The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - Part 1590
THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods


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RECIPE: “Hamburger” Cupcakes

With all the buzz surrounding sliders and other incarnations of the two-bite burger, it was only a matter of time before at least one creative baker took things into her own hands. While these treats may not pack the same protein punch as a beef or turkey burger, a crowd pleaser like cupcakes, conceptually crossed with America’s favorite food, the hamburger, will create even more of a rush. They’re a memorable ending to a barbecue, birthday party or shower. It’s a good thing each recipe serves 24.

In this recipe, Clara, creator of iheartcuppycakes.com, provides you with all you need to know for turning out batch after batch of these fluffy cupcake sliders.

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You don’t have to be a meat eater to enjoy these cupcakes! Photo courtesy iheartcuppycakes.com.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Tart Art

 

Turn plain tarts into ravishing beauties with creative garnishing. Some chocolate curls or rolls, a mint sprig, a few raspberries or a slice of star fruit, combined with a dab of crème fraîche or whipped cream, can turn something simple into something special. Read our article on Garnish Glamour, for dozens of ideas for sprucing up both sweet and savory foods.

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GOURMET TRAVEL: Oceania Cruises For Foodies

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Sail the epicurean seas when the Marina debuts in 2010.

The Love Boat was the cruise ship for those seeking love (at least in the fictitious world of TV). If you’re looking for a great food experience, head for Oceania Cruises’ Marina, the new Regatta-class flagship, when it launches next year. You’ll be able to cook in the state-of-the-art Bon Appétit Culinary Center, receiving hands-on cooking instruction under the guidance of master chefs. Working at your own fully equipped work station, complete with an induction cook top, this is no passive, “watch the demo” from the audience, experience. It’s like going to culinary school, and is a first at sea.

The cooking curriculum, designed in part by Bon Appétit magazine, will cater to all levels, from beginners to master chefs, and will encompass all types of cuisines. Classes will range from 45 minutes to 3 hours, and will include shore tours to shop for ingredients at local markets.

If you don’t want to take daily cooking classes, a host of premium cruise activities is available to you (for example, artists-in-residence will teach fine arts in The Studio, a new enrichment center). Or, you can just eat. A ship for food lovers, the new Marina has 10 dining venues, in addition to elegant bars and lounges. Don’t worry—there’s a full-service spa and a spacious fitness center and outdoor swimming pool where you can burn off the calories.If, like us, you can’t get enough Asian food, opt for the five-course tasting menu at Red Ginger, which will feature Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine (you can have sushi a la carte, or anything else from the ample menu). Other dining venues include restaurants well known to those who have sailed the cruise line’s other ships: Polo Grill, Toscana, Terrace Café, The Patio and the Grand Dining Room. There will also be a French bistro, Jacques (named in honor of the great chef Jacques Pépin, a consultant to the culinary program), and the Yacht Club for enlightening wine and food pairings. You can gather at Biscottos Coffee Bar for gourmet coffees and snacks.

The maiden voyage of Marina is in Winter 2010. You can register to receive Marina updates and become part of the Priority Reservation list. An epicurean cruise will make a memorable holiday gift for someone special.

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PRODUCT: Voskos Greek-Style Yogurt

Perhaps one of the greatest additions to the American diet is 0% fat Greek yogurt. Triple strained, the thick, creamy yogurt gives no hint that it’s fat-free. There’s also a natural sweetness to it, as if the tang were strained out as well—even though Greeks will tell you that their yogurt is naturally tangy. Not so in our experience with factory-produced, as opposed to homemade, Greek-style yogurt.

We chanced upon Voskos all natural Greek-style yogurt, a brand new to us, during a recent stroll through the latest New York City Whole Foods Market in TriBeCa. (This is an enviably enormous store for a zip code with so few residents. Our population-dense Upper West Side store seems at least half the size, with a corresponding fewer choices of yogurt and ice cream brands, to name just two categories dear to our heart).

We were only able to find the Nonfat Honey Vanilla Bean and Nonfat Blended Wild Blueberry, but based on our happy experience, we’ll track down the rest of the line, which includes the additional nonfat flavors of Exotic Fig, Honey and Wild Strawberry. The company also makes 16-ounce containers of Plain Lowfat, Nonfat and Original (i.e., full fat). With nonfat yogurt this delicious (also see our review of Chobani’s nonfat Greek-style yogurt), who needs yogurt with fat?

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Voskos Greek Yogurt: 0% fat, 100% delicious.

Unlike most Greek-style yogurts, which are thick-bodied like sour cream (and that’s part of the appeal), the two Voskos flavored yogurts we tried have a delicate, soft, pastry cream-like consistency—in fact, you could pipe it into cream puffs, if you wished. They don’t read the traditional Greek yogurt script at all, but are as pliant as any natural, unthickened yogurt. While the container says “thick and creamy,” don’t believe the thick part (for thick, try Chobani). But for creamy—aah, so creamy, so happy.

  • The Honey Vanilla Bean tasted like it had been made by a fine pastry chef, full of superb vanilla flavor and tiny, crunchy flecks of vanilla bean. It is perhaps the best vanilla yogurt we’ve ever had. There’s more evaporated cane juice than honey as a sweetener and we didn’t taste any honey notes, but that’s just as well—we wouldn’t want anything to interfere with that divine vanilla flavor.
  • The Wild Blueberry had a cultivated rather than wild blueberry flavor, but that was fine with us, as well. (Honestly, how many people have ever tasted wild blueberries? We have a suspicion that no commercial enterprise is using them in yogurt, either—the label says “blueberries” and “natural flavor.” ) It’s not the same memorable flavor that the Honey Vanilla Bean is, but it’s a lovely blueberry yogurt, and we savored every drop of creaminess.

Speaking of every drop, our one complaint: the 5.3-ounce container. We are not children, we are not Lilliputians, we are not ballerinas. We are adults with adult appetites. First the yogurt manufacturers shaved our 8-ounce cups down to 6 ounces; now it seems that the avant-garde is heading to 5.3 ounces. What’s next: 4-ounce “yogurt shots?” Manufacturers should simply “man up,” charge more for the product and give us back the 8-ounce portion. If it’s a good product, consumers will pay another 20 cents for it—especially the consumers who shop where this line is sold. At $1.49, the 5.3-ounce container of yogurt is no bargain in the first place, so give us a larger container that’s no bargain. (Well, let us rephrase that: $1.49 for something delicious is worth it; $1.69 for something delicious is equally worth it.)

A visit to the Voskos website indicates that it is made by Sun Valley Dairy of Sun Valley, California, north of Los Angeles (www.sunvalley-dairy.com). It’s sold at AJ’s, Andronico’s, Ralph’s, Safeway, Sprouts, Wild Oats, Whole Foods Markets and natural food stores. (Remember, not every story in a chain carries the merchandise.) Cleverly, the website includes a downloadable form that you can submit to your store manager: “Dear Store Manager, I am a regular shopper here at your store and would love to be able to purchase Voskos Greek Style Yogurt. If you carry this brand of yogurt, I will purchase it. Thank you, Your Customer.” That’s a good template anytime you’d like to petition for something! However, it left off the most important part: “P.S. Please contact your Voskos sales rep at 1-800-123-4567, today.

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NEW PRODUCT: True Brew Organic Iced Tea

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The True Brew crew: organic iced tea.

June is National Iced Tea Month, and there’s a new bottled tea in town: True Brew. Made in Texas, where people like their iced tea sweet, the line offers sweetened varieties, with unsweetened black, green and white teas for purists.

  • 100% Organic varieties include Unsweetened Black, White and Green Teas.
  • Organic varieties include sweetened Apple White, Cranberry Orange, Green, Hibiscus, Peach White, Strawberry White, Sweet and White Teas. (See the difference between 100% Organic and Organic.)

The unsweetened teas have zero calories; the sweetened teas, which employ organic cane sugar, have between 64 and 72 calories per 8-ounce serving.

While we normally drink our tea unsweetened—iced or hot—to enjoy the flavor of the quality tea we buy, our favorite of the line was the Sweet Tea. It tasted exactly like what one would brew at home and drink with two teaspoons of sugar (in fact, it tasted exactly like the iced tea we made through our teens and college years, before we started to drink our tea and coffee black).

The Unsweetened Green Tea was the third place winner in the Iced Tea Class at the recent 2009 World Tea Championships (first place went to ITO EN’s Oi Ocha Dark [a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week], second place to Wegman’s Just Tea—Green, a private label brand that is brewed for them by someone—we’ll have to track down who). Green tea connoisseurs will like it—it has the vegetal flavors of a complex green tea.

The flavor profiles are very different from Honest Tea, the first organic bottled tea line. Unlike Honest Tea, the entire True Brew line is packaged in a PET bottle (the only resin [plastic] approved by the FDA to have post-consumer recycled content). Organic tea drinkers seeking an alternative should give it a try.

There’s another reason everyone who drinks bottled tea should take a look at True Brew: the higher antioxidant content. The company claims a polyphenol count that is higher than some competitors. Based on a Men’s Health article that compared green tea varieties from Harney and Sons, Lipton, Tazo and Snapple, True Brew has more polyphenols per bottle. True Brew actually lists the polyphenol count on the bottle, although somewhat strangely, the number stated is the amount per liter instead of how much is in the 16-ounce bottle.

The price is right: True Brew has been retailing at $1.00 per bottle! Find store locations at TrueBrew.com.

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