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THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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TIP OF THE DAY: Butter Ramekins

Flavored butter looks even more enticing when served in a lovely ramekin. This cultured butter is made by Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.
  Instead of bringing butter to the table in a rectangular brick, serve it in ramekins, like some fine restaurants do. In addition to plain butter, you can easily make and serve different flavored butters with style. Use a knife to score decorative cross-hatches on the top; and if you’re of an artistic nature, add a few fresh herb leaves or capers to the center or edges. Or sprinkle the top of sweet butter with sea salt.

Find recipes for flavored butters and read more butter tips in the Artisanal Butter section on THE NIBBLE online magazine.


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PRODUCT REVIEW: Starbucks Chocolate

What do you do when you’ve mastered coffee? Come up with a line that goes with it. Starbucks has launched Starbucks Chocolate, a portfolio of artisan-style chocolates inspired by their coffee and Tazo tea products—and in some cases, containing pieces of the coffee and tea. The chocolate looks beautiful: a glossy finish and beautiful design. And it tastes great, too.

Starbucks’ offerings include chocolate bars, tasting squares, truffles and chocolate-covered coffee beans. The chocolate was designed in consultation with The Artisan Confections Company, the subsidiary of The Hershey Company that owns the artisan chocolate brands Dagoba Organic Chocolate, Joseph Schmidt Confections and Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker.

The chocolate quality is superb—among the best one can find outside a gourmet bar store, and some of the products can compete with most of what is found within those stores. The price is right: 3-ounce bars for $2.99, boxes of tasting squares and Milk Chocolate-Covered Coffee Beans for $4.99 to $5.49 and five flavors of Chocolate Truffles in the same price range.

Take a bite out of Starbucks’ tasty new line of affordable, artisan-style chocolate.
Our only unhappiness is that today, we can’t find anyone online to ship these to us. But the products were just launched last month, and distribution will evolve. Whenever you see them, grab them. For three to five dollars a pop, they’re a treat you can enjoy, and a gift you can afford to give. Read the full review of Starbucks Chocolate, and find more about artisan chocolate in the Gourmet Chocolate & Chocolate Gifts section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Fun With Fruit Curd

The same lemon curd you’d enjoy on breakfast scones can do double-duty for dessert.
  Lemon curd and its siblings, like lime curd and blood orange curd, are a versatile addition to the pantry. Serve them with strawberries and other dipping fruit for a casual dessert or a snack. Or spoon curd into tart shells for an instant fancy dessert—instead of one large tart, serve three mini tarts with different curd flavors, topped with a different type of berry. Use curd to garnish bundt cakes and pound cake. Serve it with plain cookies. And of course, spread it on toast, muffins and scones (the scones at the left are from Iveta Scones, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week). We even use it to make “dessert pasta” with angel hair and slivered almonds. Keep a jar or two on hand and you’ll always have something interesting to serve to guests. Read more about desserts and fruit spreads in the Dessert Sauces & Toppings section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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If you didn’t catch the feature documentary, King Corn, on television last week, buy the DVD for Earth Day—or any time you want an eye-opener (the official release date is Tuesday, April 29, but you can order it now). You’ll never look at corn the same way again. Almost everything we eat contains corn: high fructose corn syrup, corn-fed meat and poultry and corn-based processed foods. The government pays farmers $28 per acre to grow corn. If it weren’t for the $28 payment, many farmers would lose money on their crops. Yet, we have a corn surplus: Your tax dollars at work. But bigger news than the government wasting taxpayer dollars to subsidize crops is what you’ll learn about corn. Some highlights:

– The corn planted today in the corn belt is genetically modified for high yields and herbicide tolerance. It’s meant to be made into high fructose corn syrup or livestock feed. It’s not “corn on the cob,” edible by humans. (That’s a different variety.)

  King KornKing Korn: Buy the DVD.
– In fact, all of the nutrition has been bred out of the corn. The original protein-rich Mexican strains have been modified into mostly starch. Yes, the farmers can’t even eat the corn they grow—at least, not as a vegetable.

– But we all eat it—in the meat that our livestock has been fed with, in the HFCS that’s in our bread products, in the corn oil that the fries are cooked in, and of course, in all that soda.

While the production values of “King Korn” are homespun, the message is not. The corn that pervades our diet—which is killing us through higher rates of obesity and diabetes—is also killing the cattle. You’ll see up-close and personal how cattle that have grazed free range on grass for thousands of years are now feedlot cattle, fed a corn that their digestive system is not evolved to deal with, so that they reach market weight in half the time. If they weren’t slaughtered for beef at 12 to 18 months, they’d be dead in a few months from acidosis caused by their diet. Yes, you’ll never look at a burger the same way, either.

While you’re at it, pick up a copy of Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” about climate change.

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COCKTAIL RECIPES: “Green” Cocktails For Earth Day

360 Vodka
Think green, and celebrate Earth Day with two cocktail recipes from 360 Vodka.
  Celebrate Earth Day, April 22nd, by drinking tap water. Refill a bottle and carry it around with you. And especially purchase a Better Drinking Water Filter Bottle—a biodegradable corn resin bottle with a built-in filter top that is good for purifying 90 bottles of tap water.

Now you’ve earned a cocktail, so celebrate with 360 Vodka, a “green” company that produces its vodka to be as earth-friendly as possible, in both manufacture and distribution. The company has created two special Earth Day cocktails, Greentini and Planetary Punch. Enjoy the recipes and learn more about the vodka.

Find more cocktail recipes in the Cocktails & Mixers Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.


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