stone fruits have less pectin than apples, but more than berries. They need an in-between amount of thickener.
  • Berries are the juiciest, and need the most thickener. Frozen berries release even more liquid, and require more thickener.
  • Blueberries have the most pectin of the berry group. They need a bit little less thickener than other berries.
  • Fresh cherries need less thickener than canned or frozen cherries.
  •  
    That being said, we’re just talking runniness. Even a runny pie will still taste good.

    FRUIT PIE THICKENERS

    Pie thickeners prevent the valuable juices from running out when the pie is sliced.

    The following thickeners are listed in order from least thickening agent, with the least amount of starch, to the strongest, starchiest thickener. (The thickening power is known as gel strength among professionals.)

  • All-purpose flour. The standby for generations past, flour produces a somewhat cloudy filling. Plus, you need to use more of it than you would higher-starch thickeners.
  • Quick-cooking/instant tapioca. makes filling bright and clear, but also gives it a stippled (and for some, “gluey”) texture. Filling mixed with tapioca needs to rest 15 to 30 minutes before baking, for the tapioca to soften.
  • Instant ClearJel is a product available from King Arthur Flour, that keeps fillings thick through a broad range of temperatures. This makes it ideal for pies that will be frozen, either before or after baking.
  • Pie Filling Enhancer, another product available from King Arthur Flour, thickens fruit pie fillings the same way Instant ClearJel does. Its advantage is added ascorbic acid (a flavor enhancer), and superfine sugar, which prevents it from clumping. Pie Filling Enhancer is about half sugar; so you’ll want to reduce the sugar in your recipe as directed below. It’s OU kosher.
  •  

    Blackberry Pie

    ClearJel Pie Thickener

    Pie Gate - Pie Sealer

    [1] A blackberry pie, properly thickened, holds its shape. Here’s the recipe from The Baker Chick. [2] A great thickener for frozen pies: Instant ClearJel (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [3] Another solution: a pie sealer or pie gate (photo courtesy Progressive International).

  • Cornstarch, like flour, gives a cloudy, semi-transparent look to filling. It can also give filling a chalky or floury taste. When using cornstarch, make sure the pie filling is bubbling up through the crust before removing your pie from the oven.
  •  
    A note: Our mom used cornstarch in her renowned apple and blueberry pies. No one ever noticed any cloudiness, and her pies were always in demand.

    MORE TIPS TO THICKEN THE JUICES

  • Reduce the juice. After you sugar the berries, let them sit for 20 minutes or so, until juice starts to collect in the bottom of the bowl. Drain the juice into a pan, reduce it, and add it back to the berries.
  • Use a top crust with openings, such as lattice (photo #1) or cut-outs (photo #3). These allow some of the moisture in the juice to evaporate, thickening the filling. When baking a lattice or open-top pie, reduce the thickener by 1/4 teaspoon per cup of filling.
  • Golden crust and bubbling fruit does not mean the pie is finished. It may still need another 5 to 10 minutes to fully activate the thickener. This is especially true if flour or cornstarch are used.
  • Some fruit fillings will continue to thicken for 24 hours after baking. Instant ClearJel will increase the thickeners by about 15% from day 1 to day 2; quick-cooking tapioca and Pie Filling Enhancer, about 30%. Fillings thickened with flour or cornstarch will not thicken further.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Mashed (Or Smashed) Pea Toast, The New Avocado Toast

    Smashed Pea Toast

    Avocado Toast Caprese

    Avocado Toast With Esquites

    [1] Mashed avocado toast gives way to mashed green pea toast, called Smashed Pea Toast at Bluestone Lane, a group of Australian-inspired cafés in New York City, Hoboken and Philadelphia. [2] Served Caprese-style. Here’s the recipe from Two Peas And Their Pod. [3] Esquites-style: Mexican corn salad with cotija cheese, lime and cilantro. Here’s the recipe from Closet Cooking.

     

    Avocado toast is an open-face sandwich, topping a piece of toast (often made with whole-grain or artisan bread) with mashed avocado seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon or lime juice.

    The not-so-recent history of avocado toast is below.

    More recently, mashed peas are being substituted for the avocado, along with more elaborate garnishes:

  • Beans: any beans, including chickpeas with a garnish of hummus, and black beans with salsa.
  • Cucumber slices: (plain or marinated) with fresh dill and cracked pepper.
  • Cheese: from crumbled feta and goat cheese to shaved parmesan.
  • Dried vegetables: beets, broccoli, caulifloer, corn, kale, plantain chips, wasabi peas.
  • Eggs: fried, hard-boiled/sliced, poached eggs.
  • Freeze-dried fruit and vegetables: such as Crunchies (see below).
  • Fresh fruit: berries and sliced fruits, including citrus segments.
  • Herbs and spices: from fresh basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, rosemary and thyme to chipotle, garlic, harissa and ras-el-hanout.
  • Lettuces: baby arugula (try it with goat cheese) or spinach, frisée, mesclun, watercress,
  • Onion family: chopped green onion, minced chives, sliced red onion.
  • Savory garnish: capers, edamame, green peas, jalapeño, microgreens, nuts and seeds, olives, pickled onions, radish slices, red chile flakes, sprouts.
  • Shellfish: crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp
  • Smoked fish: smoked salmon, with thin-sliced red onion and fresh dill.
  • Sweet garnish: citrus peel, crushed pineapple, honey-roasted nuts, pomegranate arils.
  • Tomato: halved cherry or grape tomatoes, plain or marinated (try them Caprese-style with bocconcini—small mozzarella balls—fresh basil and a balsamic glaze drizzle); sliced or diced tomato*, sundried tomato.
  • ________________

    *No decent tomatoes? Drain diced or whole canned San Marzano tomatoes.
    ________________

    There are even sweet avocado toast options, such as:

  • A topping of sliced bananas (try caramelizing them in a hot skillet), with optional coconut
  • Chocolate-avocado toast (recipe follows).
  • Dried fruits (see Crunchies, below).
  • Shredded coconut.
  •  
    For chocolate-avocado, mix 1/2 mashed avocado with one tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1-2 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup. Top with berries, coconut and/or mini chocolate chips.
     
    RECIPE: MASHED PEA TOAST†

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 garlic clove, quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for toast
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 2 pounds pods) or frozen peas, thawed, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 pieces toast of choice
  • Garnish: sliced radishes, whole peas
  • Preparation

    1. COMBINE the garlic, parsley, 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Add the peas and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 5 minutes for fresh peas, 2 minutes for frozen peas). Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.

    2. TRANSFER the pea mixture to a food processor; pulse to a coarse paste. Alternatively, for a chunkier blend, mash with a fork or a potato masher. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the chives, lemon juice and peel, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil.

    3. STIR in the reserved cooking liquid, tablespoon by tablespoonful, until the mixture is still thick but spreadable. Season with salt, black pepper and more lemon juice, if desired.

    4. TOP the toast with pea the mash peas. Garnish with the a sprinkle of whole peas, the remaining lemon peel, and more crushed pepper, as desired.
    ________________

    *Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe for mashed avocado sandwiches with preserved lemon.

     

    CRUNCHY FUN WITH CRUNCHIES FREEZE-DRIED FRUIT SNACKS

    We’ve long been fans of Crunchies freeze-fried fruits and vegetables: a healthful, low-calorie, crunchy, all natural grab-and-go snack with no added sugar.

    In addition to grab and go snacking, we use them as garnishes for everything from salad to sorbet.

    The fruits include blueberries, cinnamon apple, grapes, mango, mixed fruit, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries and strawberry banana.

    Alas, our favorite freeze-dried corn kernels has been discontinued; but it’s been replaced by something equally wonderful: freeze dried sliced beets!

    The line is certified gluten free, kosher (OU) and non-GMO.

    You can find a store locator of buy online at CrunchiesFood.com.

     

    Crunchies Freeze-Dried Beet Chips

    Crunchies freeze-dried beet slices, one of 10 varieties from Crunchies Food.

     
    THE HISTORY OF AVOCADO TOAST

    Although a relatively new trend in the U.S. (we first noticed it about four years ago), avocado toast has been “commonplace for a long time,” according to Wikipedia.

  • In Australia and Chile, large avocado growers, people have been eating avocado toast for decades.
  • In the U.K., it has been a popular snack since the early-1970s.
  • In Mexico, where the avocado is indigenous (the history of avocado), avocado on corn tortillas dates to ancient times.
  •  
    Surely, some conquistador, or more likely one of the nuns who followed in the early 16th century (the nuns created fusion European-Aztec cuisine, adapting New World ingredients to Old World cooking styles), first put sliced avocado on a piece of toasted European bread. But the record is mute on that.

    According to an article in The Washington Post, chef Bill Granger of Sydney, Australia may have been the first person to put avocado toast on a menu, in 1993. Another Australian chef believes that the combination of avocado and toast emerged in Queensland, Australia in the mid-1970s.

    Now, Millennials call it “smashed avo.”

    In 1999, Nigel Slater published a recipe for an avocado “bruschetta” in London’s newspaper, The Guardian.

    Even earlier, in 1962, a New York Times article showcased an “unusual” sandwich of avocado on toast.

    And even earlier than that, in 1937, The New Yorker published an article, “Avocado, or the Future of Eating,” in which the protagonist eats “avocado sandwich on whole wheat and a lime rickey.” [source]

    But credit social media with launching this low-key breakfast and snack into stardom, with an endless number of photos making it a must-have for avocado lovers.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Hot Dog Rolls (Or Buns, If You Insist)

    Hot Dogs & Buns

    New England Style Hot Dog Rolls

    New England Hot Dog Pan

    Slotdogs

    [1] Classic hot dog rolls have tapered edges (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese). [2] New England-style hot dog rolls have straight edges, which get crisp when toasted (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [3] A New England hot dog pan (photo courtesy USA Pan). [4] Woo hoo: Slotdogs (photo courtesy Gadgetify).

     

    Following up on yesterday’s homemade hamburger roll recipes, today we present the hog dog roll recipes from King Arthur Flour.

    Hot dog is an American term for what initially was called a frankfurter, a style of sausage favored in Frankfurt, Germany. It was brought to the U.S. by German immigrants in the 1880s. Here’s the history of hot dogs.

    While any hot dog or hamburger dough recipe works in any hot dog pan, you do need special baking pans to shape the rolls.

    First decide if you want to make rolls with classic rounded edges (photo #1) or the straight-edge New England style (photo #2).

    We prefer the latter, because it’s also the classic lobster roll style (lobster rolls originated in New England); and perhaps more importantly, the straight edges get crisp when toasted.

    Next, decide on the size of the pan. We vote for the larger, 24-bun size. If you won’t use all of them, freeze the rest.

    Take a look at:

  • New England Hot Dog Pan (makes 8 rolls with straight sides)
  • Classic Hot Dog Pan (makes 24 rolls or 18 rolls)
  •  
     
    RECIPE #1: CLASSIC HOT DOG ROLLS

    This classic recipe can be used for hot dog or hamburger rolls.

    An egg wash places a shiny glaze on the rolls.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: BUTTERY HOT DOG ROLLS, NEW ENGLAND-STYLE

    While not exactly brioche, this recipe produces very buttery buns—also great for lobster rolls.

    Speaking of which: here are 20 other uses for hot dog rolls.
     
     
    RECIPE #3: NEW ENGLAND STYLE HOT DOG ROLLS

    Don’t want the extra butter of recipe #2?

    Whether you want your rolls classic- or New England-style, try this recipe.

    It’s different from recipe #1, in that it adds potato flour and an egg to enrich the dough. Recipe #1 uses the egg in an egg wash, to glaze the rolls; and only all-purpose flour.
     
     
    SLOTDOGS: ADD SOME PIZZAZZ TO YOUR DOGS

    While looking at hot dog pans, we came across SlotDogs (photo #4), a device that makes criss-cross cuts in the dog before grilling.

    They’re easy to make with the special Slotdog cutter.

    Kids may think they look like dragon scales; we just enjoy the geometrics.

    In addition to looking way cool, the cuts allow the smoky grill flavor to penetrate more deeply, and enables the juices to caramelize the edges.

    Plus, as with penne rigate and other pasta shapes with ridges, the toppings cling better, too.
     
     
    BUNS, ROLLS AND BISCUITS: THE DIFFERENCE

    We use the word roll instead of bun to denote hot dog-specific bread.

    There is no official difference: Both are single-serve breads, and the FDA only stipulates that buns and rolls weigh less than one-half pound (as opposed to loaves of bread, which must weigh one pound or more).

    Manufacturers and retailers use whichever term they want. However, the American Institute of Baking uses this distinction (but good luck getting people to change the words they use):

  • Rolls is the term generally used for individual breads that hold a filling—either pre-filled like cinnamon rolls or sandwich bread like Kaiser rolls. The notable exception is hot cross buns, which are filled with currants or raisins and thus should be hot cross rolls. However, the first recorded use of the term “hot cross bun” appears in 1733, when there was no distinction.
  • Buns typically do not contain a filling, but can be eaten plain, with a spread (butter, jam), or used as a sop, i.e., to wipe up a liquid food: gravy, sauce, soup, stews.
  • Bunne was the word used in Middle English. The use of roll to describe a small bread came much later. The oldest reference we could find is to Parker House rolls, in 1873.
  • Biscuits use a different leavening. Biscuits use baking powder to rise; buns and rolls use yeast.
  • Texture: Rolls can be hard (crusty) or soft, buns are soft, and biscuits are pillowy soft (from the baking powder).
  •  
    FUN HOT DOG RECIPES

  • Bacon Cheese Dogs
  • Cubano Dog
  • Gourmet Hot Dogs 1
  • Gourmet Hot Dogs 2
  • Italian Hot Dogs
  • Mini Corn Dogs
  • Tater Tot Hot Dog Skewers
  • Top 10 Hot Dog Toppings
  •  
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: A Gift For Cookout Hosts ~ Homemade Burger Buns

    If you’re invited to a cookout over Memorial Day weekend or any other time during outdoor grilling season, you can make what will be a very popular contribution:

    Homemade burger buns.

    TWO BURGER BUN RECIPES

    King Arthur Flour has two recipes:

    RECIPE #1: Sesame Burger Buns

    Baker after baker commented on the website that these are “the best” burger buns (photo #1).

    Soft, gold yellow from the butter and egg, with a hint of sweetness, the flavor may remind you of King’s Hawaiian burger buns.

    Use them for burgers or any sandwich. You can switch the sesame for onion or garlic.

    Here’s the recipe.

    RECIPE #2: Cheesy Burger Buns

    The light cheese aroma of these alluring buns (photo #2) comes from adding grated cheddar or parmesan cheese to the no-knead dough.

    In fact, the light cheesy aroma and flavor create what you can bill as “double cheesy cheeseburgers.”

    Here’s the recipe.

    MAKE AS MANY AS YOU LIKE. YOU CAN FREEZE ANY EXTRAS.
     
    SPECIAL BURGER ROLL PAN

    This pan (photo #3) was commissioned exclusively by King Arthur Flour to make baking hamburger buns easier. Each pan bakes six large (4-inch) buns.

    It’s a versatile pan: Use it for individual pies or cakes, oversized scones, muffin tops, individual frittatas or miniature pizzas.

    The nonstick pan is $29.95 at King Arthur Flour.
     
     
    WHO CREATED THE FIRST HAMBURGER?

    It started with the Tatar armies of Ghengis Khan!

     

    Homemade Sesame Burger Buns

    Cheddar Flavored Burger Buns

    Pan For Homemade Burger Buns

    [1] You can top the buns with sesame seeds, or leave them off. [2] Add an extra hit of cheese to a cheeseburger by baking it into the bun. [3] Make perfectly-shaped buns with this special pan from King Arthur Flour.

     
    Here’s the history of the hamburger.

    WHY IS IT TARTAR SAUCE & TARTAR STEAK (STEAK TARTARE) INSTEAD OF TATAR?

    The Tatars (no “r”) were a Chinese nomadic tribe (ta-ta-er) conquered by Ghengis Khan.

    Tartar (with an “r”), the term used by Europeans, comes from the Greek Tartarus, the underworld.

    When Ghengis Khan and his successors pillaged western Europe, the populace (a.k.a. victims) called them Tartars, meaning people from hell. The word referred to all Mongol invaders (no doubt, the nuances of tribes didn’t communicate over the maruading and murder).

    Coincidentally, this word was similar to Tatar, so the two were (and are( confused. Over time, the words became interchangable in use. [source]
     
     
    TOMORROW: HOT DOG BUNS!

      

    Comments



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.