THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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PRODUCTS: Cheez-It Duoz, Pacific Organics Creme Fraiche Soups & More

Cheez-It Caramel Popcorn and Cheddar_Bowl Duoz
[1] Bet you can’t eat just one box (photo courtesy Cheez-It | Kellogg’s)!

Pacific Organics Creme Fraiche Butternut Squash Soup
[2] Rich and creamy. Enjoy a bowl or just a mini-cup (photo courtesy Pacific Foods).


Last week’s product tastings yielded these favorites: snacks, soups and condiments.


Can you resist the sweet and salty combination of caramel popcorn with Cheez-It Cheddar crackers? We can’t.

If you’re not a caramel corn fan, try the iconic cheese crackers mixed with pretzel squares.

These two new products have very long names:

  • Cheez-It Duoz caramel popcorn and Cheddar cracker
  • Cheez-It Duoz Cheddar Jack Cracker and sharp cheddar pretzel.
    We love them both, with this warning: You may not be able to stop eating them.

    Discover more at

    We’re always fans of Pacific Foods soups and stocks, and had the opportunity to try two very different items for meal times and snacking.

    How to make a cream soup richer? Add crème fraîche.

    These ready-to-heat, organic soups from Pacific Organic are made with creme fraiche and nonfat milk. They’re creamy and indulgent, yet they pack 10 grams of protein per serving.

    Vegetarian and gluten free, these nicely seasoned soups are available in:

  • Organic Crème Butternut Squash Soup
  • Organic Crème Fraïche Roasted Red Pepper Soup
  • Organic Crème Fraïche Tomato Soup
    Here’s a tip: Get out your espresso cups and serve a little cup of soup as a starter for lunch or dinner. A few sips are a nice comfort food starter.

    The line is certified USDA Organic. Discover more at



    No slouch, Pacific Foods has also turned out two tomato stocks one-cup single serve sizes. We like them for both cooking and a low-calorie pick-me-up drink.

    Stepping away from the cream in the previous variety, these tomato-based vegan stocks have just 40 calories per eight ounces:

  • Organic Tomato & Red Pepper Stock Single Serve
  • Organic Tomato Stock Unsalted Single Serve
    Use them to add flavor and depth to your rice, grains, or soups. Or, instead of a cup of coffee, heat the contents in the microwave for a cup of veggie broth.

    We especially like drinking the Tomato & Red Pepper Stock, a blend of tomatoes, red bell peppers, roasted red bell peppers, garlic and onion. The Tomato Stock Unsalted is simply tomatoes and water.

    What will Pacific Foods launch next? Whatever it may be, we look forward to it.
    Stock & Broth: The Difference

    The difference between a stock and a broth is the seasoning. Stock is not seasoned; it’s an unfinished product that is used an ingredient in another dish. For example, stock is used to make gravy (beef stock is use used for au jus), marinades, risotto, sauces and other soups.

    So, if you’re using stock, you’ll need to add salt to your desired level. Broth already contains salt (however, Pacific’s Tomato & Red Pepper Stock does have some sea salt).

    Broth is a thin soup is made from a clear stock foundation. The terms bouillon and broth are used interchangeably. However, a bouillon is always served plain (with an optional garnish), whereas broth can be made more substantive with the addition of a grain (corn, barley, rice) and vegetables.

    Here are the related types of soups, including consommé and velouté.

    We’re not fans of most barbecue sauces: too sweet, not complex enough.

    But P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Style BBQ Sauce is deep and flavorful, made with smoked black pepper and soy sauce, in addition to conventional BBQ sauce ingredients like molasses and garlic.

    You can use it for everything from marinades to a finishing sauce.


    Pacific Foods Tomato Red Pepper Stock
    [3] Light and delicate but flavorful: Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Stock for cooking or drinking (photo courtesy Pacific Foods).

    P F Changs Mongolian BBQ Sauce
    [4] A delicious new barbecue-style sauce from P.F. Chang’s. Photo courtesy Ruchi’s Kitchen. Here’s her recipe for Grilled Mongolian Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

    Fans of Mongolian Beef love sliced flank steak, and chopped scallions (other vegetables such as onions and bell peppers can also be included), in a sauce consisting of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chilies and sugar.

    You can make a stir-fry of Mongolian Beef with garlic, button mushrooms, the sauce, and a garnish of sliced scallions. Here’s the recipe.

    You can also use the sauce in grilled beef or chicken wraps, and anywhere else you like a sweet-and-tangy sauce. Check out these recipes from Ruchi’s Kitchen.



    FOOD FUN: Bunny Biscuits (Rabbit Bread?)

    These Bunny Biscuits are so cute, you can make them anytime you need a smile.

    They were sent to us for Easter fun by Elegant Affairs Caterers.

    The biscuits are easy to make from refrigerated biscuit dough. Serve them at breakfast/brunch or for a mid-morning or -afternoon coffee or tea break.

  • 1 cylinder biscuit dough
  • For the face: dried currants or raisins, sliced almonds

    1. REMOVE and separate the 8 biscuits. Set aside 6.

    2. CUT the remaining 2 biscuits into 6 pieces and shape into the ears. Press onto the round shapes.

    3. PRESS the currants for the eyes and nose, and press in two sliced almonds on each side of the nose for whiskers.

    4. BAKE according to package instructions. Serve while still warm and hop away happy.


    Bunny Biscuits Rabbit Biscuits Easter Biscuits

    Hopping to a breakfast or coffee break near you (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers).




    TIP OF THE DAY: Spiralize More Foods

    Spiralized Garnish
    [1] A spiralized garnish adds texture, color and crispness to grilled sea bass, created by Chef Rainer Becker at Zuma | NYC.

    Spiralized Beet & Carrot Salad
    [2] Spiralized Beet & Carrot Salad. Here’s the recipe from Fashionable Foods.

    Spiralized Sweet Potato Bun
    [3] Spiralize a bun for burgers and sandwiches. Here’s the recipe from CakeSpy, using spiralized sweet potatoes.


    If you only use your spiralizer to make veggie noodles, you’re missing out.

    In any of these recipes, you can substitute your vegetable of choice.

    Since some of us have the original spiralizer, which only made a spaghetti-like shape, we’ll focus these uses on vegetable “noodles.”

    You may have seen gimmicky creations like ramen burgers or other “buns” made from compressed spaghetti, and other noodles or shoestring fries compressed in a waffle iron.

    The spiralized veggies are bound into a patty with an egg. Take a look at:

  • Veggie buns (use your veg of choice)
  • Sweet potato buns

    While the spiralizer was created to turn vegetables into a pasta substitute, spiralizing adds fun to conventional recipes.

  • Spiralized Potato Kugel (Noodle Pudding)
  • Spiralized Tuna Casserole
    3. GARNISH

    Take a look at photo #1. You can spiralize mixed vegetables to top fish, adding color and pizzazz. You can spiralize onions to top burgers.

    Or, like daikon radish on a plate of sashimi, add crisp spiralized vegetables to fill out a plate.

    We like a blend of three different vegetables. Be sure that at least one of the veggies has some color—beet, carrot, for example.

    For a sweet touch, spiralize an apple as a side to breakfast mains.

    Use hard vegetables, such as beet, butternut squash, carrot or sweet potato.

    First spiralize the vegetables, then add them to the food processor and pulse until you have “rice.” Steam it in the microwave.

    More fun: eating a spiralized salad with chopsticks! Use a fork if you wish.

  • Spiralized Apple & Cabbage Slaw
  • Spiralized Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad
  • Spiralized Beet & Carrot Salad

    White potato, sweet potato or butternut squash: Fry ‘em or bake ‘em. Nuff said!




    TIP OF THE DAY: Use White Chocolate Instead Of Candy Melts

    Many people use candy melts, a.k.a. candy coating, to make their confections.

    While they’re easy to use and come in many colors, frankly, candy melts don’t taste anywhere near as good as real chocolate.

    Candy melts are made to emulate white chocolate, which is then tinted. But they replace the more expensive cocoa butter, that is a key component of chocolate’s flavor, with vegetable oil.

    The ingredients of candy melts are sugar, milk solids (powdered milk), vegetable oils, flavorings and colors. Chocolate candy melts add cocoa powder, but still use vegetable oil.

    Candy melts are also referred to as confectionery coating or summer coating. They’re the reason that so many people dislike white chocolate.

    Because what they have eaten is not real white chocolate with cocoa butter, but imitation chocolate made with vegetable oil.
    Take The Test

    Want to try the difference for yourself? Buy a bar of real white chocolate and a package of white candy melts, and do a taste test.

  • Nestlé’s White Chips are not chocolate.
  • They substitute fractionated palm kernel oil and hydrogenated palm oil for the cocoa butter.
  • It’s the same with other white chips. Check the ingredients label.
    Why Use Candy Melts?

    Here are some reasons why people buy candy melts instead of real white chocolate—which is easy to color when melted:

  • It’s easier.
  • It’s less expensive.
  • They don’t taste the difference.
    But we do! So pick up a white chocolate bar or two (we like Lindt (photo #2) and Green & Black’s), melt, and stir in drops of green food color instead. You can also stir in a bit of mint extract.
    RECIPE: ST. PATRICK’S OREOS (photo #1)


  • 24 Oreo cookies
  • 6-8 ounces real white chocolate
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
  • Garnish: sprinkles or mini chocolate chips


    St. Patrick's Oreos
    [1] We haven’t seen green filling in a while, but your cookies will be just as festive with standard Oreos (photo courtesy Totally The Bomb).

    Lindt White Chocolate Bar
    [2] For great flavor, use real white chocolate (photo courtesy Lindt Chocolate).

    Irish Cream Swirl Brownies McCormick
    [3] Not an Oreo fan? How about these Irish Cream Swirl Brownies? Here’s the recipe from McCormick.

    1. MELT the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30-second intervals. Whisk or stir in-between intervals.

    2. ADD the melted butter to the chocolate and stir well to incorporate. The butter helps to thin out the chocolate so it coats more evenly. Stir in the mint extract.

    4. DIP each Oreo halfway into the chocolate and lay it on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Shake the sprinkles or chips onto the warm chocolate.

    5. HARDEN in place for 20 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Any Drink Irish

    Egg Cream
    An Egg Cream with a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream (photo by Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).

    Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
    An Egg Cream with a shot of Bailey’s (photo by Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).


    For St. Patrick’s Day, many celebrants seek to “drink green,” in the form of green-colored cocktails or green-colored beer.

    Most green beer: Meh.

    Appletinis and drinks made green with Midori melon liqueur: not exactly Irish.

    We have another suggestion:

    Add an Irish liquors, such as Irish cream liqueur or Irish whiskey, to your drink of choice.

    The whiskey can be added to almost any beverage:

  • Apple cider
  • Boilermaker
  • Coffee (hot, iced, Irish)
  • Juice
  • Hot Toddy
  • Soft drinks
  • Sparkling water
  • Tea (hot or iced)
    Cream liqueur like Bailey’s works with anything milk-related:

  • Coffee (hot or iced)
  • Creamy cocktails (add some to a Brandy Alexander, Grasshopper, Mudslide, White Russian, etc.)
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Milk, cold or hot
  • Shakes, floats, malts, egg creams, etc.
  • Tea (hot or iced)
    The traditional Irish toast is Sláinte, pronounced SLON-chuh, the Gaelic word for health.

    And now, you have a nice selection with which to toast!




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