THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods


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NEWS: Haagen-Dazs Downsizes Pints


The 16-ounce Haagen-Daz pint: soon to
be history.
Maybe no one noticed when yogurt when from 8 ounces to 6 ounces. But will Haagen-Dazs lovers take note when the iconic pint downsizes to 14 ounces, beginning in March, 2009? Faced with increasing cost of ingredients, many manufacturers must choose to raise prices or put less in the package. The superpremium ice cream brand has chosen to do the latter. The good news: Now when you eat that entire “pint” of Haagen-Daz, there will be fewer calories. The puzzlement: Next year, when you go to the store to buy a “pint” of Haagen-Daz, what do you properly call it? “Small container” could be confusing, as the company sells quarts, “pints” and dixie cups.Read our review of Haagen-Daz Reserve flavors, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

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CONTEST: Win 4 Dozen Oysters

If you had four dozen live oysters would you return them to the sea? Make a Thanksgiving stuffing? Write a poem? Those are a just a few of the ideas submitted to the MarxFoods.com oyster contest. Marx Foods is an online specialty high-end food distributor of the finest epicurean products. Its location in Seattle puts it a mere shell’s throw away from Puget Sound, with access to Kumamoto, Olympia, Pacific and Virginica oysters (see THE NIBBLE’s Oyster Glossary for the difference).

There are two ways to win: 1) Leave the best oyster-related comment at MarxFoods.com or 2) Refer the most contestants. Once the contest closes, the polls will be open October 21st through the 24th for the foodie community to vote on the finalists to determine a winner, who will be announced on Monday, October 27th. All ideas submitted can be viewed at the MarxFoods.com Blog.


Live Virginica Oysters from Marx Foods.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Reveo Gourmet “Virtuoso” Marinator Electric Vacuum Tumbler


No time to marinate before grilling? Pity:
Food would taste so much better.
Solution: A Reveo Gourmet Marinator. It
marinates in just 10 minutes.
The original Reveo Gourmet Marivac was very popular. It was hand-operated with a pumping action, needing no electricity, so it could be used outdoors. It reduced marinating time from overnight (or days) to 10 minutes! Now, the effortless electric Virtuoso model eliminates the elbow grease. Food writer and cooking teacher Alissa Dicker Schreiber found the Virtuosoto be much more than a “marinating gadget.” It makes meats exceptionally juicy and “among the best” she’s ever eaten. It also uses less marinade, is easy to clean and is dishwasher-safe. It can hold a five-pound chicken or a family’s worth of steaks, cutlets or seafood. At $199.95, this is not a casual purchase—but is well worth it if you marinate frequently.
Let’s face it: A lot of us marinate our food at the last minute. We’re busy and hurried and forget to do it the night before—or simply don’t think about our next meal that far in advance. So we quickly sauce up our chicken, meat, fish or what-have-you mere minutes before cooking. Sure, the food usually emerges from the grill or pan with some marinade flavor cooked around its edges. But as a recent whirl with Virtuoso by Eastman’s Reveo Gourmet showed us, that doesn’t do marinating justice.

You see, a long marinating period, in a mixture consisting of some fat, some acid and some seasoning, infuses meat with flavor, tenderizes it and helps keep it juicy (like the brine for a Thanksgiving turkey). With its vacuum technology, the Reveo Gourmet makes achieving these results fast and easy, usually requiring no more than 20 minutes instead of hours or overnight.

Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Mamie’s Famous Cheese Wafers

In the South, cheese straws and biscuits are de rigueur for entertaining; elsewhere they are a popular cocktail snack—or simply great with a beer. Mamie’s Famous Cheese Wafers, which claims to be the first slice-and-bake hors d’oeuvre, is a real find. A peppery cheese biscuit, it keeps in the freezer until you have guests, then wows them with the aroma of Cheddar, the taste of Southern pecans and a complex palate that’s sure to please. You do virtually nothing except slice and bake and accept compliments.

Sometime in the 1800s, recipes for cheese straws began to appear in cookbooks. At the simplest level, they were easy cheese doughs. Take flour, baking powder, grated cheese and some salt; then knead, roll out the dough and cut with a pastry wheel into long, narrow strips (the “straws”). The original cheese straws were said to have been made from leftover biscuit dough and baked along with the biscuits, but served as snacks instead of with meals. More evolved recipes used complex cheeses and spices, added nuts and herbs and created different shapes—twists and rounds, for example. Today, according to the makers of Mamie’s Famous Cheese Wafers, they are “absolutely a Southern party requirement. They are served at parties, weddings, showers, holiday celebrations and ‘just because.’”

Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

 
One bite, and you’ll know why these
cheese waters made Mamie famous.
 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Long Kow’s Crystal Noodle Soup


An easy way to eat your greens. The
crystal noodles are underneath the
veggies. Shown above: Vegetables &
Eggs variety.
  With Long Kow’s Crystal Noodle Soup, and all you need to do is provide the boiling water and the spoon (chopsticks or a fork are helpful to manage the noodles) to enjoy a bowl of steaming noodle soup made in its own bowl in just three minutes. Savory, in four flavors, and leagues better than the other products in its genre, these soups are imported from China.

If you’ve experienced cello packets of ramen noodles or instant cups of noodle soup, (and is there anyone who hasn’t?), you know that they offer a comforting repast, but not a quality dining experience. Long Kow has upped the ante, using superior ingredients and a large enough portion to make a meal in its own bowl. Just add boiling water, and in three minutes your steaming hot meal is ready. You also need to supply an eating implement—you could slurp the soup from the bowl in a pinch, but the long noodles would present a challenge.

Although the ingredients are freeze-dried, you’d swear they were fresh-made, from the bok choy, mushrooms and spinach to the eggs and tofu. And how satisfying those glassy bean thread noodles are in their savory broth. Well done, Long Kow!

Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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