THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Gooey On The Inside Cookies

Gooey On The Inside Chocolate Chip Cookie
[1] Chocolate Chip Chunk Cookie (all photos courtesy Gooey On The Inside).

Gooey On The Inside Birthday Cake Cookie
[2] A new classic cookie: Birthday Cake.

Gooey On The Inside Red Velvet Cookie
[3] Red Velvet and cream cheese.

Gooey On The Inside Molten Cookie In A Jar
[4] A terrific party favor or stocking stuffer: Molten Cookie In A Jar.

 

Have you ever had “the best cookie ever?”

It’s not hyperbole; in any individual flavor there may be a bevy of “best cookies ever.”

What puts a cookie in a group described as the “best?”

For picky palates, it’s when your first taste informs you that you have an outstanding bite of food. It’s when you know that it doesn’t get better than this.

This was our reaction to Gooey On The Inside cookies, a brand of handcrafted, baked-to-order cookies that was born when a career public servant in the New York City government decided to embark on her second career.

Kafi Dublin started to develop a “perfect” cookie recipe—crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside—in a tiny Manhattan apartment kitchen.

After countless rounds of recipe-tweaking, her line, Gooey on the Inside, was launched.

Her flavors are classics, with some fresh takes on old favorites. They are irresistible, they engender happiness, they are splendid.

They are chunky-thick, sink-your-teeth-into cookies, layered with flavor and chock full of so many ingredients—chips, marshmallows, whatever—that satiety is guaranteed. The ingredients are the best: Callebaut and Valrhona chocolate chocolate chips and chunks, for example.

They’re ready to eat when they arrive, but 10-15 seconds in the microwave (or 2-3 minutes in a 350° oven) turns out warm, gooey cookies.

The line currently includes:

  • BIRTHDAY CAKE COOKIE, filled with white chocolate chunks, colorful sprinkles and real real birthday cake flavor.
  • CARAMEL CHOCOLATE CHIP CHUNK COOKIE, with a welcome addition: delectable Cadbury Caramel Chocolate Spread at the core.
  • CARROT CAKE COOKIE, a sweet carrot dough, a cream-cheese frosting center and white chocolate chunks. It’s as close to carrot cake as a cookie can get.
  • CHOCOLATE CHIP CHUNK COOKIE is easily equal to the best we’ve ever had. Dark and milk chocolate chips combine with dark chocolate chunks in a delicious execution of America’s favorite cookie.
  • PB & J S’MORES COOKIE: For PB & J lovers, what could be better than peanut butter and raspberry jam, integrated with layers of milk chocolate, dark chocolate and marshmallow? This cookie gets our “outstanding innovation” award.
  • PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP CHUNK COOKIE: This recipe ofpeanut butter chips, dark and milk chocolate chips and dark chocolate chunks is the most chock-full of chocolate you could desire.
  • RED VELVET COOKIE, for the legions of red velvet fans, has a cream-cheese frosting center and is topped off with white chocolate chunks.
  • S’MORES COOKIE: When you warm this cookie in the microwave, the campfire cookie comes to life with a blend of milk chocolate, dark chocolate and marshmallows. It’s the epitome of ooey-gooey perfection.
  • VANILLA HONEYCOMB COOKIE has no actual honey, but uses chunks of old-fashioned honeycomb candy: a crunchy, chewy, caramel candy. Folded into a burnt brown sugar cookie dough, the honeycomb candy remains crispy on the inside, chewy on the outside, and creates tiny ribbons of caramel throughout the cookie.
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    Each cookie is approximately 3″ round (5.5 ounces), serves 1-2 people, and costs $5.00.

    They are individually vacuum sealed and what you can’t eat in three days, you can freeze (fat chance!).

    Hungry yet? There’s more:

     
    GooWees square mini bite cookies, and All Things Jars, a mason jar layered with cookie dough and “stuffings.”

    This is the best treat or gift you can give or get.
     
     
    GET YOUR COOKIES AT GOOEYONTHEINSIDE.COM.

      

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    RECIPE: Spring Pea & Asparagus Salad

    We love the Brazilian churrascaria Fogo de Châo (locations nationwide), not just because of the delicious meats hand-carved at your table, but for the seemingly endless Market Table.

    Laden with everything healthy—fruits, vegetables, salads, charcuterie and more—you could make a meal of the Market Table alone (and in fact, vegetarians are happy to do so).

    We enjoyed this Market Table seasonal salad so much that we asked for the recipe. It couldn’t be easier.

     
    RECIPE: SPRING PEA & ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH CHIMICHURRI DRESSING

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4-5 cups baby arugula, washed and patted dry
  • 2 cups asparagus tips, blanched and chilled (we also cut up the equally-delicious stalks)
  • 2 cups sweet green peas, uncooked
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled (substitute blue or feta cheese)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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    For The Chimichurri Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing of choice (homemade recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • Optional*: 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey
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    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dressing: Combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse 5 times.

    2. PLACE the arugula in a salad bowl. Add the asparagus, peas and goat cheese. Toss as desired.

    3. POUR the dressing over the salad and top with the lemon zest. Pour the lemon juice over the salad.

    4. SEASON with salt and pepper to taste.
     
     
    RECIPE: HOMEMADE ITALIAN DRESSING

    This dressing can be prepared a day ahead, covered and refrigerated.
     
    Ingredients For 1/2 cup

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • Optional: Pinch of sugar or splash of agave
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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    Spring Pea & Asparagus Salad
    [1] From the Market Table at Fogo de Châo to your table at home (photo courtesy Fogo de Châo).

    Shelled Peas
    [2] Spring peas, fresh from The Chef’s Garden.

    Fresh Green Asparagus

    [3] Fresh asparagus from Baldor Specialty Foods.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in small bowl and whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    ________________

    *We don’t like sweet salad dressings, although more and more recipes include a substantial amount of sweetener. Our mom always advised, “Use a pinch” of sugar.

      

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    GREAT EVENT: Kids Food Festival

    Mark your calendars for The Kids Food Festival, an annual event that teaches kids and their parents the art of healthy eating in a fun, non-preachy way.

    Given the growth of Americans’ girth, we can never have enough opportunities to re-enforce how to make balanced food choices and create good lifelong eating habits.

    When kids are immersed in enjoyable activities, they absorb information more effectively. Families will cook, laugh and taste their way to making balanced food choices!

    Festivities include hands-on cooking classes in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation, family-friendly entertainment and activities, and lots of tastings. It’s a great outing.
     
     
    WHEN & WHERE

    Head to the World Trade Center the weekend of May 12th and 13th.

    May 13th is Mother’s Day; what would please Mom more than a lively way for the family to learn better food choices?

    Get your forks ready for a weekend full of flavorful fun!

    General admission is free; hands-on cooking classes are $25.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT KIDSFOODFESTIVAL.COM.

    The Kids Food Festival supports the American Heart Association and their initiatives to improve kids’ health.
     
     
    WANT TO VOLUNTEER?

    The Kids Food Festival is seeking volunteers and interns for culinary and administrative assignments.

    Opportunities include assisting chefs during cooking demonstrations, assisting children during hands-on cooking classes, prep work, general event production and more.

    Email VolunteerOutreach@KidsFoodFestival.com.

    Kids Food Festival

      

    Comments

    PRODUCTS: New Coffee Products

    Keurig Elite
    [1] Our new Keurig K-Elite (photo courtesy Keurig).

    Laughing Man Coffee
    [2] Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man Coffee (photo courtesy Green Mountain).

    Green Mountain Kenya Highlands Coffee
    [3] Green Mountain’s Kenya Highlands single origin coffee (photo courtesy Green Mountain).

    Javamelts

    Javamelts
    [4] and [5] Javamelts flavored sugar tablets, individually wrapped for easy portability, in 24-packs or this gift box (photos courtesy Javamelts).

     

    It’s “coffee week” at THE NIBBLE. We have a new coffee brewer, new K-cups, new flavored sugars, and delight in all of them.
     
     
    1. KEURIG K-ELITE SINGLE SERVE COFFEE BREWER

    Our brother, who doesn’t drink coffee and needs it only for an occasional visitor, watched me make a cup with my Keurig single-cup brewer.

    “Should I get one of these,” he, who serves guests instant coffee, asked?

    Sold! Or actually, given: I gave him my two-year-old Keurig and traded up to the latest model, the Keurig K-Elite (photo #1).

    It has all the features of the last model, with new options such as a Strong Brew setting and an extra brew size, 12 ounces, for travel mugs.

    You can adjust the temperature to make the water hotter; and on the other end of the spectrum, there’s an Iced Setting for people who want to direct-brew iced coffee. It brews to a strength that doesn’t get diluted when you add ice.

    We spent many years grinding and brewing our own beans, even though we only drank one or two cups of coffee. With all the K-cup options available today, we’re Keurig converts!

    Check out the details and buy it online.
     
     
    2. LAUGHING MAN COFFEE

    Actor Hugh Jackman likes coffee, and also likes social missions. As co-founder of Laughing Man Coffee (photo #2), his mission to deliver premium coffee and give back to the farmers who produce it.

    The Fair Trade-certified brand was founded in 2011 following a trip to Ethiopia where Jackman met a young coffee farmer named Dukale. Inspired by his perseverance and optimism in what is a hard life, Jackman moved to help improve the lives of coffee farmers.

    He developed the Laughing Man brand with Keurig Green Mountain, and contributes 100% of his profits to the Laughing Man Foundation, an organization that supports coffee farming communities with programs that abet healthcare, education and housing for coffee farmers and their families.

    The coffee is available bagged and in K-cups, which are in recyclable plastic. All four varieties are made from premium 100% Fair Trade Certified arabica coffee that is carefully harvested by hand.

  • Hugh’s Blend is a medium roast with complementary notes of tart green apple and toasted graham cracker.
  • Dukale’s Blend is a medium roast coffee that is a tribute to Dukale, who inspired the line.
  • Colombia Huila is a dark roast, single origin variety from Colombia, with notes of black cherry and chocolate.
  • Ethiopia Sidama is a light roasted single-origin coffee, with bright citrus notes of bergamot and lime.
  •  
    Now it’s your turn, to make every cup you drink contribute to social good. Get Laughing Man at Keurig.com, and consider buying some as gifts for your Hugh Jackman-loving friends.

    Who doesn’t love Hugh Jackman?

    The line is certified kosher by OU.
     
     
    3. GREEN MOUNTAIN SINGLE ORIGIN KENYA HIGHLANDS COFFEE

    We’ve been enjoying a box of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Single Origin Kenya Highlands Coffee (photo #3), which we received to sample.

    Kenyan coffee is often described as bold, big and juicy, with excellent acidity. Some tasters find notes of blackcurrant, or call it winey (both excellent flavors).

    Green Mountain’s Single Origin cooperatives and farms employ progressive farm management principles, and have a direct supply chain relationship with Green Mountain Coffee (i.e., no middlemen cutting into the farmers’ profits).

    The coffee is also Fair Trade Certified, meaning that small farmers are paid a fair price for their beans, enabling them to invest in the quality of their coffee and quality of life for their families and communities.

    It’s the most socially-conscious way to buy Kenyan coffee: While the volcanic-soil highlands yield some of the best coffee in the world, Kenya’s coffee farmers are among the poorest (source).

    You can find the Kenya Highlands coffee on Amazon and Costco Online.

     
    JAVAMELTS

    If you like flavored coffee, you can carry it with you at all times—in the form of Javamelts, individually-wrapped flavored sugar cubes (actually, they’re rectangles—photos #4 and #5).

    They’re an innovative and convenient new way to flavor and sweeten coffee (or tea), in four flavors:

  • Caramel
  • French Vanilla
  • Hazelnut
  • Mocha
  •  
    A Javamelt turns any plain cup of coffee into flavored, sweetened coffee with just a few more calories than a level teaspoon of table sugar: 20 calories apiece.

    They’re gluten-free, dairy free, and very giftable to anyone who likes flavored coffee. We’re giving them as party favors for Mother’s Day.

    You can buy samplers, assorted flavors and gift boxes (photo #5), at Javamelts.com.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Enjoya Bell Peppers

    With coloring more like a Gala apple than a bell pepper, the Enjoya pepper has a rosy red striping over a canary yellow background.

    They are a new bell pepper cultivar. In 2013, Wilfred van den Berg, a Dutch grower, found this beautiful mutant variety pepper on a plant in his greenhouse.

    He partnered with a group of other greenhouse growers to develop the strain and produce enough volume of the quality to sell commercially.

    Melissa’s, purveyor of the most special produce on earth, has imported these lovelies from The Netherlands.
     
     
    HOW TO USE ENJOYA BELL PEPPERS

    Enjoya peppers are pleasantly sweet, very crunchy, crisp and a bit juicy.

    The variety is denser than other peppers, each one weighing a hefty three-quarters of a pound.

  • Add flare to a crudités platter.
  • Serve raw, stuffed with salad: chicken, egg, grain, shrimp, etc.
  • Roast them whole.
  • Roast them with the tops sliced off and stuff the cooked bells with creamed spinach, grains, mashed potatoes, peas, stuffing, etc.
  • Use them in your favorite bell pepper recipe.
  • If you have too many, pickle them (like Peter Piper, pick your own peck of pickled peppers).
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    Enjoya Bell Peppers

    Enjoya Bell Peppers

    Enjoya bell peppers. Yes, you will enjoya them (photos courtesy Melissas.com).

     
    Buy them as a special gift for a vegetarian or dieter, or as a treat for yourself.

    Orden them online from Melissa’s or phone 1.800.588.0151.
     
     
    BELL PEPPER HISTORY

    Peppers (Capsicum annuum), both sweet and hot, are native to Central and South America.

    They are members of the Nightshade family, which also includes eggplant, potatoes and tomatoes—all native to the Americas.

    Peppers have been cultivated for more than 9,000 years. The earliest fossils to date are from southwestern Ecuador, dating to about 6,100 years ago (source).

    Christopher Columbus found peppers of different varieties growing in the West Indies, where he famously landed in 1492. Seeds were sent back to Spain in 1493, and from there peppers spread to Europe and Asia.

    The bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper and in the U.K., capsicum, is the only cultivar in the Capsicum annum genus that has no capsaicin, the heat-causing chemical compound.

    Bell peppers are plump and somewhat bell-shaped, with either three or four lobes. Green and purple peppers have a slightly bitter flavor, while the red, orange and yellow varieties are sweeter.

    Artisan growers of the fruits* grow even more colors, including brown, lavender and white…and now, with the Enjoya, striped!

    Who knows when the next beautiful mutant color may pop up in a greenhouse.

    Today, China is the world’s largest bell pepper producer, followed by Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia and the United States (source).
     
     
    FOOD TRIVIA

    Pepper gets its name from the Greek word for pepper, pipéri. However, that word refers to the black peppercorns from India, Piper nigrum, not the Capsicum annuum chiles of the New World.

    The erroneous attribution descends from Christopher Columbus, who, upon first tasting hot chiles, equated them to the spicy black peppercorns he knew.
    ________________

    *Yes, peppers are fruits: Their seeds are carried inside.

      

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