THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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TRENDS: Black, The New Color Of Health Food?

McCormick came out with black food coloring this fall (it did not previously exist at the consumer level, so now you can ice chic [or goth] cupcakes to your heart’s content). Based on a food trend reported by Florida’s Sun Sentinel, McCormick may be an American trendsetter. Ebony-colored foods are red-hot in Japan and other parts of Asia, and the trend may be headed west. Black foods have been eaten for hundreds of years in Japan for their rich taste (deeper-colored foods generally have more profound flavors). But now, people are buying them for their nutritional value.   Black Rice
Black rice, also known as “forbidden” rice (see our Rice Glossary for more information).
The black-food fervor in Japan began a few years ago with a cocoa drink spiked with black soybeans. Next, a black-soybean tea was granted FOSHU status (foods for specified health use), the Japanese equivalent of an FDA-approved health claim. Black vinegar drinks are promoted as tonics to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Black soybean coffee and black soy milk have become popular. On the food side, there are black rice, black sesame biscuits and cereal, and black soybean coffee. If you want to jump the trend, the Sun Sentinel suggests:
Black Beans. The familiar black bean contains more antioxidants (including anthocyanins) than any other bean. Add them to chili, soups and salads. Read more in our Bean Glossary.
Black Rice. This whole-grain rice contains more fiber and nutrients compared to white rice. Some varieties look purple when cooked (see the photo above). We love making Thai rice pudding with black rice and coconut milk. Read more in our Rice Glossary.
Black Soybeans. High in protein, fiber and anthocyanins, black soybeans may be better at lowering cholesterol levels than yellow soybeans, according to Japanese researchers.
Black Vinegar. A dark vinegar typically made from brown rice, it’s an Asian version of balsamic, aged to give it a woodsy and smoky flavor. Find it Asian markets. Read more in our Vinegar Glossary.
Blackberries. The purplish-black berries have among the highest antioxidants of any fruit.
Nigella Seeds. Also called black onion seeds, these tiny jet-black seeds are staples in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. They have a nutty, peppery flavor and are used as a seasoning for vegetables, beans and bread (including naan). Find them in ethnic markets.
Black Mushrooms. Aromatic and rich in flavor, black mushrooms include shiitake, wood ear and black trumpet. Dried versions are easily found in Asian markets. Read more in our Mushroom Glossary.
Perhaps you’ll be inspired to whip up a New Year’s Eve dinner with black foods in every course, to celebrate a healthy new year.

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TRENDS: Are You A Flexitarian?

Cattle
Save the planet, order the bean burrito instead!
  According to the Vegetarian Research Group, about 3% of American adults are true vegetarians who say they never eat meat, fish or poultry. But at least 10% of adults consider themselves vegetarians, even though they eat fish or chicken occasionally. These are “flexitarians,” people who seek out vegetarian meals but will eat fish and/or chicken. More formally, flexitarianism describes the practice of eating mainly vegetarian food, but making occasional exceptions for social, pragmatic, cultural or nutritional reasons. Flexitarians may occasionally eat meat and/or other animal products.
Eating vegetarian doesn’t automatically translate to a healthier diet—there are plenty of high-fat, high-calorie choices, including pasta, bread, fried foods, sauces, cookies, cake and candy. However, the main point is that advocates consider it humane not to kill animals unnecessarily, for food. Equally (if not more) important these days is the looming global warming crisis and the desire of many people to live more “green” lives. Animal agriculture has a huge impact on global warming. While most people are aware of the effect of carbon dioxide on climate change, the most significant non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane. Methane, produced by decomposing animal manure, is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases combined. Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year; global meat consumption has increased fivefold in the past 50 years and continues to grow. You can do your part by choosing a bean burrito or Margherita pizza instead of the beef burrito or the pepperoni pizza, whenever possible.

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RECIPE: Turkey Melt With Chutney

Got leftovers? If you’re still looking at turkey, here’s an easy way to use it up and start Monday with a clean slate: A turkey melt. This recipe for a gourmet turkey melt is courtesy of Butterball. This recipe makes 8 servings.
Ingredients

– 2 cups cubed cooked turkey
– 1/3 cup finely-chopped celery (or make it
more exciting with fennel instead)
– 3 minced green onions
– 1/4 cup chutney
– 1/2 cup light or regular mayonnaise
– 4 split, toasted whole wheat English muffins
(see our review of Wolferman’s)
– 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar or Swiss cheese
– Optional: 2 tablespoons chopped fresh
cilantro
– Optional: Sliced tomatoes
  Turkey Melt
Make a turkey melt with that leftover turkey.
Preparation
1. Combine turkey, celery, green onions and chutney. Stir in mayonnaise to bind. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Preheat broiler.
3. Arrange English muffin halves on a baking sheet. Top with tomato, then add turkey mixture and top with cheese.
4. Broil a few inches from source of heat for 3 to 4 minutes until hot and bubbling. Serve with coleslaw.

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RECIPE: Fallwich, A Sandwich For Thanksgiving Leftovers

Turkey Sandwich

Homemade Cranberry Mayo

New England Soup Factory Cookbook

[1] Make this delicious “Fallwich” with your Thanksgiving leftovers (photo courtesy New England Soup Factory). [2] Cranberry mayonnaise (photo courtesy Savory Experiments), which uses a 1:1 proportion of mayo and cranberry. [3] The New England Soup Factory Cookbook, which contains this recipe.

 

Here’s how to combine all of those Thanksgiving leftovers into a delicious fall sandwich or “Fallwich,” created by Marjorie Druker of the New England Soup Factory in Newton, Massachussetts. The recipe is a winner in this year’s The Ultimate Cranberry Recipe Contest for foodservice professionals, sponsored by Ocean Spray; and is published in the New England Soup Factory Cookbook.

It’s a delicious sandwich, even if you have to start from scratch, without leftovers.
 
RECIPE: FALLWICH, A THANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS SANDWICH

Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches
 
For The Cranberry Mayonnaise

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce or relish (or more to taste)
  •  

  • Baguette cut into four 6-8 inch pieces, or 4 similar rolls
  • Leftover sweet potatoes, or 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 individual size (8 inches long each) baguettes
  • 8 tablespoons cranberry mayonnaise)
  • 1-1/2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 pound leftover turkey or purchase roasted turkey breast, sliced
  • Cranberry sauce or 6 tablespoons honey-roasted cashews
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the mayonnaise: Whisk together the mayonnaise and cranberry sauce in a small mixing bowl, until well incorporated. If you need to make sweet potatoes:

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Cut the sweet potatoes into 3-inch chunks. Place in a roasting pan and sprinkle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.

    3. SPREAD the both cut sides of each sandwich with the cranberry mayonnaise. Place the spinach leaves on the bottom slice of each baguette bottom. Layer the turkey breast, then the mashed or roasted sweet potatoes.

    4. SPRINKLE with the honey-roasted cashews and season with salt and pepper. Place the top slice of bread on each sandwich.

     
    FOR A BEVERAGE

  • Seasonal beer
  • Cranberry club soda or soda
  • Cranberry spritzer: cranberry or cranapple juice mixed with club soda
  •   

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    NEWS: Citrus Boosts Antioxidant Power Of Tea

    Adding citrus juice or vitamin C to green tea could increase the absorption of the tea’s antioxidants 13-fold, suggests new research published in this month’s issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Although the results are preliminary, those wishing to hedge their bets may want to squeeze some lemon or lime into that cup of green tea. The researchers used a simulated gastric and small-intestinal digestion system to model the effects of citric juices and other additives (milk, soy) on the absorption of antioxidants from tea. The polyphenols in tea have been linked to a number of health benefits, ranging from a lower risk of certain cancers to weight loss and protection against Alzheimer’s disease.   Green Tea
    Add some lemon juice to your green tea for a bigger antioxidant hit.
    Green tea contains between 30% and 40% of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea contains between 3% and 10%. However, according to the study, the catechins are relatively unstable in non-acidic environments, such as the intestines, and less than 20% of the total remains after digestion. Oolong tea is somewhere between green and black tea, and white tea has somewhat more than green tea. The four primary polyphenols found in fresh tea leaves are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epicatechin (EC). Bad news for those who drink black tea and like milk in it: Proteins in the milk’s casein counteract the effectiveness of the catechins. Better to switch from milk to a squeeze of lemon! Read more about tea in the Tea Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine, and about antioxidants in the NutriNibbles Section.

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