From Peppery Heat to Soft & Hard Flour
We’ve got it all in this month’s edition of the Niblack Newsletter! Are the winter blues getting you down? Well, keep scrolling for some kickin’ spice rubs to invigorate your palate with a little heat. From our complex and aromatic ingredient of the month, to an exploration of the best flour to use for different baking purposes, we’ve got tons of wintry fun this month. Oh yeah, and our monthly trivia question, too!
Heat the Winter up with 3 Peppery Spice Blends to Keep your Tastebuds Toasty
While the calendar says that spring is only about a month away, it’ll take some time to thaw out and get the grass green again. In the meantime, remind yourself of the summer heat with three different spice blends from around the world that pack a little punch – there’s no better way to beat seasonal congestion than with some tasty chili-based blends!
A Taste of Korea
Probably the most popular dish of the famously meat-heavy Korean cuisine, Bulgogi (pictured above) is a sweet-spicy entrée that takes its moderate heat from not only red chili flakes, but also from the East Asian staple, ginger. Well-balanced with sweetness from apple, brown sugar, and the umami qualities of soy sauce, red miso, garlic, & onion, Niblack Foods’ Bulgogi Rub is an easy-to-use blend for a quick-yet-indulgent weeknight dinner: all you have to do is apply the rub to thinly-sliced cuts of steak (sirloin will do just fine) and sear in a skillet or on a grill. Serve with lettuce leaves to make bulgogi sandwiches, and alongside white rice. Hearty, filling, and not too spicy – a little sampling of Korean BBQ in your own home!
Berbere: an Ethiopian Staple
Meaning “pepper” or “chili” in Amharic, berbere is a moderately spicy mix that includes cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, cardamon, allspice, and coriander. It’s traditionally sautéed with oil and onions
at the beginning of popular Ethiopian stews, such as Doro Wot, a chicken braise and the national dish. The spice profile speaks to Ethiopia’s long history of trade with the East Indies and partially mirrors the palates of its neighbors on the Arabian peninsula.
Bokharat: Arab Seven Spice Mix
Bokharat (also known as “baharat”) is an extremely popular spice blend used across the Arab world, whose name comes from the Arabic word for “spices”. Featuring a combination of black pepper, paprika, cumin, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamon, bokharat is the least spicy blend on this list, because it uses only black pepper for its slight heat.
It’s an excellent catchall dry rub or marinade that’s traditionally used for lamb, chicken, fish, beef, and soups. For a quick and easy dinner, rub several chicken thighs with bokharat, coat with extra-virgin olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Add salt and a few cloves of crushed garlic to the marinade. Let the chicken marinade for at least an hour, and roast on a sheet pan at 400° for 25 minutes. Let cool, and serve with rice. When you dig in, you’ll instantly find yourself transported to sunnier climes thanks to the fragrant eastern spices and gentle, peppery heat. Hello, Beirut!
Follow Niblack Foods on Facebook & Instagram to share your creations with us!
Instagrammer @steph.c13 tagged us (@niblack.foods) and let us know that she used a special blend of our herbs & spices to make this scrumptious-looking fried chicken with all the fixins! We’re guessing she’s not gonna give up her secret recipe (and rightly so!), so in the meantime pick up some of our Beer Can Chicken Rub or Lumberjack Chicken seasoning for a ready-to-go, zesty chicken you just can’t quit!
Use the hashtag #NiblackFoods or tag us (@Niblack.Foods) on social media for a chance to be featured in this newsletter!
Originating in the Emerald Isle, St. Patrick’s Day is cherished by Americans and the Irish alike. While there are differences in cuisine on either side of the Atlantic (we’ll get into the infamous corned beef debate and its origins), there’s a bevy of unequivocally Irish dishes that you can celebrate with this March 17th – none better than the famed no-yeast hearty breads of Ireland. That’s right – there’s a different sort of…
Niblack Foods Trivia: A Most Zesty Test!
Native to Sri Lanka, this spice is actually the innermost bark of a tree species. It’s been used throughout the course of history as an agent to preserve meat, a sore throat treatment, and as a component of incense in Ancient Egypt. What spice is it? Find out at the bottom of this newsletter – if you don’t guess it first!
“There are so many varieties of flour. How do I choose?”
Without going for a deep dive into baking technology let’s make a couple of broad generalizations. Let’s divide all the different kinds (hybrids) of wheat into two groups, soft wheat and hard wheat.
While all kinds of wheat will grow anywhere, most soft wheat is grown in the East and South, whereas good hard wheat is produced in the Western prairies. Soft wheats can be crushed between the fingers and hard wheat feels like a small stone.
The second consideration is what kind of baking is planned? Baking can be divided in to two categories by leavening choice. Yeast-raised products and other “bubble-making” soda, powders, or reactive agents.
Another generalization and way to understand flour and baking is the following:
The hard wheat, higher-protein flour is best for yeast raised products. The protein (gluten)
is developed by mixing and kneading to form little stretchy balloons to hold the yeast gases. When the loaf has risen or proofed fully, it is put in the oven to bake (set the starches and coagulate the proteins).
OK, so, all the other softer wheat pastry and cake soda-raised bakery products are leavened with more delicate soda or reactive structures like cakes, cookies and pastries. Usually, the soft wheat flours will be lower in protein (gluten) and will often add egg as a way of obtaining a lighter cake-like structure.
Why no just use All Purpose flour? No problem with that choice because it will often perform almost as well for either breads or pastries but when a spectacular French Bread or Traditional pizza crust is desired, choose our High Gluten bread flour. When a pie crust is important choose our lower gluten Daisy Pastry Flour.
Niblack Foods began on Main Street in Rochester New York. The business operated as the Health Wheat Bakery and was located just East of the Eastman Theater. Kenneth and Everett Niblack were inspired to pursue the idea of offering old fashioned whole grain breads and pastries by university nutrition research of the day ( U of R and Cornell, “Cornell formulas”) and trends in the Physical Culture movement from nearby Dansville NY. (Dr. Jackson; Bernarr McFadden). Whole grain wheat was milled, baked, and distributed directly to homes until about 1935.
The general standard for bread in 1930 had become an all-white, unenriched fluffy loaf that offered little in the way of nutrition. When fed to laboratory rats, the animals had trouble reproducing beyond three generations.
Today, there are a multitude of whole grain, ancient grain, and variety bread options. Most white flour is enriched or often combined with wheat germ, bran, or other whole grains in home baking. Stick with history, and try some of Niblack’s baking flours today!
Ingredient of the Month: Tellicherry Peppercorns
Prized for their large size and nuanced flavor profile, Tellicherry peppercorns come from a coastal region of India and are considered a the highest-quality gourmet variety of black pepper. Their heft means that this variety generally have less heat than other, smaller-peppercorn strains.
Described as having a sweet, complex, fruity , and sometimes “piney” aroma and flavor, Tellicherry peppercorns are a well-balanced variety that lend themselves well to almost any dish, especially when showcasing the flavor of the pepper itself amongst the other seasonings of the dish. They’re ideal for grinding into a little plate of extra-virgin olive oil and dipping a hunk of freshly-baked bread into!
True cinnamon, also known as “Ceylon Cinnamon” is native to Sri Lanka (“Ceylon” is another name for the country), and the bark has sought-after commodity for thousands of years thanks to its aromatic & antibacterial properties. It’s used in the preparation of meat and other savory dishes in some parts of the world, to this day (not just in sweet cinnamon buns!).