By Lorrie Baumann
Paul Theroux was riding the Trans-Siberian Express three days east of Nishni Novgorod, the apple blossom land described by Amor Towles in “A Gentleman in Moscow,” when on page 471 of Theroux’s story about the trip, he was offered manti by a passing stranger. Theroux described the manti as steaming meat-filled dumplings. “I knew the word because I’d heard manti for dumpling in Turkey and elsewhere,” Theroux wrote in “Ghost Train to the Eastern Star.”
Some of this came back to me when I stopped in front of Kader Ucar and Hasan Ertas (wife and husband) at the Winter Fancy Food Show. They were standing in front of a banner identifying Ana’s Apron, and what they had on a table in front of them was a little plate of Ana’s Apron Manti, which Ucar, who is Ana’s Apron’s President, described as traditional Anatolian-style manti. Anatolia is the Asian part of Turkey, she further explained.
Ucar is also the Founder of Palo Alto Pasta Co., which owns the Ana’s Apron brand. It’s a woman-owned and operated business located in California’s Bay Area. Ten percent of the company’s profits are dedicated to children’s charities around the world. “’Ana’ means ‘mother’ in Turkish, and I founded this company with tremendous support from my mother. We are using her artisanal old recipe in our Manti pasta, and she now lives permanently with us. We wanted to name our Manti brand after her to show our gratitude to what she has done for us. You can almost always find my mother at home with her apron on cooking amazing Anatolian dishes for lunch and dinner,” said Ucar.
The Manti are little filled dumplings about the size of a marble and the shape of a tiny purse, and they’re available from Ana’s Apron in four varieties: Spinach & Feta & Olive, Five Cheese, Beef & Onion and Chicken & Thyme. They’re similar to Italian tortellini, but they’re based on recipes that Ucar and her family have been making for seven generations. “We sell it the way we eat it in our own family. Some of our most frequent customers are families with young children. Our Manti pasta is a small bite size, so even a three-year-old can eat it without any parental help at the table. Kids love our pasta!” Ertas said.
Ana’s Apron packages the Manti for sale in 10-ounce pouches that serve two and sell for about $6.99 from the grocer’s freezer case. The product is also available in 3-pound pouches for food service and in a family pack.
They’re prepared by dropping the frozen dumplings into boiling water for two minutes and then traditionally served topped with plain yogurt and then tomato sauce on top of that. For customers who are buying their tomato sauce in a jar instead of making it themselves, a simple marinara would be an appropriate choice, Ucar confirmed.
The Beef & Onion variety provides 36 percent of a daily value of protein per serving, and the Spinach & Feta & Olive variety is also rich in protein as well as iron, Ucar said. Shelf life in the grocer’s freezer case is nine months, and Ana’s Apron is currently distributing the products in the Bay Area, with production capacity ready for expanded distribution beyond that. “We’ve been working on it for the last eight months, and we’re ready to take on bigger orders,” Ucar said.
For more information, visit www.anasapron.com.
Président® brand cheese launches three new flavors of its award-winning rondelé cheese: Thai Sweet Chili, Pineapple & Ginger, and Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper. Beginning March 2017, the new flavors, which emphasize a distinct balance of two contrasting yet complimentary tastes, will be available at retailers nationwide. To find the store closest to you, just use the store locator on the company’s website.
A testament to the superior quality and taste of rondelé by Président, the rondelé Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Gourmet Spreadable was awarded first place in the Flavored Cream Cheese category at the 50th Annual World Dairy Expo Championship in 2016, the only contest in North America that includes all dairy products, and the Silver medal at the 2016 World Cheese Awards in San Sebastián, Spain.
By combining simple ingredients with high quality milk and cream in the Old World tradition, Président brand produces gourmet spreads that are savory, flavorful and fit for any occasion. The rondelé gourmet spreads not only add a unique element to a number of recipes, they are also the perfect addition to a cheese board; served in a decorative, table-ready cup for easy and convenient presentation. Marketing Director Karine Blake adds, “rondelé by Président is already loved by consumers for its versatility. We are thrilled to offer these new flavors for recipe creators and we’re excited to see what they dream up.”
Saffron Road, the fastest growing brand of premium frozen entrees, will introduce its newly expanded plant-based protein snacks line, which includes innovative ChickBean Crisps, in addition to a new frozen meals line, at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco from January 2-24.
Like all Saffron Road products, the new snacks and frozen bowls were created with the utmost commitment to authenticity, quality, transparency and culinary excellence to capitalize on the growing popularity of clean label better-for-you products in the U.S.
The ChickBean Crisps come in three flavors, Sea Salt, White Cheddar, Zesty Ranch, and all are certified halal, OU kosher, and gluten free. Since they’re primarily made from legumes, each one-ounce serving of Saffron Road ChickBean Crisps contains four grams of protein, two grams of fiber and only a few grams of fat – making them a nutritious and unique find in the snack aisle.
Saffron Road’s new World Cuisine meals, in an on-trend bowl format, come in eight delicious flavors: Sesame Ginger Salmon with White Rice, Lemongrass Basil Fish with Rice Noodles, Thai Red Curry Fish with Rice Noodles, Masala Curry Fish with White Rice, Grilled Vegetable Tortilla Bake, Verde Tortilla Bake with Chicken, Thai-Style Mango Chicken, and Korean-Style Sweet Chile Chicken. All of the fish sourced is wild Alaskan caught and packed with Omega-3s, and the chicken is antibiotic free. All of the ingredients are authentic – to keep in line with the high culinary excellence all Saffron Road products must adhere to.
While the four fish bowl meals are already on shelf at Whole Foods Market®, the ChickBean Crisps and the remaining four new bowls will launch this January and April respectively.
For more information about Saffron Road’s new snack products, visit saffronroadfood.com. You can also follow the brand on Facebook at facebook.com/saffronroadfood, on Twitter at twitter.com/saffronroadfood, on Pinterest at pinterest.com/saffronroadfood or on Instagram at Instagram.com/saffronroadfood.
Little Red Dot Kitchen, whose Singapore street-style Hickory Smoked Spicy Candied Bacon Bak Kwa was named a 2016 sofi® Award winner, has leveraged that recognition for growth in distribution and at retail.
Little Red Dot Kitchen has seen growing interest in its line of five meat snacks since its Hickory Smoked Spicy Candied Bacon Bak Kwa was named a finalist and won the savory snack category in this year’s sofi Awards, according to Little Red Dot Kitchen CEO Ching Lee. The Bak Kwa meat snacks, which come from U.S. family farms dedicated to raising animals humanely and without antibiotics or hormones, have been added by Vistar, headquartered in Centennial, Colorado; Gourmet Merchants International of Gardena, California and Gourmet Goods Distribution of Belleview, New Jersey.
New retail placements include Barnes & Noble College stores through Vistar, and direct sales to Safeway for its San Jose, California, stores; Straub’s in Missouri and Foodstuffs in Illinois, Lee said. “Straub’s and Foodstuffs came to us directly because of the sofi Award,” she said, “We have seen interest from other large chains and additional distributors as more and more retailers across many channels are encountering consumers who want a higher level of snacking with more interesting and exotic flavors and better, cleaner ingredients.”
In addition to being produced from protein sources raised humanely and without antibiotics or hormones, Little Red Dot Kitchen’s Bak Kwa is minimally processed with most ingredients having non-GMO verification. It also is free from artificial ingredients, wheat, dairy and eggs. The Bak Kwa is available in five flavors, including Hickory Smoked Spicy Candied Bacon, which has no nitrates or nitrites, Spicy Chipotle Beef Bak Kwa, Pork Bak Kwa, free-range Turkey Bak Kwa, and Lemongrass Beef Bak Kwa. The meat snacks are available in resealable 1- to 3-ounce packages with a suggested retail price of $6.99 to $7.99. Cases include 12 of the 2.5- to 3-ounce bags and 18 of the 1-ounce bags.
More information about Little Red Dot Kitchen is available by calling 408.673.8227 or by connecting online at www.facebook.com/reddotkitchen, www.twitter.com/reddotkitchen, and www.instagram.com/littlereddotkithen.
Entube, maker of modern chili pastes in a tube, has just unveiled a new addition to its line of gourmet chili pastes: Spicy Umeboshi Plum Paste. Expanding the brand’s global palate, the new variety features ume plum, a traditional Japanese staple. Other ingredients include vinegar, cayenne, and beet, resulting in a colorful, nutritious condiment that aids in digestive support, nausea, and fatigue, including hangovers.
“In response to the success of our inaugural products, Harissa and Indian Curry, which pay homage to North African and Indian flavors, we set out to provide a new global flavor experience for our customers inspired by the Japanese ume plum,” said Entube Creator and Founder Richard Lassalle. “Using the highest quality ingredients, Spicy Umeboshi Plum Paste is an easy-to-use, versatile product that will add bright color and flavor to dishes, empowering anyone to become a chef.”
Spicy Umeboshi Plum Paste is a fermented fruit-based paste, best used in raw form as a finishing condiment on sushi, oysters, vegetables and in cocktails. Like all Entube products, Spicy Umeboshi Plum Paste is gluten free, vegan and does not contain any added sugar, artificial coloring or preservatives.
The Entube Spicy Umeboshi Plum Paste is offered in a 100g tube that retails for about $8.
Explore Cuisine will be launching its new Thai Rice Noodles at Expo East 2016. There are two varieties.
Brown Rice Pad Thai Noodles are made with organic, nutrient-rich whole grains. Brown Rice Pad Thai Noodles take the guesswork out of gluten-free Asian cooking by providing you with Pad Thai Noodles that are perfectly packed in a 2-ounce package.
Red Rice Pad Thai Noodles utilize nutritious red rice grain for authentic texture. Explore Cuisine’s Red Rice Pad Thai Noodles are a healthy alternative to traditional Pad Thai. With 4g of protein, this three-ingredient Pad Thai pasta is made with whole foods directly from the farm.
These pastas are certified organic and vegan, non-GMO and gluten free. They’re high in protein and fiber.
Innovative soup, broth and noodle purveyor Nona Lim has a new line of authentic and fresh ramen noodles. Quality fresh ramen noodles are what differentiates restaurant-grade ramen bowls from all the rest and with this exciting new line from Nona Lim, the highest level of fresh ramen noodles will be available to the home cook for the first time. With Nona Lim Tokyo Ramen, Nona Lim Hakata Ramen and Nona Lim Whole Wheat Ramen, there is truly something to suit the taste of all ramen enthusiasts nationwide.
“Nona Lim Ramen Noodles empower home chefs to create truly gourmet ramen bowls,” says Nona Lim Founder Nona Lim. “We are so excited to share the secret ingredient of ramen houses with the world because fresh ramen noodles make any ramen bowl thrillingly delicious.”
Just as there are many different types of pasta, there are many types of ramen. Tokyo Ramen is originally from the capital of Japan and is also the most popular type of ramen around the world. Nona Lim Tokyo Noodles are a great place to start for any home chef. Nona Lim Hakata Ramen is pale and very thin, which allows it to be cooked more quickly with a unique delicate texture. Pair it with its Miso Ramen or Spicy Szechuan broths for a hot bowl of noodles in minutes. Nona Lim Whole Wheat Ramen puts a California twist on traditional ramen recipes. Nona Lim’s Whole Wheat Ramen has a natural brown hue, and more nutrients and fiber.
Home chefs can either create their own homemade broths to pair with Nona Lim Ramen Noodles or pick up a fresh Nona Lim broth for a truly gourmet dining experience ready in minutes. Nona Lim Thai Curry and Lime Broth, for example, won a Gold sofi Award in 2015 for it’s spectacular flavor. Made with a traditional bone broth base and spiced to perfection, Nona Lim Thai Curry and Lime Broth, a few sliced veggies and proteins and a Nona Lim fresh ramen noodle package can create a dinner the whole family will love in under 10 minutes. Other Nona Lim broths include Nona Lim Vietnamese Pho Bone Broth, Nona Lim Szechuan Spicy Bone Broth and Nona Lim Miso Ramen Vegan Broth.
Nona Lim Fresh Ramen Noodles and all Nona Lim products are made without additives or preservatives of any kind and sold fresh in the refrigerated section of fine stores.
By Richard Thompson
Sriracha Pork Jerky is the latest offering from Golden Island and its line of gourmet jerkies. This fiery new addition rounds out the line of specialty beef and pork flavored jerkies that include Korean Barbeque, Kung Pao and Chili Lime. “We are focused on handcrafted, gourmet jerky,” says Stephen Silzer, Director of Marketing at Golden Island.
Originating in Taiwan over 50 years ago as a family business, Golden Island is a California-based jerky company (now owned by Tyson Foods) whose product line stands apart from competitors due to the company’s small-batch cooking process. “With origins in Taiwan, the ingredients and recipes have been passed down.” says Silzer. “This includes individually slicing and marinating each piece in small batches…. Then we either kettle cook or flame-grill our meats to best ensure…great-tasting, tender jerky.”
Golden Island sells six different flavors of jerky made with an exclusive blend of natural herbs, spices and sauces authentic to the company’s Asian roots. The three beef and three pork flavors are all high in protein and clean label – all-natural, gluten-free, no preservatives and no nitrites added.
The company’s top seller is Korean Barbeque Pork Jerky, made with garlic powder, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil that carry’s a little sweet flavor from the marinade mixed with a savory bite from the sesame. The Grilled Barbeque Pork Jerky tastes like small shavings of honey-touched Christmas ham dropped in your mouth, giving your tongue something to celebrate.
The Beef Jerky flavors include Kung Pao, Chili Lime and Five Spice. The smoky flavor of the chili flaked speckled Kung Pao Beef Jerky adds an earthy kick to the intense tongue burn that the Kung Pao Beef Jerky is known for. It has a loyal following because of its heat, says Silzer, while the Chili Lime Beef Jerky has a nice balance of zesty lime flavor that compliments its own heat as well. The Five Spice Beef Jerky is gluten-free and starts with a little kick that retains its bold flavor from the Asian inspired sweet and spicy flavorings.
While there are no plans for additional offerings to the product line in the immediate future, the company is always looking ahead. “We are always focused on the next flavor trend and looking to expand our lineup…and existing flavors,” says Silzer.
Currently, Golden Island products can be found at Costco Wholesale, World Market and in Southern California in traditional grocery stores like Ralph’s – as well as on the company’s website. According to Silzer, “We are looking to expand into more retail and convenience stores where snacks are sold as well as embrace the penetration of Amazon.com and online grocery selling opportunities. Our focus is about delivering flavor with a moist and tender texture from our proprietary process that stands alone with the company.”
McCormick & Company, Incorporated has unveiled its annual McCormick Flavor Forecast revealing the tantalizing trends that will shape culinary exploration and innovation – in home kitchens, at restaurants and on retail shelves – across the globe for years to come.
Among the emerging trends is a spotlight on underexplored Southeast Asian fare – Malaysian and Filipino – and the evolution of our insatiable appetite for spicy. Also featured are pulses which serve as a protein-packed canvas for delicious flavors – fitting as the United Nations celebrates 2016 as the International Year of Pulses.
“Since its inception in 2000, Flavor Forecast has been tracking the growing interest in heat and identifying upcoming spicy flavors including chipotle, peri-peri and harissa,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “Our latest report shows the next wave of this trend is complemented by tang. Look for Southeast Asian sambal sauce powered by chilies, rice vinegar and garlic to take kitchens by storm.”
Emerging Trends and Flavors Identified by a global team of McCormick chefs, food technologists and flavor experts, these trends offer a taste of 2016 and beyond:
1. Heat + Tang – Spicy finds a welcome contrast with tangy accents to elevate the eating experience.
2. Tropical Asian – The vibrant cuisine and distinctive flavors of Malaysia and the Philippines draw attention from adventurous palates seeking bold new tastes.
3. Blends with Benefits – Flavorful herbs and spices add everyday versatility to good-for-you ingredients.
4. Alternative “Pulse” Proteins – Packed with protein and nutrients, pulses are elevated when paired with delicious ingredients.
5. Ancestral Flavors – Modern dishes reconnect with native ingredients to celebrate food that tastes real, pure and satisfying.
6. Culinary-Infused Sips – Three classic culinary techniques provide new tastes and inspiration in the creation of the latest libations.
“Flavor Forecast is a catalyst for innovation,” said Vetter. “Around the world this year, we’re launching 56 new consumer products inspired by Flavor Forecast trends, and we’re working with our customers across the food industry – from chain restaurants to beverage and snack producers – to help them do the same.”
For mouthwatering recipes, images and more ways to explore this year’s top flavors, visit FlavorForecast.com.
If there’s one “secret” ingredient that can enhance your favorite recipes, miso just might be it. It’s a soybean paste fermented with rice, barley or other grains. Miso adds umami or savory notes to food, and is a staple ingredient in Japan. In Japanese cooking, miso has long been prized for its salty, complex flavor as well as its nutrition benefits. Miso includes probiotics (naturally occurring live bacteria in cultured and fermented foods) that are good for the digestive system, and is a high-protein food (approximately 2 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon). It’s also versatile, not only because of the way it enhances other ingredients, but also because it comes in a variety of colors, flavors and textures, each with its own uses in cooking.
White (shiro) miso has the sweetest flavor of the miso types and is made with soybeans and rice. Of the three types, it is fermented for the shortest length of time. Despite its name, the color is actually pale yellow. The mild flavor makes it a natural choice for salad dressings, and it adds salty and savory notes to soup.
Yellow (shinshu) miso is darker than white miso, and is fermented longer. It is made by fermenting soybeans with barley and adds a nutty flavor to foods. It’s often used in soups, and works well for light marinades. Use instead of butter when mashing potatoes to achieve a richer flavor and to reduce the need for added salt. Whisk or blend yellow miso with sesame oil and mirin (rice wine) for an Asian-inspired tofu marinade.
Red (aka) miso, is the saltiest version, and has the most depth and boldness of flavor because it has been fermented the longest time. Its flavor complements meats and other robust foods.
Miso is made by combining cooked soybeans, sea salt, grains and a starter culture. It is fermented for a few months, or up to a few years. Depending on how long the soybeans are fermented and which grains are used, the flavor and color vary. In general, the darker the miso paste, the more intense the flavor. Here are some ways you can discover the magic of miso for yourself:
Mix miso with condiments such as butter or mayonnaise to add depth and dimension to the flavor of sandwiches and snacks. Enhance the flavor of soups (prepared or homemade) by adding a little white or yellow miso. Add a small dab of red miso to meat glazes. Experiment with desserts by stirring a teaspoon or two of miso into chocolate cake batter.
The Soyfoods Council offers recipes for salads, soups, and entrees that demonstrate the flavor range and versatility of miso. Entrée ideas include Miso-Marinated Salmon with Edamame Soy Stir Fry and Sirloin Steak with Black Soybean Salsa and Miso Orange Sauce. The orange sauce recipe combines raw sugar, rice vinegar, orange juice, white miso, mirin (rice wine), butter and achiote powder. The miso marinade for salmon features white miso, mirin, tamari (similar to soy sauce) and cayenne pepper. Other recipe suggestions include soups such as Creamy Kale Miso Soup, featuring yellow miso, tofu and low sodium vegetable broth, and Miso Chicken Soup with Snow Peas and Tofu with ginger and miso paste flavoring the stock.