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


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NEWS: Citrus Boosts Antioxidant Power Of Tea

Adding citrus juice or vitamin C to green tea could increase the absorption of the tea’s antioxidants 13-fold, suggests new research published in this month’s issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Although the results are preliminary, those wishing to hedge their bets may want to squeeze some lemon or lime into that cup of green tea. The researchers used a simulated gastric and small-intestinal digestion system to model the effects of citric juices and other additives (milk, soy) on the absorption of antioxidants from tea. The polyphenols in tea have been linked to a number of health benefits, ranging from a lower risk of certain cancers to weight loss and protection against Alzheimer’s disease.   Green Tea
Add some lemon juice to your green tea for a bigger antioxidant hit.
Green tea contains between 30% and 40% of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea contains between 3% and 10%. However, according to the study, the catechins are relatively unstable in non-acidic environments, such as the intestines, and less than 20% of the total remains after digestion. Oolong tea is somewhere between green and black tea, and white tea has somewhat more than green tea. The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epicatechin (EC). Bad news for those who drink black tea and like milk in it: Proteins in the milk’s casein counteract the effectiveness of the catechins. Better to switch from milk to a squeeze of lemon! Read more about tea in the Tea Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine, and about antioxidants in the NutriNibbles Section.

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NEWS: Turkey Eating Contest Today

Thanksgiving Turkey
Eat me—entirely—in 8 minutes or less. Photo courtesy of iGourmet.com.
  If you think you have some relatives who are big eaters, at the third annual MLE [Major League Eating] Chowdown: Turkey Bowl today, eight “professional eaters” will compete big-time, gobbling down entire 20-pound birds. The winner will eat his or her bird in eight minutes or less, or as much of it as possible. (Please—don’t try this at home!) Competitors in food contests are extreme athletes who train all year, working on jaw strength and stomach capacity. Contrary to assumption, contestants in national food competitions are not overweight. Surely, you’ve seen Takeru Kobayashi, the slender, six-time winner of Nathan’s Coney Island hot-dog eating contest—won this year by the normal-size Joey Chestnut. Both will be competing in the Turkey Bowl, along with six other top competitive eaters.
The International Federation of Competitive Eating organizes about 80 eating contests a year in the U.S. alone, 100 total in 2006, including Canada, England, Germany, Japan and Thailand. The Turkey Bowl will be nationally televised today on Spike TV at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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PRODUCT WATCH: Nut-Free Frozen Desserts

Alpine Ice, makers of all-natural sorbets, is now kosher-certified (by Kosher Technical Konsultants), vegan-certified and free of all major food allergens (no soy, egg, wheat, nuts or dairy). The company was included in our “Who’s Who In American Frozen Desserts,” published last year in THE NIBBLE online magazine. The products are an alternative for people who are sensitive to a variety of foods. The base is made of herbs, fruit and flowers and erythritol, a low-glycemic sweetener. Flavors include Bolder Berry, Green Tea Verbena, Hibiscus Rose, Mango Passion and Plum Lucky. People looking for nut-free frozen dessert lines should also check out Bedford Nut Free Ice Cream, made for people with food allergies. It’s made in Massachusetts. There’s nothing on the one-page website but an email address and a phone number: Contact ahiabuhamdeh@yahoo.com, 1.978.330.5914. We haven’t tried it; if you do, let us know what you think. To see our favorite gourmet ice creams and sorbets, visit the Desserts Section of THE NIBBLE.   Mango Sorbet
Frozen desserts made in nut-free facilities.
 

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TRENDS: House-Flavored Waters

 

Infused Water
Infused water: Coming to a restaurant near you?
 

Trying to be more environmentally friendly, some restaurants are creating a new trend by eschewing bottled waters, installing water filtration systems and creating their own flavor-infused waters. As reported by Nations Restaurant News, restaurateurs on both coasts are creating tempting water options for demanding patrons. Here are some examples of what you can expect as the trend spreads nationwide:

– Broadway East, opening next month in New York City, will have no bottled water whatsoever for sale. A comprehensive filtering system will filter the city water the moment it enters the building. Guests can have the filtered still water in a carafe for free, and house-carbonated water for $3 per liter.

– At Coi restaurant in San Francisco, hydrosol, a by-product of essential oil production, is used to create exotic flavored waters. Added to glasses of still or sparkling water by the dropperful, it creates flavors such as chrysanthemum, lime, passionfruit and rose, which complement the restaurant’s cuisine.

District restaurant, in New York City’s theater district, has a water-filtering system that fills reusable bottles with still or sparkling filtered water (at a $5 per bottle charge). The chef prepares seasonal flavors by making fruit purées and straining out the pulp to produce a clear liquid. Winter flavors planned include cucumber and lemon grass, plum and fresh ginger, and yuzu.

– At Graffiti, another new restaurant in Manhattan, the fenugreek water is evocative of the owner’s Bombay childhood. Fenugreek seeds are soaked in water overnight to infused the water. Recent studies have suggested that fenugreek is useful in lowering blood cholesterol and in helping to control diabetes.

Read more about water—and some of our favorite bottled brands—in the Water Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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RECIPE: Chocolate Stout Float Dessert

Still looking for something special to serve for Thanksgiving dessert that’s not the traditional pie? Do you like beer, ice cream and chocolate?

Then here’s an option that requires absolutely no cooking, courtesy of The Chocolate Room of Brooklyn: a Chocolate Stout Float.

All you need to do is purchase chocolate ice cream and chocolate stout. The Chocolate Room uses Brooklyn Lager’s chocolate stout, but microbrewers nationwide make them in the fall and winter.
 
RECIPE: STOUT FLOAT

Ingredients

  • Regular or chocolate stout
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Optional: whipped cream
  • Optional: garnishes (cherry, shaved chocolate, sprinkles, etc.)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the stout into a brandy snifter, wine goblet or other glass of choice, and add the ice cream.

    2. ADD optional ice cream and serve with a spoon. It’s that easy—and it’s a winner!

      Stout Float

    Chocolate Stout Float: pour chocolate stout,scoop ice cream and enjoy (photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board).

     

    Thanks to The Chocolate Room in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York. It’s easy to get to by subway.

    The dessert café, which specializes in desserts with wine and beer pairings, is open from noon to 11 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday (to midnight Friday and Saturday). They also sell fine chocolates.

      

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