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THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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FOOD FUN: Roasted Beet Rose Salad

We love this idea from Ardor Restaurant, located in the West Hollywood Edition hotel in Los Angeles.

This vegetable-forward restaurant uses organic ingredients, prepared simply but (as you can tell from the photo), impressively.

We’d also like to give a shout out to Chef John Fraser, a California native whose cuisine enthralled us when he helmed restaurants in New York City.

Here’s our copycat recipe of his beet “rose.”

Chef Fraser serves this beet “rose” with whipped feta cheese and rose water. We used whipped goat cheese and basil olive oil.

You can substitute hummus or Greek yogurt spread.

The goat cheese or feta spreads are delicious on vegetable sandwiches (especially tomato and basil), crackers, atop baked potatoes, and most anything.

To roast the beets, we used this recipe from Ina Garten.


  • 12 large beets, cleaned
  • 8 ounce log herb and garlic goat cheese or feta cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (or more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely minced (we snip them with a kitchen scissors)
    For The Salad

  • Interesting salad greens (default to mesclun)
  • Vinaigrette (we used a lemon vinaigrette)

    You can roast the beets and/or make the whipped goat cheese a day in advance.

    1. ROAST the beets and cool. Set aside.

    2. MAKE the goat cheese spread. Mince the garlic and add it with the rest of the ingredients, except the chives, to a food processor.

    3. PULSE until completely combined. Stir in the chives. Set aside.


    [1] Beet rose salad, inspired by Ardor Restaurant (photo © Ardor | Los Angeles)

    [2] For this special salad, look for special greens (photo of mizuna mix © Good Eggs).

    [3] Herbed goat cheese (photo © iGourmet).

    4. SLICE the beets into petal shapes. When ready to serve…

    5. PLACE the whipped goat cheese into a serving dish or ramekin.

    6. TOSS the salad very lightly with the vinaigrette and mound onto the center of a large plate or small platter.

    7. MAKE an opening in the center of the salad and arrange the beets into “rose petals.” Start with the center petals and work out. If you have extra chives (cut or uncut), place them in the very middle, where the stamens would be.

    8. DRIZZLE the beets with a small amount of basil, lemon or orange olive oil. Serve.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Spring Panzanella Salad

    Spring Panzanella Salad
    [1] Spring Panzanella Salad, an Italian classic (photos #1 and #2 © Tending The Table | California Olive Ranch).

    Spring Panzanella Salad
    [2] Close-up on the salad.

    [3] Radicchio (this variety is Trevisol; photo © Good Eggs).

    [3] Arbequina EVOO (photo © California Olive Ranch).


    We love all kinds of bread, and that includes biscuits, pizza crusts, and the crunchy category: croutons, crackers, matzo, roti—you get the picture.

    Today’s tip includes homemade croutons, which can be made from many types of bread.

    We typically use artisan loaves, like sourdough or rustic country bread. But you can use any loaf that can be cubed; French or Italian bread, for example.

    Whenever we have too much bread left over from an event, we’ll most certainly make panzanella the next day.

    Panzanella (pahn-za-NEL-ah) is a Tuscan-style “bread salad” made with a loaf of day-old (or older*) Italian bread.

    It was originally cubed into large croutons that were soaked in vinaigrette to soften them.

    It started out as peasant food, when every scrap of food counted, including hardened, leftover bread.

    Here’s the history of panzanella.

    Today, in an era where most of us can toss the stale bread, the process is slightly different: People toast cubes of day-old bread, to make croutons.

    The following recipe came to us from California Olive Ranch, producers of wonderful EVOOs. They adapted the recipe from one by Sasha Swerdloff of Tending The Table.

    Panzanella can be a first course or a main, vegetarian or topped with proteins. There are more recipes below.

    California Olive Ranch recommends Arbequina olive oil in the dressing.

    They like the Arbequina varietal because of its subtle fruitiness and herbal notes. Those flavors pair nicely with fresh produce.

    When you buy a blended olive oil that tastes fruity, that flavor is most likely contributed by Arbequina olives.

    Ingredients For 2 Mains or 4 Side

    For The Croutons

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups rustic bread of choice, sliced or torn into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs of choice, or 2 teaspoons dried herbs (e.g. parsley, thyme, oregano)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    For The Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons Arbequina extra virgin olive oil (or substitute), plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
    For The Salad

  • A few handfuls salads greens, sliced radicchio, baby kale and/or pea shoots
  • 1 cup snap peas, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.

    2. PREPARE the bread: Toss the bread, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in the extra virgin olive oil, adding more as needed. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and toast until crisp, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

    3. MAKE the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until emulsified. Season to taste and set aside.

    4. ASSEMBLE the salad base: Combine the greens, snap peas, sunflower seeds, and parmesan cheese in a large salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat, then top with the croutons.

    5. FINISH with an extra drizzle of olive oil, as desired. Serve and enjoy!


  • Autumn Panzanella Salad
  • Autumn Panzanella Salad #2, With Squash & Lentils
  • Basic Summer Bread Salad
  • Grilled Chicken Panzanella
  • Mix & Match Panzanella Ingredients
  • Naan Panzanella With Curried Croutons
  • Summer Panzanella With Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Summer Panzanella With Peaches & Prosciutto (photo #3)
  • Winter Panzanella With Citrus & Cheese
  • ________________

    *When the bread has no preservatives, we’ve found that one day or two days after purchase is fine for croutons. By the third day, the bread tends to be rock-hard and we can’t slice it. When this happens, though, stick it in the food processor and make high-quality breadcrumbs.

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    PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: Diestel Turkey Meatloaf

    We are big fans of the turkey products from Diestel Family Ranch, a premier breeder of whole turkeys and other turkey treats. There are:

  • Conventional whole turkeys plus Non-GMO and organic options.
  • Boneless turkey breast that’s 100% breast, no patched-up pieces.
  • Turkey burgers, chorizo, franks, ground turkey and sandwich slices including turkey pastrami, sausage.
    Why are Diestel products better?

    The company is committed to raising the leanest, cleanest, most delicious birds that money can buy. The meat is succulent and tender.

    There are no artificial ingredients or preservatives, no hormones, antibiotics, or growth stimulants.

    Everything is produced according to strict animal welfare and environmental standards. The birds are raised in generous spaces where they can roam (photo #5).

    And for 70 years, this has been a family business—now in the fourth generation. Great people, great products.

    One of America’s favorite comfort foods is now on the menu: one-pound turkey meatloaf, ready to heat and eat.

    They let you put dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less.

    There are two varieties:

  • Traditional Sous Vide Turkey Meatloaf: Moist and tender, and great for meatloaf sandwiches (more information).
  • Florentine Sous Vide Turkey Meatloaf: Even more flavorful, this loaf contains spinach, feta, garlic and black pepper (more information).
    Both fully cooked loaves are made from premium coarse-ground turkey, and have a sweet tomato glaze.

    The SRP for a 16-ounce meatloaf is is $8.99 in stores, $13.95 online.

    Sous vide (soo VEED, meaning “under vacuum”) is a French cooking technique, used in professional kitchens for some time but now becoming more popular in American kitchens.

    It is used by the greatest chefs to assure consistency in turning out fine meals. Portions are prepared in individual, sealed plastic bags that are cooked in a water bath.

    This ensures perfectly cooked meat, tender and moist. Here’s more about it.

    We like roast turkey more often than Thanksgiving or or Christmas dinners.

    While we don’t need a whole turkey, Diestel’s Holiday Turkey is always a treat.

    It’s available year-round: a cook-in-bag boneless turkey breast that comes brined, seasoned and ready to roast.

    And it’s soooo good.

    So don’t wait until the holidays: Cook one now!

    Visit the company website,

    See the family and the turkeys for yourself.

    The products are available at retailers nationwide, but you can also order them on the website.


    [1] Diestel Traditional Turkey Meatloaf (all photos © Diestel).

    [2] The package to look for.

    [3] Diestel Florentine Meatloaf.

    [4] The package to look for.

    [5] Diestel turkeys, enjoying their day.



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    FOOD FUN: Upside Down Beer Glasses

    This upside-down beer glass caught our eye. We wanted a set, but couldn’t justify the expenditure (not to mention, no room in our cabinet).

    The double-walled glass keeps your beer colder, for longer.

    There’s no condensation on the outside, either.

    Plan ahead for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day and take a further look at the glasses.

  • The oldest known written recipe in the world is for beer.
  • The first brewery in North America opened in 1642, in Hoboken, New Jersey. The oldest brewery still in business is Yuengling. It began in 1829 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
  • The first beer brewed on the continent was by members of the Roanoke Colony in Virginia, in 1587.
  • Beer was first available in bottles in 1850. Cans arrived in 1935. Cans that opened with pull tabs weren’t launched until 1962.
  • Before then, you needed a punch can opener to open the can (photo #2).
  • The first beer six-packs came onto the market in the 1940s.
  • In 1969, beer in cans outsold beer in bottles for the first time.
  • A barrel of beer in the U.S. holds 31 gallons, enough to fill about 330 twelve-ounce bottles or cans.
  • Aside from water, beer is the second most popular beverage in the world. Tea is the most popular.


    [1] No, you’re not tipsy. This beer glass truly is upside-down (photo © Lily’s Home).

    [2] Before tab tops were available in 1962, you needed a punch can opener to get to your beer. The other side is a bottle opener. You can still get them at Walmart and elsewhere (photo @ Walmart).



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    RECIPE: Chicken Thighs with Polenta

    Chicken & Polenta
    [1] Braised chicken thighs atop creamy polenta (photo © Good Eggs).

    [2] Large chicken thighs (photo © Good Eggs)

    [3] Use a braising dish or a casserole dish. A Dutch oven also works (photo of casserole dish © Lodge Cast Iron).

    [4] A wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, ready to grate (photo © YinYang iStock Photo).


    As a follow up to our polenta discussion and recipe earlier today, here’s another great way to serve it.

    Serve your mains with creamy polenta instead of grain, noodles or potatoes.

    Thanks to Good Eggs for the recipe. Note that although this recipe says it provides three servings, we could eat all three chicken thighs ourselves (we’re not known for a modest appetite).

    Ingredients For 3 Servings

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  • A handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 large chicken thighs
  • 2 yellow onions, cut in half and sliced into ¼” pieces
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • ½ can whole tomatoes (ideally San Marzano), roughly chopped and 1 cup of the liquid reserved
  • 2-3 cups of chicken stock (substitute water)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 4 or 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

    1. PAT the chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

    2. ADD the canola oil to a braising dish, casserole dish or Dutch oven (photo #2): wide and deep, with a fitted lid. Place it over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down.

    3. BROWN the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side, until it’s nice and golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan, leaving the drippings, and add the garlic, onions and carrots. Brown until they have some color, about 2 minutes. Remove them from the pan.

    Once you’re through browning the chicken and vegetables…

    4. POUR off the fat into an empty jar or other receptacle, but not down the sink! Turn the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, along with their liquid, to the pan. With a wooden spoon, scrape the fond (brown bits) off the bottom of the pan and stir into the tomato sauce (this is called deglazing).

    5. ADD the vegetables and the chicken, skin side up, back to the pan and arrange in a single layer. Pour in enough stock or water to bring the level of liquid to just about the level of the chicken skin, and add the bay leaves. Cover the pan with its lid and simmer for about an hour.

    While the chicken cooks…

    6. MAKE the polenta. Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a pot. In a small bowl, whisk together a cup of water, a teaspoon of salt and a cup of polenta. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the water-polenta mixture and turn the heat down to medium.

    7. COOK the polenta for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. When the water is absorbed and the polenta is the texture of a thick porridge, add a tablespoon or so of butter to taste. Season with parmigiano or salt to finish.

    When the chicken is done…

    8. SERVE the chicken and vegetables alongside the polenta, with some of the sauce spooned over it. Garnish with parsley and dig in!



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