The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - Part 4
THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods

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Grilled Cheese Twist: A Recipe For Pork Belly Grilled Cheese Sandwich

[1] A formidable triple-decker pork belly grilled cheese sandwich from Slaters 50/50 (photo © Slaters 50/50).

[2] A slab of pork belly (photo © The Country Victualler).

[3] Strips of pork belly (photo © Wild Fork Foods).

[4] What cheese do you want on your sandwich? Slater’s uses pimento cheese, made with cheddar. We added a slice of emmenthaler, a Swiss cheese (photo © Murray’s Cheese).

[5] Bacon ketchup: Who knew? This is a spicy version. There are also mild versions (photo © Ass Kickin’).


This is quite some grilled cheese sandwich (photo #1), created by Scott Slater, founder of the burger chain Slater’s 50/50.

It’s a restaurant whose signature burger is 50% ground bacon/50% ground beef.

“We do bacon better than anybody, and this sandwich is no exception,” says company founder Scott Slater.

Pork Belly Grilled Cheese is his take on a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon, and is a big hit with patrons (the difference between bacon and pork belly is below).

The Pork Belly Grilled Cheese sandwich uses pimento cheese spread instead of sliced cheese. We put together a copycat recipe based on Slater’s description of the sandwich. Then we added our own twist: a slice of emmental, a swiss cheese (photo #4).

Of course, for the real thing, head to a Slater’s 50/50 California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada or Texas.The restaurant makes its own pimento cheese, jalapeño-bacon jam and pickled red onions. We’ve provided some hacks in the instructions.

Slater’s serves the sandwich with french fries and a proprietary bacon ketchup.

You can buy bacon ketchup; or here’s a recipe.

We think the sandwich has enough flavor that it doesn’t need another condiment, like ketchup.

> Check out the different types of bacon.


  • Sourdough bread, sliced
  • Thick-cut pork belly
  • Cheese slices of choice (e.g. cheddar, gruyère/Swiss)
  • Pimento cheese
  • Optional: butter, softened
  • Jalapeño-bacon jam
  • Pickled red onions

    Photo #1 shows a triple decker sandwich. We made a single-decker sandwich, which was plenty rich and satisfying.

    1. PICKLE the onions. You can purchase pickled onions, but here’s how to pickle them from scratch. You can pickle the onions up to a week in advance. The longer they’re in the brine, the more the pickled flavor.

    2. PREPARE the pimento cheese. If you don’t buy it ready made, here’s a recipe.

    3. PREPARE the jalapeño bacon jam. You can purchase bacon jam and stir in minced jalapeños. Or, here’s a recipe.

    4. SLICE and cook the pork belly. You can pan-fry it, roast it, or slow-cook it. Here’s how. When ready to assemble the sandwich…

    5. TOAST the bread. Butter it lightly if you desire (we thought it was overkill), and slather it with pimento cheese. Add the pork belly. In our version, we added a slice of emmental (Swiss) cheese, and used a butane kitchen torch that we use for crème brûlée).

    6. ADD the top piece of toast and serve.


    Bacon is made by salting and seasoning different cuts of pork through a process called curing—using salt to draw moisture out.

    In addition the U.S., the belly meat* is typically used. The bacon is then cured—salted, to draw out moisture—and smoked, to add smoky flavor.

    While it comes from the same belly of the pig, pork belly is neither cured nor smoked. It is also served in thicker slices and instead of smoky flavor, has a softness ad slick mouthfeel from the added layers of fat.

    All bacon is pork belly but not all pork belly is bacon.

    Though a fattier meat, it can be diced for stir-fry, rolled for roasting or cut into square or rectangular “steaks.”


    *The belly is the area on the lower side and underside of the pig, from which American bacon (“streaky bacon”) is made. In other countries, bacon is also made from the back, butt, jowls, loin, shoulder and sides. Sometimes it is smoked, sometimes not.




    Harney & Sons Tea Gift Set

    It’s often difficult to pick a gift for someone. So many of us have more “stuff” than we need, and/or no place to put anything else. That’s why we always give food gifts.

    If the giftee* is a tea drinker, there are many fine gifts of loose tea, and even tea bags.

    Here are two of our favorite gift ideas from Harney & Sons, one of America’s finest tea purveyors.

    If you’re not sure if the recipient uses loose tea, how about Harney’s Deluxe Loose Tea Starter Kit?

    It’s currently on sale, too, for $—29.95—a 40% reduction from the regular price of $49.95 (plus free shipping).

    Loose tea might seem cumbersome, but it’s not.

    It takes just seconds more to fill the tea strainer and pop the strainer into the hot water, instead of a tea bag.

    Connoisseurs agree that loose tea is the best way to brew‡.

    The starter kit helps anyone become a “master infusiast,” right at the kitchen counter.

    The kit includes everything needed to enjoy the perfect cup, with top quality† tea):

  • A 4-ounce tin of Paris black tea, very aromatic and fruity with vanilla and caramel flavors.
  • A 4-ounce tin of Hot Cinnamon Spice black tea, with three types of cinnamon, orange peel and cloves.
  • A “perfect” teaspoon, to measure the perfect amount of loose tea.
  • A fine mesh brew-in-mug infuser, to fill with tea and pop into a mug.
  • A timer, so you know when to remove the infuser.
    Even the sturdy black and gold gift box is a “keeper,” to store or organize other items in your home.

    Order it from Harney & Sons.


    [1] The Deluxe Loose Tea Starter Kit (photos © The Nibble).

    [2] Open the box, and find everything needed to brew a great cup of tea.


    Another option Tea Of The Month, a monthly subscription that delivers premium loose teas or sachets (tea bags) with brewing instructions and tasting notes.

    The tea selection change each month, and include black, green, oolong and white teas.

    Here are the details.

    > The Different Types Of Tea

    > The History Of Tea

    > The History Of Tea Bags


    *We prefer “giftee” to “recipient,” because it is explicit that the person is recieving a gift. A recipient can receive anything.

    †Whole tea leaves that are infused in hot water provide the best flavor. They are the top quality tea leaves. Broken tea leaves need to be infused in bags. A name familiar to Americans, orange pekoe, is not a type of tea but a grade of tea. It is the second highest grade in a seven-tier grading system for black tea. It describes the size and physical condition of the leaf.

    When loose tea leaves are steeped in a pot or cup, there is plenty of room for them to move around, absorb water and expand. The water flow through the leaves and extracts (infuses) the flavors and aromas. In a bag, the leaves are constrained so there is less infusion.

    ‡Tea bags are a relatively new way to brew tea (the history of tea bags).



    For National Dairy Month, The Most Popular Dairy Products

    June is National Dairy Month. Dairy products are those made of mammal’s milk.

    While cow’s milk is most popular in the U.S., we also consume goat’s, sheep’s and water buffalo’s milk, both as a drink and made into cheese, yogurt and other products.

    In some countries, still other animals are milked for drinking, cooking, butter- and cheese-making:

  • Camel’s milk (Middle East and Horn of Africa)
  • Mare’s milk (Mongolia and Central Asia)
  • Yak’s milk (Nepal and Tibet)
  • Reindeer’s milk (Lapland and Norway)
    Then there’s the unusual and one-off production of sow’s milk cheese, made by a pig farmer in The Netherlands.

    He auctioned it for charity. The hammer price was 1,500 euros per kilo, making it by far the most expensive cheese ever sold worldwide.

    Given the ordeal to make it, we are unlikely to see too much more of it.

    Here’s more about it, and the other unusual [to us] milks.

    Goat’s milk is the number-one consumed milk in the world. More than 65% of the world’s population drinks it instead of cow’s milk. That’s because it’s easy to keep a goat.

  • One goat can produce an average of a gallon and a half of milk a day, more than enough for a single family.
  • Whether one goat or a herd, goats take up less space and need less feed than a dairy cow.
  • Goat milk is less likely to cause lactose intolerance (it contains fewer lactose molecules), and is thys easier to digest than cow’s milk.
  • Because it contains less fat, it’s naturally homogenized and doesn’t separate like cow’s milk will.
  • And, they’re much more affordable to purchase [source].
    By the way, if you’re a fan of goat cheese, try goat milk and goat butter. It’s the same flavor in a different format.

    Liquid milk, a popular beverage, is also used to make butter, cheese and cream (which in turn becomes custard, dulce de leche, ice cream, and so forth).

    Liquid milk is preserved into evaporated milk, condensed milk, powdered milk and whey protein.

    Liquid milk is fermented into cultured buttermilk, kefir, sour cream and yogurt.

    While we called these the most “popular” dairy products in the headline, it’s more precise to call them the most consumed dairy products.

    Few will be surprised by this ranking, which is shown in pounds per capita.

    Fluid milk and cream, the largest category, includes milk of all fat percentages, plus buttermilk, cream, eggnog, frozen yogurt, ice cream, milk sherbet, sour cream.

    Here is consumption per capita:

  • Fluid milk and cream 203.65 pounds/capita
  • Cheese 33.21 pounds/capita
  • Frozen dairy products 21.17 pounds/capita
  • Evaporated and condensed milk 7.03 pounds/capita
  • Butter 4.87 pounds/capita
  • Dried dairy products (not whey) 3.72 pounds/capita
  • Cottage cheese 2.33 pounds/capita
  • Dried whey 1.29 pounds/capita

    In its natural (raw) state, cow’s milk is more than 87% water. The remainder consists of butterfat, whey and casein proteins, lactose (milk carbohydrates/sugars), and ash (vitamins and minerals).

    The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of cow’s milk. The countries producing the largest amount of cow’s milk, in metric tonnes:

    1. 1 United States 91.3 metric tonnes†
    2. 2 India 60.6 metric tonnes
    3. 3 China 35.7 metric tonnes
    4. 4 Brazil 34.3 metric tonnes
    5. 5 Germany 31.1 metric tonnes
    6. 6 Russia 30.3 metric tonnes
    7. 7 France 23.7 metric tonnes
    8. 8 New Zealand 18.9 metric tonnes
    9. 9 Turkey 16.7
    10. 10 United Kingdom 13.9



    *Data are for the year 2010 and are taken from the USDA ERS Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System and the Agricultural Research Service National Agricultural Library.
    †Ton and tonne are not the same measurement. A ton is a measurement used in the U.S. (i.e., an imperial measurement, along inch, foot and mile) (still widely used in the USA); a tonne is a metric measurement (along with centimeter, kilo and kilometer).
    > A ton is 2,000 pounds.
    > A tonne, also called a megagram, is one million grams or 1,000 kilograms.
    Here’s more about them.


    [1] Thanks for the milk! The black-and-white Holstein is the iconic dairy cow (photo © Jean Carlo Emer | Unsplash).

    [2] Thanks for the milk! East Friesian sheep, originally bred in the East Frisia region of northern Germany, are one of the best for sheep dairying (photo © Bellwether Farms).

    [3] Thanks for the milk! The La Mancha goat is a “good milker” (photo © Mirciov Dan | Unsplash).

    [4] Thanks for the milk! In the U.S., it’s most often found in bufala mozzarella cheese (photo © Alex Azabache | Unsplash).

    [5] A refreshing glass of full-fat cow’s milk (photo © Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board).




    Sustainable Seafood Options For World Oceans Day

    [1] Sustainable fishing has helped to conserve the populations of wild-caught fish (photos #1 and #2 © Marine Stewardship Council).

    [2] Family fishing boats and fleets are part of the vanguard in sustainable fishing.

    [3] Fish farming (aquaculture) in pens in the Mediterranean, outside of Marseilles, France (photo © Marcovdz | Columbia Climate School).

    [4] Sustainably caught swordfish (photos #4 through #7 © D’Artagnan).

    [5] Wild, line-caught Chilean sea bass.

    [6] A popular selection, this Norwegian salmon is farm-raised in open agriculture.

    [7] Red grouper, so-called because its rusty-red skin color easily distinguishes it from other groupers.


    June 8th is World Oceans Day. The observance was passed in 2008 by the United Nations General Assembly.

    All of us learned in grade school that oceans cover more than 70% of the planet. Here’s a refresher on other key points:

  • The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen.
  • Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impact on global warming.
  • It’s the main source of protein for more than a billion people.
  • It’s key to world economy, with an estimated 40 million people employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.
  • It’s home to most of Earth’s biodiversity.
    The oceans are key to life, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth. (Thanks to the United Nations for this information.)

    But now, with 90% of big fish populations depleted though over-fishing, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed†, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished.

    Although it is for a different article than this one, here’s a quick note that in addition to overfishing, ocean pollution is egregious. Just one example: Eight million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, and make up 80% of all ocean debris.

    Fish mistake the plastic for food, eat it and die, diminishing their populations. Plus, as discarded plastic decomposes in the ocean, fish consume the microscopic pieces. Eating those fish puts that plastic in our bodies, as well. Here’s more about it.

    To protect and preserve the ocean and all it sustains, organizations and researchers are working on how create a new balance.

    The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) was formed to encourage sustainable fishing practices that protect the future of fishing communities, preserve ocean ecosystems, and ensure seafood is available to everyone, always (photos #1 and #2).

    One immediate way is through aquaculture, or fish farming.

    When the American Heart Association recommended that we eat fish at least twice a week*, global per capita fish consumption almost doubled from the 1960s to 2012.

    Today, about half of all the seafood consumed by mankind is produced through aquaculture, also called fish farming [source].

    Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing methods of producing food in the world. It’s a much more sustainable way to get protein than animal farming.

    Eating farmed fish is far better for the environment than eating meat or poultry. But aquaculture got a bad name in the past. A lot of damage was caused to the ocean environment via harmful practices.

    But those having been recognized, aquaculture techniques have improved greatly and will continue to do so. Fisheries in responsible countries are turning the practice into an environmentally friendly one.

    The most common type of aquaculture is farming in net pens (photo #3) or cages anchored to the sea floor in the ocean near the coast. There are also closed systems of tanks or ponds that float on water or operate on land.

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. (FAO) estimates that more than 600 aquatic species are produced globally in a variety of aquaculture system.

    The FAO projects that by 2030, fish farming will be generate almost two-thirds of the fish consumed on the planet. Here’s more about it.

    D’Artagnan, long known for fine proteins from meats and game, ducks and poultryk, and charcuterie.

    A purveyor of choice to top chefs across the nation for the more than 35 years, the company has expanded into sustainable seafood in direct response to consumers’ growing interest in responsibly sourced proteins being conveniently delivered to their homes.

    The line includes both wild-caught fish and those raised by aquaculture.

    As it does with land proteins, D’Artagnan works with conscientious fishers who respect the environment and the ecosystems. All D’Artagnan seafood is certified sustainable, fair trade, or organic by gold-standard international watch groups.

    All of D’Artagnan’s offerings are flash-frozen at sea immediately after catch, or soon after on shore, to protect the flavor, texture and freshness, and portioned individually for convenience.

    They are delivered to your home frozen, and can be defrosted overnight in the fridge.

  • Ahi Yellowfin Tuna: Premium-quality ahi tuna, wild-caught by hand-line fishermen. Marine Stewardship Council certified fishery for traceability and sustainability.
  • Black Tiger Shrimp: Jumbo sized, farm-raised, organic, Certified European Union Organic and Best Aquaculture Practices with no additives, preservatives or antibiotics.
  • Chilean Sea Bass: Wild, line-caught, responsibly sourced (photo #5). Snow-white flesh, comparable to sablefish or black cod. Certified Sustainable by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Hawaiian Pink Snapper: Wild, rod-and-reel caught in Hawaii; responsibly sourced, prized for its clear, light-pink flesh and delicate flavor. Certified Sustainable by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • King Turbot: Farm-raised in Spain on sustainable aquafarms. Certified Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) and Global GAP (Good Agricultural Practices).
  • Mahi Mahi: Wild, line-caught, responsibly sourced, with mild, sweet flavor and firm texture.
  • North Atlantic Cod: Wild, line-caught, responsibly sourced and Certified Sustainable by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Norwegian Salmon: Sustainably farm-raised in open aquaculture, Global GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) and Marine Stewardship Council for best practices (photo #6).
  • Red Grouper: Sustainably line caught in the Gulf of Mexico (photo #7); certified by National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Sea Scallops: Jumbo dry, wild-caught in New England, dry-packed, never treated with additives or preservatives.
  • Sockeye Salmon: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, Marine Stewardship Council certified for sustainability.
  • Swordfish: Wild, line-caught, responsibly sourced from Mediterranean Sea (photo #4). Moist and flavorful with a slightly sweet taste, moderately high oil content and a firm, meaty texture.
    (Remember that more than 600 aquatic species are farmed globally via aquaculture. Whatever you’re looking for, you should be able to find a sustainable option.)



    *Fish are heart-healthy: high in protein, low in saturated fats and rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

    †Coral reefs provide shelter and food to a complex web of organisms that support the fish supply eaten by mankind. Without the coral reefs, the ocean will not be able to absorb as much carbon dioxide, leaving more CO2 in the atmosphere. The reefs also act as natural barriers to shorelines, protecting them from the negative effects of the water. As the coral reefs die, coastlines become more susceptible to damage and flooding from storms, hurricanes and cyclones. Here’s more about it.



    Iced Cold Brew Recipes With Soda & Illy Cold Brew

    illy Ready To Drink Cold Brew in cans has been around for a year or so. But until now, we’ve only drunk it straight from the can.

    (Yes, the brand spells its name in small letters—illy—but the editor in us will refrain from a rant.)

    Now, the brand gives us a creative new take on cold coffee drinks.

    illy worked with Italian Master Barista Giorgio Milos to develop three fusion iced cold brew recipes that combine illy with carbonated soft drinks.

    While the concept may sound unusual, trust Sig. Milos on this, and add something different to your summer coffee-drinking.

    These three cold brew x soda recipes are simple to make, with 3 ingredients or less. Easy, peasy, fun. But first, let us introduce you to…

    illy Ready To Drink Cold Brew is cold brewed for 12 hours, resulting in a flavor that is naturally sweet and balanced, with less acidity (photo #1).

    It’s made with 100% Arabica coffee beans (more about Arabica), all natural, preservative-free, no added colors or flavors.

    And illycaffè is a leading global force in sustainable high-quality coffee—a feel-better product.

    The 8.45 fluid-ounce can has 190mg caffeine. There no sugar added, and the can is just 5 calories.

    If you make the recipe with diet soft drinks, you can enjoy the beverage for…just 5 calories.

    While Sig. Milos offers his pro tip for each recipe, THE NIBBLE has a tip of its own:

    All of these are great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    Another tip: Before you start mixing, chill all the ingredients.

    The combination of cola and cold brew combines two popular pick-me-ups. You may become a big fan.

    Recipe: Fill a 12-ounce glass halfway with ice, add 5 ounces of cold brew and finish with 4 ounces of your cola of choice.

    Pro Tip: Elevate this recipe by using a craft or artisan cola (Boylan’s, GuS or any of the fine regional brands).

    Cream soda (which is flavored with vanilla) pairs nicely with the smooth caramel and chocolatey notes of the cold brew. Here’s how to update a glass of cream soda.

    Recipe: Fill a 12-ounce glass halfway with ice. Add 4 ounces of illy cold brew, 4 ounces of cream soda, and mix.

    Pro Tip: Always add the carbonated ingredient last, to keep the bubbles lively.

    Cherry and coffee? Yes indeed: This new take on cherry soda will make you a believer.

    Recipe: Fill a 12-ounce glass halfway with ice, add 1 ounce of cherry syrup, add 4 ounces of cold brew and stir gently. Top with 4 ounces of plain seltzer water. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

    (Editor’s Note: We didn’t have cherry syrup, so we used cherry soda, replacing both the syrup and the seltzer water.)

    Pro Tip: Seltzer water is more carbonated and doesn’t go flat as quickly as club soda, sparkling water or mineral waters.

    Gather the ingredients and have a taste test.

    illy’s canned cold brew is available on and Amazon.



    [1] illy Cold Brew takes on a new role, as a mixer with soft drinks (all photos © illycaffè).

    [2] Add your favorite cola to illy Cold Brew for a caffeinated summer refresher.

    [3] The cream soda and illy combination may be our favorite.

    [4] A new take on “cherry soda.”




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