THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK: Granola, Sparkling Diet Cranberry & Great Snacks

Banner Road Granola
[1] Rustic chic granola from Banner Road Bakery (photo courtesy Banner Road Baking Co.).

Clio Yogurt Bars
Clio Greek Yogurt Bars
[2] Yummy yogurt bars—refrigerated, not frozen—from Clio Snacks. The halved bars show the consistency of the yogurt (photos courtesy Clio Snacks).

Ocean Spray Diet Sparkling Cranberry
[3] Sparkling Diet Cranberry from Ocean Spray: just 10 calories a can (photo courtesy Ocean Spray).

 

We’re fortunate that we’re able to try many products of which we would be totally unaware. Quite a few brands offer us samples, and often we say “Yes!”

Some of them are good, some great, some just not right for us. Here, five products that are right for us, in alphabetical order.
 
1. BANNER ROAD BAKING COMPANY GRANOLA

While Banner Road granolas are delicious on any morning, we particularly like them as house gifts. $12 per 11-ounce cylinder, and $6 for the four ounce size (a great party favor or stocking stuffer).

The gift appeal comes from the charming packaging (photo #1), evoking the rustic goodness which the healthy blend of ingredients provides.

The granola is gluten free, some flavors are vegan, some ingredients are organic, and a serving has just 5g of sweetener per 1.7-ounce bar.

This granola is made in clusters, the grains and seeds (oats, seeds, quinoa) baked into clusters that provide sweet crunch. The binders are extra virgin olive oil and, depending on the flavor, honey, maple syrup, molasses or tapioca syrup. Flavors include:

  • Bye Bye Blues: oats, seeds, quinoa and puffed millet with toasted walnuts and dried blueberries.
  • Kickstart: oats, seeds, quinoa and sliced almonds with two ultra-premium accents, Askinosie Chocolate and Sump Coffee.
  • Midnight Snack: oats, quinoa, cashews, sweet potato and golden raisins, highlighted with traditional Indian spices including turmeric.
  • Monkey Suit: oats, seeds, quinoa and sliced almonds blended with peanuts and bananas.
  • Oh Snap!: oats, seeds and quinoa tossed with puffed buckwheat, crystallized ginger and warming spices.
  • The Original: clusters of oats, seeds and quinoa tossed with pecans, dried tart cherries and coconut chips.
  •  
    GET YOURS AT BANNERROAD.COM.
     
     
    2. CLIO GREEK YOGURT BARS

    What happens when you cross a cup of yogurt with a frozen yogurt bar?

    A very tasty snack: Clio’s Greek Yogurt Bars, a refrigerated bar of yogurt enrobed in dark chocolate (photo #2). They are yummy!

    The yogurt is thicker than standard yogurt cups, in:

  • Blueberry
  • Espresso
  • Hazelnut
  • Honey
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    You can turn them into dessert with fresh fruit or a dessert sauce like caramel; or make them food fun by inserting an ice-pop stick

    Each gluten-free bar as 8g protein, 240 calories and billions of probiotics. The line is certified kosher by OU.

    DISCOVER MORE AT CLIOSNACKS.COM.

     
    3. OCEAN SPRAY DIET SPARKLING CRANBERRY

    Our new favorite low-calorie sparkling drink is Diet Sparkling Cranberry from Ocean Spray, made with their cranberry juice.

    At 10 calories per 8.4-ounce can, it’s a caloric bargain. But amazingly, there is no artificial sweetener flavor.

    The sweeteners are sucralose and acesuflame potassium (ace-K—see the different artificial sweeteners).

    For everyone who mixes cranberry juice with club soda: Here it’s done for you. There’s also a conventional version (with sugar)

    CHECK IT OUT AT OCEANSPRAY.COM.

     

    4. SEASNAX ROASTED SEAWEED SNACKS

    Many healthy eaters and sushi fans have discovered seaweed snacks: the crisp sheets of nori used to make sushi rolls, repurposed as crunchy yet delicate snacks.

    Seaweed is nutrient-rich; the snack sheets are made with seaweed, olive oil and sea salt or other seasoning(s). They’re gluten free, non-GMO, paleo and vegan. SeaSnax is certified organic.

    We love them: The crisp sheets of seaweed crunching happily in our mouths.

    We eat them as a snack, plain or with beer and wine; as a “cracker” with miso soup; and when we want something to eat with almost no calories. The entire package has just 15.

    THe original, plain nori sheet has been joined by flavors; most popular are chipotle and wasabi. A package of 6 packets is $8.95.

    FIND OUT MORE AT SEASNAX.COM.

    Note: Eat the whole pack at once. If left out for a while, or next to moisture such as a cup of tea, the sheets start to lose their crispness.
     
     
    5. SEJOYIA COCO-ROONS

    We love coconut macaroons, a cookie usually found plain or coated in chocolate.

    Sejoyia offers two options we haven’t seen before: bittersweet chocolate and lemon flavors.

    The Brownie macaroon is a bittersweet chocolate (we wish there were a touch more sugar); Lemon Pie is lusciously lemon.

    We’re big, big fans of the latter. If you’re a macaroon lover, treat yourself without delay!

    ORDER THEM AT SEJOYIA.COM.

    And check out the history of macaroons.

     

    SeaSnax
    [4] Happy crunching for just 15 calories a package (photo courtesy Vegan Cuts).

    Sejoiya Coco-Roons
    [5] Coconut macaroons in chocolate and lemon (photo courtesy Southern Made Simple).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Lemon Meringue Pie & 25 Recipes Beyond Pie

    Lemon Meringue Pie
    [1] This American favorite originated in Switzerland (photo courtesy American Egg Board).

    Lemon Meringue Pie
    [2] Some people like their meringue slightly browned (photo #1); some like the full-on treatment here (photo courtesy McCormick).

    Lemon Meringue Tart
    [3] Deconstructed lemon meringue tart, a work of art. Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy @Chef_Lymalaya.

     

    August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day.

    While meringue was perfected sometime in the 17th century, it took for the 19th century for the modern lemon meringue pie to appear, in Switzerland.

    Americans are happy about that: It’s always on the list of the Top 10 Favorite Pies.

    We’ll start today with the recipe for classic lemon meringue pie (photo #1).

    But here are creative variations:

  • Atlantic Beach Pie (lemon meringue with a saltine crust)
  • Lemon Meringue Angel Food Cake
  • Lemon Meringue Cake
  • Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
  • Lemon Meringue Cookies
  • Lemon Meringue Pie Cookies
  • Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
  • Lemon Meringue Éclairs
  • Lemon Meringue Fudge
  • Lemon Meringue Hand Pies
  • Lemon Meringue Ice Cream
  • Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Pops
  • Lemon Meringue Kisses (meringue sandwiches)
  • Lemon Meringue Nests
  • Lemon Meringue Parfaits
  • Lemon Meringue Pie Bars
  • Lemon Meringue Pie Bites
  • Lemon Meringue Pie Marshmallows
  • Lemon Meringue Slab Pie
  • Lemon Meringue Tart (photo #3)
  • Lemon Meringue Waffles
  • Lemon Meringue Whoopie Pies
  •  
    DRINK LEMON MERINGUE!

  • Lemon Meringue Pie Martini
  • Lemon Meringue Sangria
  • Limoncello-Vodka Whip
  •  
    THE HISTORY OF LEMON MERINGUE PIE

    Lemon-flavored custards, puddings and pies date to Middle Ages, a time period of more than 1,000 years, from 476 C.E. to 1492 C.E. It was followed by the Renaissance, 1300 to 1600. Meringue was perfected sometime in the 1600s (the 17th century).

    The modern lemon meringue pie is a 19th-century recipe, attributed to Alexander Frehse, a Swiss baker from Romandy, the French-speaking part(s) of Switzerland.

    It combines a lemon custard single crust pie with meringue, the fluffy topping made from egg whites and sugar, baked on top. Here’s the classic lemon meringue pie recipe from McCormick.

    Thanks, Chef!

    PIE HISTORY

    The ancient Egyptians, who were great bread bakers, worked out the details of early pastry. Theirs was a savory pastry: a dough of flour and water paste to wrap around meat and soak up the juices as it cooked.

    Before the creation of baking pans in the 19th century, the coffin, as it was called (the word for a basket or box), was used to bake all food.

    Pastry was further developed in the Middle East and brought to Mediterranean Europe by the Muslims in the 7th century. Another leap occurred in the 11th Century, when Crusaders brought phyllo dough back to Northern Europe (the First Crusade was 1096 to 1099).

    Greek and Roman pastry did not progress as far as it could have because both cultures used oil, which can’t create a stiff pastry. In medieval Northern Europe, the traditional use of lard and butter instead of oil for cooking hastened the development of other pastry types.

    Pies developed, and the stiff pie pastry was used to provide a casing for the various fillings. By the 17th century, flaky and puff pastries were in use, developed by French and Italian Renaissance chefs. These pastry chefs began to make highly decorated pastry, working intricate patterns on the crusts.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Creamsicle Variations For National Creamsicle Day

    August 14th is National Creamsicle Day. Creamsicle is a flavor combination that people either love or not. We love it, and have even created our own variation, The Nibblesicle, with raspberry sorbet instead of orange.

    The Creamsicle was created by the Popsicle Corporation, established during the Depression by Frank Epperson, who had invented the Popsicle®. The vanilla ice cream pop, coated with orange sherbet, became a sensation.

    Today Creamsicle® and Popsicle® are registered trademarks of the Unilever Corporation. Here’s more Creamsicle history.

    On each National Creamsicle Day we try a different variation of the vanilla and orange combination.

    This year, it’s shortcake. Links to previous years’ recipes are below.

    This year’s recipe was inspired by a shortcake photo (photo #1) from Cindy’s Rooftop in Chicago. The restaurant calls it Dreamsicle Cake.

    You can bake individual angel food cakes in muffin tins, as shown in the photo, or bake or buy a cake and serve conventional slices.

    Cindy’s Rooftop uses a white chocolate sauce. We made crème anglaise (recipe below), a thin custard sauce. Raspberry purée would have pleased our palate, but it doesn’t fit with the vanilla-orange profile.

     
    RECIPE: “CREAMSICLE” SHORTCAKE

    Ingredients

  • Angel food cake
  • Orange sorbet (sherbet)
  • Sauce of choice
  • Garnish: supremed orange segments (no membrane)
  • Optional garnish: orange peel curls
  •  
    For The Creme Anglaise (Makes 1 Cup)

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SUPREME the orange segments (here’s a video) and set aside with the juice. This can be done a day in advance. If garnishing with orange peel curls, peel the curls before segmenting the orange.

     

    Creamsicle Shortcake
    [1] Today’s recipe: Creamsicle shortcake (photo courtesy Cindy’s Rooftop | Chicago)

    Creamsicle Cheesecake Recipe
    [2] Prefer a cheesecake? Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Sweet Street Desserts).

    Creamsicle Milkshake

    [3] Try a Creamsicle milkshake (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma)

     
    2. MAKE the crème anglaise (this can also be done a day in advance). Combine the milk and cream in a small pot. Split the vanilla bean and scrape in the seeds. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.

    3. WHISK the egg yolks and sugar together in medium bowl; then gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Return the custard to the pot and stir over low heat until it thickens, about 5 minutes. DO NOT BOIL. The sauce is thickened when it coats the back of a wooden spoon.

    4. STRAIN the sauce into a bowl, cover and chill until ready to use.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Place the cake on a plate, topped with a scoop of sorbet. Garnish the plate with orange supremes, and add the sauce. Top with an orange peel curl and serve.
     
     
    FAVORITE CREAMSICLE VARIATIONS

    The easiest, and a favorite of ours, is a simple bowl of vanilla ice cream and orange sorbet (mango sorbet is a great substitute).

    You can also make vanilla cupcakes with orange frosting or top vanilla ice cream with orange liqueur.

    Here are more celebratory recipes:

  • Creamsicle Cheesecake (photo #2)
  • Creamsicle Cocktail
  • Creamsicle Ice Cream Cake
  • Creamsicle Milkshake (photo #3)
  •  
    Also check out fior di Sicilia, an Italian essence used to flavor baked goods and beverages. Its flavor and aroma are reminiscent of a Creamsicle.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Create A Signature Tartare Recipe

    Strawberry Tartare
    [1] Strawberry and beet “tartare.” On top of the ice cream is a cloud of cotton candy (photo courtesy Ananda Restaurant).

    Carrot Tartare
    Carrot tartare. Make it with this recipe from Aliya Leekong in Food Republic.

    Steak Tartare
    Beef tartare (photo courtesy Gordon Ramsay Group).

     

    Language evolves, of course. The meaning of words change over time, or grow to encompass additional meanings (although we hope that won’t happen with “woke”).

    It’s no different in culinary language, especially given the march of creativity and innovation.

    Take the classic Steak Tartare, known for more than 100 years as ground raw beef mixed with onions, capers, Worcestershire sauce and a raw egg.

    While 20 years ago, a dish called “tartare” was finely-diced meat (photo #3), or subsequently fish (see the history of steak tartare, below), today anything mounded in a small dice is being called “tartare.”

    Eleven Madison Park restaurant in New York City pioneered an exciting Carrot Tartare; whole carrots go through a meat grinder at the table (check it out).

    You can even make tartare for dessert, as in today’s recipe for Strawberry & Beet Tartare (photo #1).

    Or, make a vegetable tartare like Carrot Tartare (photo #2).

    In today’s fashion, if you can dice it, season it and mound it, you’ve got tartare!

  • Use your favorite fruits or vegetables—or combine them.
  • Make a surf-and-turf tartare: one layer or mound of beef tartare, one layer or mound of tuna or salmon tartare.
  • Mix in cooked grains if you like, maybe even nuts.
  • Choose seasonings analogous to the capers, onion, Worcestershire, etc., that match your base ingredient(s). Create la tartare nouvelle!
  •  
    Note: Check with your purveyor and your healthcare provider about the safety of eating any raw fish or meat.
     
    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY-BEET TARTARE

    Ingredients

    This recipe is adapted from one on French Women Don’t Get Fat.

  • 3/4 cup-1 cup cooked red beets, peeled, sliced and cubed (tartare size)
  • 2 cups strawberries, rinsed, pat dried, sliced and cubed (tartare size)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or more according to taste
  • 1 tablespoon basil cut into chiffonade
  • Optional: vanilla ice cream, basil ice cream, strawberry sorbet, lemon sorbet
  • Optional garnish: mint leaves, microgreens, flower petals
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the beets at bottom of a salad bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Add the strawberries and sprinkle with sugar.

    2. ADD the basil and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

    3. MOUND on a plate; use a ring mold if you have one. Garnish as desired.

     
    BEEF TARTARE / STEAK TARTARE HISTORY

    Steak tartare, or tartar steak*, is ground raw beef mixed with onions, capers, Worcestershire sauce and a raw egg. It is generally served with toast points.

    In Belgium, where the dish is popular and served with frites (French fries), it is known as filet américain.

    The ancestor of this raw meat dish was first described in print in 1660, in a book by a French engineer, a visitor to the Ukraine. Ukrainian Cossacks, he wrote, put finger-thick slices of salted raw horse meat under their saddles and rode their horses until the salted meat was drained of its blood. They then thinly sliced and ate it (source).

    The modern version of what became known as Steak Tartare, with raw egg, was first served in French restaurants early in the 20th century. It was then called Steack à l’Americaine.

    The 1921 edition of Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire defines Steack à l’Americaine as made without egg yolk, and served with tartar sauce on the side.

    Modern steak tartare is an evolution of that dish. The 1938 edition of Larousse Gastronomique describes steak tartare as raw ground beef served with a raw egg yolk, with no mention of tartar sauce (source).

    In the U.S., the dish is often called Steak Tartare, “steak” having more appeal than the more generic “beef.” We’ve had lamb tartare more than a few times, at high-end restaurants.

    The name “tartare” is now applied to other meats or fish, such as tuna tartare, which introduced in 1975 by the Parisian restaurant Le Duc in Paris.

    “À la tartare” or simply “tartare” still means “served with tartar sauce” for some dishes, particularly fried fish.
    ________________

    *The dish is often attributed to Genghis Khan and the Tatars, who may have originated the horseback recipe. The explanation is that the Tatars, on the rampage, did not have time to cook their meat.
      

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    FOOD FUN: Rainbow Veggie Pizza

    What’s at the end of the rainbow? A rainbow veggie pizza!

    This pizza is also a clever way to get the I-don’t-want-vegetables contingent to eat more of them. Thanks to Pampered Chef for the recipe.
     
    RECIPE: RAINBOW VEGGIE PIZZA

    Ingredients

  • 1 ball (16 ounces/450 g) fresh pizza dough
  • Canola oil
  • Assorted fresh vegetables such as broccoli; orange, red and/or yellow bell peppers; grape tomatoes; red onions; purple potatoes
  • 1/2 cup/125 mL prepared pesto
  • 1 cup/250 mL shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Optional garnish: fresh basil, chiffonade
  •  

    Rainbow Vegetable Pizza

    Turn summer vegetables into a colorful pizza (photo courtesy Pampered Chef).

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F (218°C).

    2. BRUSH a pizza stone with oil. Place the dough in the center of the stone and roll to the edges, pressing with fingers as needed. Pierce the entire base. Bake the crust for 14–18 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown. Meanwhile…

    3. PREPARE the vegetables. Slice the broccoli, dice the bell peppers and onion, halve the grape tomatoes, etc.

    4. REMOVE the crust from the oven and lightly brush the edges with oil. Top with ½ cup (125 mL) of prepared pesto sauce and 1 cup (250 mL) of shredded mozzarella cheese. Arrange the vegetables as shown and bake for 18–21 minutes.

    5. GARNISH with basil and serve.

      

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