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


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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Cool Beans

Travelers to Provence and Italy have likely been served an appetizer dip and spread made of white beans. A purée of slow-cooked beans, flavored with lemon, garlic and fresh herbs, is delightful for dipping crudités and breadsticks and for spreading on bread and crackers. In Morocco, a spicier version called bissara, made with fava beans, is seasoned with cumin, paprika and cayenne. Both variations are far more elegant than the popular black bean dip of Tex-Mex cuisine. White bean spread can be the base of canapés, can add complexity to sandwiches and can serve as a side with duck, lamb, pork or veal.

Given the popularity of hummus, a purée of chickpeas and tahini, white bean dip should appeal to many American palates. It looks like hummus, can be substituted for hummus and can be flavored in the same way, providing plenty of tasty variations (chive, garlic, jalapeño, olive, sundried tomato, etc). White bean dip may even have a broader appeal, because, composed of white beans and olive oil, it lacks the more exotic sesame flavor provided by the tahini.

  Serve Cool Beans white bean dip any way
you would enjoy hummus…and in many
more ways.
Yet, aside from making it at home or encountering it at a good restaurant here and there, where does one find white bean dip? For those who want to open a jar and dig in, the two brothers who founded Cool Beans have made it easy for you. Their jars of white bean dip require no refrigeration and are easy to keep on hand for company, as a healthy gourmet snack, or if you just want to add some oomph to a sandwich. Now, the retailers of America will have to do their part and put it on the shelves. Until white bean dip is as prevalent as hummus, you can order it online. The dips are all-natural, low-sodium, lowfat and certified kosher. Read more about Cool Beans dip and spread in the full review.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: The Art Of Chipotle

A dab of Gourmet Chipotle Paste With
Adobo or one of Art Of Chipotle’s sauces
will dial up the flavor on your everyday
and party dishes.
  Chipotle, a smoked jalapeño chile, is one of the biggest international flavors to migrate into the mainstream in the past decade. Originally found only in Mexican restaurants and in a few hot sauces, chipotle is now everywhere. If you want to brush up on this smoky sensation, The Art Of Chipotle has a well-conceived line that makes Chipotle 101 an easy subject to master.

It’s sometimes tricky to find a happy medium when it comes to chile-flavored products. A fiery, capsaicin-packed sauce might suit the adventurous palate, but can scare away the more timid eater—or anyone who values his taste buds. On the flip side, many “mild” products are just plain wimpy.

Luckily, there’s The Art of Chipotle, an award-winning line of all natural, gluten-free, chipotle-based products. While they have zip, it’s never that painful, smoke-coming-out-the-ears, need-to-stick-your-head-in-a-bucket-of-water kind of heat. Instead, the well-balanced flavors enable the eater to actually taste the earthy, smoky flavor of chipotle, receiving its heat on the back end. Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: The Gordon Biersch Brewing Company

Dan Gordon brewed his first batch of Gordon Biersch beer nearly 20 years ago, making him one of the pioneers of American craft brewing. The company was founded in 1988, after California repealed a law to allow restaurants to brew beer on-site, thereby paving the way for the creation of the brewpub. In 1987, Gordon, fresh from earning a degree in brewing engineering from the uber-prestigious Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan, sat down with restaurateur and fellow California native Dean Biersch to map out a plan to bring freshly-brewed beer and freshly-prepared food together under one roof. One year later, the pair opened the first Gordon Biersch brewpub in Palo Alto, California, featuring a menu of appetizers, entrées, salads and sandwiches created to complement Gordon’s expertly-crafted beers. Gordon even created a barbecue sauce made with his Marzen that is still served today with burgers and their barbecued chicken pizza. Gordon also invented the restaurant’s wildly popular Garlic Fries.   Gordon Biersch Pilsner.
Today, there are 27 Gordon Biersch brewpubs across 16 states and Washington, DC. In June, the company went international with the opening of a Gordon Biersch restaurant and brewery in Taiwan. All of the beers served at the restaurants are brewed on-site; beers are also brewed and bottled at a state-of-the-art brewing facility in San Jose, California. Gordon Biersch produces more than 3 million gallons of beer per year there, making it one of the largest craft breweries in California.

But when you visit one of Gordon Biersch’s numerous brewpubs, you won’t find any explosively hoppy IPAs on tap, or extra-strength imperial stouts, or any of the other so-called extreme beers that have grown in popularity in recent years. At a time when many American craft breweries seem to be engaged in a perpetual battle to out-hop each other, Gordon Biersch remains an anomaly. The company brews only German-style lagers—solid, down-to-earth beers that are as unpretentious as the man who brews them.

Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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CONTEST: Create A Bee-licious Peanut Butter Sandwich Recipe

Enter to win a “sweet” peanut butter
prize.
  There’s still time to enter Peanut Butter & Co.’s Bee-licious Sandwich Contest, showcasing the company’s newest flavor, The Bee’s Knees, peanut butter blended with (you guessed it) honey.

Peanut Butter fans are invited to submit a sandwich recipe featuring The Bee’s Knees, for the honor of having the winning recipe featured as the Sandwich of the Week at Peanut Butter & Co.’s New York City sandwich shop—plus a special gift box from Peanut Butter & Co. The recipe must be submitted by August 16th. The official submission form can be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Peanut-Butter-Co/14755220199 (you DO NOT need to be a member of the Facebook group to submit an entry).

 

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TOP PICK: Biscottea Shortbread Cookies

At a recent coffee and tea fair, what excited us most was not any of the fine coffees or teas, but Biscottea, a line of all-natural shortbread cookies baked with organic teas—just a touch, to provide interest. The buttery Scottish shortbread without the tea inclusions would have been good enough to accompany any cup of tea. But Laurance Milner has created a delightful line that, apart from adding a good general-purpose cookie to the specialty shelves, allows tea lovers to pair different tea-flavored shortbreads with different teas. Have some Earl Grey Biscottea shortbread with your Earl Grey tea, mint Biscottea shortbread with mint tea, and so forth.

Some might find this gimmicky, but gimmicky is a blessing when it tastes good: The large (two-inch) squares of shortbread certainly satisfy. These tea biscuits (biscot-tea, in case you missed the pun or want to confuse them with Italian biscotti) are available in individual packages of two as well as full boxes of ten. Flavors include African Honeybush Tea (a red tea) Shortbread, Blueberry Shortbread with Organic White Tea, Chai Shortbread with Organic Chai Spices, Earl Grey Shortbread with Organic Darjeeling Tea (infused with Earl Grey’s signature bergamot orange flavor) and Mint Tea with Organic Peppermint & Spearmint Leaves.

  Blueberry Biscottea shortbread cookies
made with white tea and blueberry juice.
We’re not going to jump on the
bandwagon and call them “antioxidant
cookies”—just enjoy them for the novelty
and fine flavor.
The Blueberry, Chai and Earl Grey flavors are also available in gluten-free varieties. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by Orthodox Union.

The company says that Biscottea are “created with real tea for real tea lovers.” But anyone will enjoy them, even if there’s no cup of tea in sight. Read more about this elegant and fun selection of cookies in the full review on TheNibble.com.

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