Weekly food rail, with items on an air-infused chocolate bar, an easy recipe for twice-baked potatoes, the latest from The Beer Nut, and more.

Critic’s Cupboard: Bubble Chocolate

On the outside, Bubble Chocolate looks like a regular chocolate bar. The difference lies inside.

When the chocolate mix is still warm and gooey, air bubbles are infused into it. The result is a light and airy texture with shockingly fewer calories.

Taste-wise, this is no La Maison du Chocolat, or even Godiva for that matter, but when you’re watching calories and need a fix, Bubble’s dark chocolate tastes pretty divine. (I was not a fan of the milk chocolate variety).

-- Jennifer Mastroianni, The Repository (Canton, Ohio)

Easy recipe: Twice-baked potatoes

Ingredients:
4 baking potatoes
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup scallions with green tops, chopped
1 cup cheddar or Asiago cheese, sliced
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Paprika
Fresh parsley sprigs

Directions
Brown beef in skillet. Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake at 350 degrees until soft (about 45 minutes). Remove and allow to cool somewhat. Cut each lengthwise and carefully scoop out the insides. Place in a bowl and add beef, scallions, 1/2 cup cheese, sour cream, butter and salt. Mash until smooth. Mound into the eight empty shells. Sprinkle more cheese on top and dust with paprika.

Bake on a cookie sheet 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and garnish with parsley. Serves: 4

-- The Repository (Canton, Ohio)

Did You Know?

A South Dakota town had to spend $11,000 cleaning up 44 tons of rotting bison meat left in an abandoned meat processing plant.

Food Quiz

The botanical name for this herb is Salvia officinalis and has a strong scent. It is excellent used in stuffings, as its savory flavor adds to meat:

A. Coriander
B. Chives
C. Common sage
D. Garlic

(www.funtrivia.com)

Answer is at bottom of column

Wise to the Word: Monosodium glutamate

Called MSG, this tasteless natural amino acid tenderizes and increases the flavor of foods. Monosodium glutamate was discovered in Japan in the 1920s and rapidly spread worldwide as a food additive.

Some users report reactions including headaches, dizziness and burning sensations. The FDA does not require a warning label for MSG. Many foods contain natural MSG without the additive.

-- The Repository (Canton, Ohio)

Tip of the Week: Sweet potato packed with nutrients

Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fiber. Choose firm, dark, smooth sweet potatoes without wrinkles, bruises, sprouts or decay.

To keep them fresh, store them in a dry, cool (55-60 degrees) place such a cellar, pantry or garage. Do not store them in the refrigerator, where they will develop a hard core and an "off" taste. Do not wash them until you are ready to cook them. It is the moisture from washing that will increase their spoilage.

Cook sweet potatoes whole whenever possible as most of the nutrients are next to the skin, and skins are easier to remove after they have been cooked.

Number to Know: 31

Milligrams of vitamin C in 1 cup of cubed, baked butternut squash – www.nutritiondata.com

The Dish On …

“The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book” by Kelly Rudnicki

This book is a one-stop guide to delicious, everyday baked goods free of dairy, eggs and nuts — the most common food allergens.

It offers timeless, foolproof recipes that are easy to prepare even for kitchen novices. It's an invaluable resource for home bakers (and their families) who love sweets and treats. All the traditional favorites are included, with chapters devoted to the best and tastiest muffins and quick breads, cookies and bars, and all manner of cakes, pies, crisps and cobblers.

In addition, the book is filled with practical advice about dealing with classroom and birthday parties, as well as easy ingredient substitution ideas.

From the Beer Nut’s Blog:

Every year, I try to take a short weekend trip to celebrate my birthday, and this year’s trip to the Dogfish Head brewery was the one I was looking forward to the most.

However, my friend Andy had a family emergency. He couldn’t go on the trip. I could have gone by myself, but there’s no fun in that, so I canceled the hotel room and my yearly birthday vacation.

Instead, I decided to go on a little beer shopping spree.

I picked up some expensive beers, such as Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA (fantastic) and Dogfish Head Sahtea (I had to have at least one Dogfish Head beer to make up for the trip), and enjoyed them with a friend while watching football all of Sunday.

All in all, it wasn’t too bad. I saved some money, and it’s not like I can’t go to Delaware another time.

To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/

Food Quiz Answer

C. Common sage

GateHouse News Service