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


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Sophisticated Cherry Cocktails: Red For Independence Day


Tart cherry juice is a flavor-rich ingredient for cocktails.
Photo by Liv Friis-Larsen | IST.
  One of the healthiest juices you can drink is tart cherry juice. Sometimes called a superfruit,* tart cherries (also called sour cherries and Morello cherries) have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, as compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene (19 times more than blueberries or strawberries), fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins C and E. A growing body of scientific research links cherries to health benefits, from helping to ease the pain of arthritis and gout, to reducing risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Cherries also have been found to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, prevent memory loss and delay the aging process. You can read more about the fruit at the website of the Cherry Marketing Institute, ChooseCherries.com.

*A superfruit is one that has a high antioxidant level as well as nutritional density. Others include açaí, blueberry, cranberry, grape, guarana, mangosteen, noni and pomegranate.

Most of us are acquainted with the fun side of cherries: cherry pie, ice cream, yogurt and other delights. Now consider the cherry cocktail. These bright red cocktails are also perfect for red-themed holidays like Independence Day, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Find recipes for a Cherry Red Eye Mojito and Red Alert Cherry-Coconut Fusion on TheNibble.com.

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TOP PICK: Geoff & Drew’s Brownies

Often, people as, us to recommend brownies. We always ask about the recipient and the occasion. Some companies sell brownies in very nice packaging that are too sweet for the sophisticated palate. We’d send them to a kid, but not to a fine food enthusiast. Others, like the brownies made with Dagoba organic chocolate by artisan chocolatier Chokola’j, are very fine, indeed. But they are too elegant to snarf down at a picnic or barbecue, and too delicate for grab-and-go.

Enter Geoff & Drew’s. There are three flavors, each a variation on the same moist, fudgy brownie. Chocolate Chip is the most classic, Toffee has a subtle caramel topping and Mint will blow your socks off with a large chocolate peppermint pattie embedded in the top—a simple but brilliant idea and our favorite idea to borrow thus far this year. The caveat emptor on these brownies is that they melt in your mouth so easily that one brownie seems like only half a portion. To compensate, we drink an extra tall glass of milk with each. The brownies are individually shrink-wrapped for shelf life as well as easy grab-and-go. Take a closer look in the full review on TheNibble.com. Caution: Photos may cause drooling.

 

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Gourmet Macaroni And Cheese Recipes

  Last year, we published an incredible collection of award-winning macaroni and cheese recipes from Tillamook’s annual competition. We’re thrilled to present this year’s winners. If you have a recipe that’s a national contender, check with Tillamook Cheese for the 2008-2009 competition rules; the deadline for recipe submissions is July 28, 2008. In the meantime, try one of these delicious recipes from this year’s winners, located on TheNibble.com:

-Autumn Comfort Mac with butternut squash, pancetta and cavatappi

-Jumbo Shell Pasta with white cheddar & chicken macaroni

-King Crab Mac & Cheese

-Mi Casa Chicken Pasta

-Pacific Northwest Macaroni & Cheese

-Shrimp Embrochette

 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Old Goat Fruit Salsa, Tomato Jam & Rum Raisin Sauce

Like sweet fruit salsa? Like adorable pygmy goats? Here’s the salsa for you. The line has four mascots: pygmy goat triplets and their canine “brother.” Together, they dish out nice, sweet-and-spicy salsas and an outstanding rum raisin sauce for ham, dessert or whatever you can find an excuse to put it on.

The Szareks have a greenhouse in Clinton, New York, where they grow tomatoes and herbs. Some of their produce goes into their own line, under the Old Goat label. Today, three pygmy goat triplets—Spike, Vinca and Violet—are the honorees. Each goat has a salsa named after it, based on, according to the Szareks, their personalities (Vinca being very sweet, Violet a moderate and Spike, well, hot and ornery).

There’s also a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Baylee, the official “goat herder.” He gets the best deal of all: Our favorite product is named after him! More about that in a moment.

 

 
The Szareks grow their tomatoes and herbs in a greenhouse, without the use of pesticides. Their products, with their sweet labels, will be popular with food lovers and animal lovers alike. Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Old Chatham Sheep’s Milk Yogurt

  People who love fine cow’s milk yogurt may become instant fans of sheep’s milk yogurt—smoother, richer and creamier. Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, producers of acclaimed sheep’s milk cheeses, makes an excellent sheep’s milk yogurt that is more nutritious and healthy than cow’s milk yogurt. The 100% natural line (no artificial thickeners, stabilizers, colors, etc.) also contains probiotic cultures. You also can cook with sheep’s milk yogurt: It does not break down at high temperatures like cow’s milk yogurt.

Sheep were the first animals to be domesticated as mankind transitioned from nomadic hunters to sedentary farmers. Eventually, man discovered how to transform milk into yogurt and cheese. While sheep and goats provided milk and cheese* to ancient civilizations and are still the staple dairy animals in many areas of the world, cows have replaced sheep in countries that have grazing land for them, because of their higher yield: A sheep can give just one quart of milk per day (a high-producing breed, 1.5 quarts); a goat, 3 quarts; a cow, 14 quarts. The lower yield is also why goat’s and sheep’s milk products are usually more expensive than their cow’s milk counterparts.

*Some well-known sheep’s milk cheeses include Feta, Manchego, Ossau-Iraty, Pecorino Romano and Roquefort.

Old Chatham Sheepherding Company has been delighting specialty food consumers for 15 years with its farmstead sheep cheeses—farmstead meaning that the products are made from the milk of the farm’s own animals. Starting with 150 ewes in 1993, the company now has more than 1,000 East Friesian purebred and crossbred sheep, and is the largest sheep dairy farm in the U.S. The fields and pastures are organically managed; while the company has not pursued organic certification, no hormones, routine antibiotics, herbicides or pesticides are used. Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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