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

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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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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Dough Ray Me Artisan Cookies

We’re always on the lookout for “special” cookies, to bring (or send) as gifts or to serve as a light dessert at the end of a fine dinner. And when we invite friends and neighbors for tea or coffee, we like to set out something noteworthy yet effortless: impressive cookies. Alas, with the expense of running an artisan bakery these days, it’s not easy to find something noteworthy, much less impressive. The cookies in the case at most of our local bakeries and specialty food stores are pretty unexciting and not worth the calories. Meet Jon Dough—a.k.a. Jon Chazen, a pastry chef who is at the ready with a solution to the dull cookie blues. His company, Dough Ray Me, specializes in what we call mignardises (min-yar-DEEZ, from the French for “precious”)—although Jon Dough is too down-to-earth to use the term. Mignardises are a type of miniature baked good, also called petit-fours (you may get a plate of them at the end of dinner at a fine restaurant). Mignardises can take many shapes, and Jon’s are bite-size cookies. The ten varieties range from familiar flavors (double chocolate and peanut butter-chocolate) to the less familiar (hazelnut-cardamom and sesame-gingerbread).   Dough Ray Me Cookies
Dough Ray Me cookies are so petite, they can sit on the saucer of a teacup.
The versatile bites are most welcome for entertaining, as a light dessert or a garnish for more elaborate desserts, and as a snack for people who deserve the best. Beautiful packaging choices makes these cookies a “precious” gift for any occasion. Party-givers can buy them in bulk. Read the full review of Dough Ray Me and then order your own stash. You can find more of our favorite cookies in the Cookies Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Fusion Antipasto Recipe

Piquillo Peppers
Piquillo peppers add color and flavor to what
would have been a plain lettuce salad. Photo
courtesy El Navarrico.

Create a fusion dish by using Italian antipasto ingredients to dress up your salad course.

Marinated tomatoes, roasted peppers or artichokes from a high-quality manufacturer like Divina are wonderful on their own, but are even more grand atop greens.

You can use the oil marinade from quality jarred vegetables as your salad dressing and shave some Parmesan on top to finish your dish.

Visit the Gourmet Vegetables Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine for more salad recipes.


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PRODUCT REVIEW: Good Clean Food Simmer Sauces

Good Clean Food is dedicated to the proposition that we’d all prefer a good, home-cooked meal on the table—if only it were easy to put it there. Now you can turn out delicious, healthy meals quickly, with Good Clean Food simmer sauces. Just pour the contents of the jar of one of the six varieties into a frying pan, add fish, shrimp, chicken breasts or pork and simmer for 10 or so minutes. Take a bite: You’ve got truly delicious and complex-flavored food. The flavor is in the details: The all-natural product line is made from top ingredients, and truly tastes like “good, clean food.”

Great attention is given to each ingredient:

  Good Clean Food Creole Simmer Sauce
Shrimp in Good Clean Food’s Creole Sauce simmered to perfection in six or seven minutes.
The cider comes from an orchard in western Maine, the state where Good Clean Food is produced. The chicken bones that make the stock come from Bell & Evans chickens. The mustard in the Tarragon Simmer Sauce is made at Raye’s Mustard Mill, North America’s last remaining traditional, stone-ground mustard mill founded in 1889. The Kalamata olives are from Divina, one of our favorite importers of quality Greek foods. There are currently six sauces: three for chicken or pork (Cacciatore, French Tarragon, Maine Cider) and three for fish or seafood (Creole, Mediterranean, Scandinavian Dill). Read the full review of Good Clean Foods simmer sauces. Find more of our favorite sauces in THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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