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Archive for September 9, 2015

TRENDS: Breakfast For Dinner

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This idea, from Krusteaz, adds peanut butter
and jelly for a riff on the PB&J sandwich.
Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Krusteaz.

 

Can it be true that 9 out of 10 Americans enjoy Breakfast Night?

After a long day of tasting foods for THE NIBBLE, we often welcome a simple dinner of cereal, eggs or French toast. But we are not alone; we’re part of the 90 percent!

Krusteaz, maker of premium pancake, waffle and other baking mixes, has just released the results of its annual breakfast survey, a national poll conducted by an independent research firm*. Breakfast for Dinner continues to be a popular trend in the U.S.

  • More than half of the survey participants enjoy Breakfast Night dinners once a month or more, with nearly 25% eating Breakfast For Dinner once a week.
  • Those with children at home are somewhat more likely to eat breakfast for dinner (94% vs. 88% without kids in the house). For 30% of families, Breakfast Night is a weekly affair that’s either “very enjoyable” or their “absolute favorite.”
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    In a shift from 2014, more kids are helping out in the kitchen. Thirty-nine percent of responders said that Breakfast Night preparation is a “joint effort,” compared to just 17% of last year’s survey participants.

     
    What makes Breakfast Night so popular?

  • Thirty-eight percent of survey participants noted that having all the ingredients on hand is the main appeal.
  • Thirty-five percent cite the “love” of breakfast food (the comfort food factor?).
  • Thirty-one percent like that it is easier and faster than preparing a traditional dinner.
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    Families with children at home are more likely to use Breakfast Night as family night, when Dad’s in charge, and for celebratory occasions such as birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

    Krusteaz has selected Wednesday dinner to be Breakfast Night. Need recipes? Head to Krusteaz.com.

     
    *The Breakfast for Dinner survey was conducted by ORC International on behalf of Krusteaz. Findings are based on an online survey of 2,033 U.S. adults ages 18 and older in August 2015.
     
    THE HISTORY OF MEAL TIMES

    The history of meal times could fill a large book. The number of meals consumed per day differs greatly from culture to culture, by era and by socioeconomic status.

    In Europe alone, the name of the meal and time of day vary widely. Depending on the era, dinner could be in the morning or late afternoon. In the millennia before electricity, people lived differently than we do, typically retiring at nightfall. In the winter, that meant the last meal of the day was what we might call a late lunch.

    Thanks to FoodTimeline.org for most of this information:

  • In ancient Greece meal times were variable, but a midday meal was usually called ariston lunch… and an evening meal deipnon, dinner. The latter was typically the biggest meal of the day, and for some of the poor, the only meal.
  • In medieval times, the very poor ate when they could (as was true since the beginning of mankind), but the slightly better-off peasants ate three times a day: breakfast at a very early hour, dinner at about 9 a.m. and supper before it got dark, which could be as early as 3 p.m. in the winter.
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  • In Christian countries, the times and number of meals were originally derived from the hours of devotions of the Church. Monks ate their main meal after the celebration of nones, which was nine hours after daybreak—some time between midday and 3 p.m. The evening meal was after vespers, around sunset. For lay people, to break one’s fast after devotions was the general procedure.
  • Through the Renaissance, the larger meal was the prandium, or dinner, at ten or eleven in the morning. Supper, coena in Latin, was served around six in the evening. Most authors agreed that two meals a day were sufficient, although the English vehemently defended their custom of taking breakfast.
  • Breakfast was not a popular meal elsewhere. Writings suggest that it was only eaten by children and laborers. But by the 15th century it was commonly consumed by everyone. However, a 1478 household ordinance of Edward IV specified that only residents down to the rank of squires should be given breakfast, except by special order (sounds like budgeting).
  • At some point, there were four meals a day: breakfast, dinner, nuntions or nuncheons (eaten by workmen around noon) and late supper.
  • With the advent of oil lamps, the evening meal was served later in the day. In southern Europe, where the evening meal was the largest of the day, breakfast did not become important—merely coffee and perhaps a piece of bread or a pastry.
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    English Breakfast

    This is just part of an English breakfast,
    which can also include porridge, fruit,
    baked beans and other favorites. The practice of eating a large breakfast emerged in the 19th century. Photo © Indigolotos | 123rf.

  • In England and northern Europe, by the 18th century breakfast was the norm, eaten around 9 or 10 a.m. In the 19th century breakfast emerged as a full and sumptuous meal with bacon, eggs and even steaks for those who could afford them. Afternoon tea, as a snack between lunch and dinner, was created in 1840 by Anna, Seventh Duchess of Bedford (here’s the history of afternoon tea).
  • Thus, the three-meals-a-day practice is a relatively recent phenomenon—and of course only relates to those who could afford three meals a day.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Wiener Schnitzel

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    Wiener Schnitzel, Austria’s national dish.
    Photo © Cokemomo | 123rf.

     

    Wiener Schnitzel (pronouced VEE-ner not WEE-ner) is the national dish of Austria and a standard of Continental cuisine. In The Sound Of Music, Maria sang that Schnitzel with noodles was “one of my favorite things.” The name means Viennese [-style] scallops, referring to the scallops of veal (der Schnitz means a slice or a cut).

    Wiener Schnitzel is a thin, breaded, fried veal cutlet fried served with a slice of lemon, traditionally served with a simple green salad or cucumbers plus German potato salad or boiled parsley potatoes. Lingonberry jam can be served as a condiment (you can buy it at better food stores, Ikea or online).

    In Austria the term is protected by law; “Wiener Schnitzel” assures you of a veal cutlet. Since veal is pricey, a less expensive Austrian alternative uses pork (Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein). It can also be made with beef, chicken, mutton, pork, turkey, boar and reindeer—any meat that can be cut into thin slices. Just call it Chicken Schnitzel instead of Wiener Schnitzel.

    While Wiener Schnitzel itself is out of fashion in the U.S., its spirit lives on in the American dish, Chicken-Fried Steak, a similar recipe made with beef. It was created in the Texas Hill Country by German immigrants, who found themselves with plenty of available beef. There’s more about Chicken-Fried Steak below.

     
    And a recipe for authentic Wiener Schnitzel is also below. But first:

    THE HISTORY OF WIENER SCHNITZEL

    According to legend, Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, an Austrian general, brought the recipe from Italy to Vienna in 1857. But this story was invented, like George Washington and the cherry tree. Here’s what we know from the historical record:

  • A recipe for thinly sliced meat, breaded and fried, appears in the only remaining ancient Roman cookbook, published in the 4th or 5th century by “Apicus*.”
  • In the Middle Ages, breaded, fried veal was a very popular dish in both Northern Italy and what is now Austria.
  • Cotoletta Milanese, a bone-in veal chop that is breaded and fried, dates to a banquet held by the Hapsburg rulers of what is now Italy in 1134.
  • Before Wiener Schnitzel there was another popular Viennese dish, Backhendl: thin chicken breast slices, breaded and deep fried. It was first mentioned in a cookbook from 1719. [Source]
  • The term “Wiener Schnitzel”” dates to at least 1862. [Source]
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    Far from being a German dish, Germans across Austria’s northern border frequently refer to Austrians as Schnitzelfressers (Schnitzel munchers).
     
    CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK or COUNTRY FRIED STEAK

    A Southern specialty, Chicken-Fried Steak is the American version of Wiener Schnitzel; but instead of a tenderized veal cutlet, a tenderized cut of beef (a cube steak) is coated with seasoned flour and pan fried. It gets its name from its resemblance to fried chicken.

    In a redundant twist, a dish called Chicken-Fried Chicken pounds, breads, and pan fries a chicken cutlet. This preparation is distinctively different from regular fried chicken, which breads bone-in chicken parts and deep-fries them.
     
    *The book is thought to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century C.E. and given the title De Re Coquinaria (“On the Subject of Cooking”). The name Apicius had long been associated with an excessively refined love of food, exemplified by Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman gourmet who lived sometime in the 1st century C.E. The author of the book is one Caelius Apicius; however, no person by this name otherwise exists in the historical record. The book was no doubt compiled by a person or persons who wished to remain anonymous. [Source]
     

     

    RECIPE: WIENER SCHNITZEL

    While home cooks tend to pan fry Wiener Schnitzel, professional chefs will deep-fry it, as in the recipe below. However, feel free to pan fry.

    This recipe is from Kurt Gutenbrunner, Austrian-born chef and owner of Wallsé in New York City, where he creates fine Austrian cuisine that reflects contemporary tastes and classic traditions. He is the author of . New York City chef and author of Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna.

    We’ve added our own touch to Chef Gutenbrunner’s recipe: our Nana’s preferred garnishes of capers, sardines and sliced gherkins. Think of it as “surf and turf” Wiener Schnitzel.

    Our favorite sides are cucumber salad and boiled parsley potatoes; but like Maria, we could go for some buttered egg noodles with parsley and cracked pepper.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups fine plain dried breadcrumbs
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    Veal cutlets, or scallops, are typically cut from the leg. Photo courtesy Fresh Direct.

  • 1/2 pound veal scallops (leg) or eye round, cut across the grain into 4 equal pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
  • Curly parsley or lettuce
  • Optional garnishes: capers, sardines, sliced gherkins
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    Preparation

    1. LINE a large baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.

    2. WHISK the flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a wide shallow bowl. Lightly whisk the eggs and cream in another wide shallow bowl until the yolks and whites are just streaky. Mix breadcrumbs and 2 teaspoons salt in a third wide shallow bowl.

    3. POUND the veal slices between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8”–1/16” thickness, being careful not to tear. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

    4. PROP a deep-fry thermometer in a large deep, skillet. Pour in the oil so that the bulb is submerged. Heat oil over medium heat to 350°. Add butter to skillet and adjust heat to maintain 350°F.

    5. DREDGE 2 veal slices in the flour mixture and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture, turn to coat and shake off excess. Dredge in the breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere. Shake off the excess and transfer the veal to the skillet. Using a large spoon, carefully baste the top of the veal with the hot oil.

    6. COOK until the breading puffs and starts to brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook until browned, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet. Repeat with the remaining veal slices.

    7. ASSEMBLE: Place the veal on individual plates. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley or lettuce.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Smucker’s Fruit Spread With Honey

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    Mix with cream cheese, feta, cream cheese
    and adobo sauce for a sweet heat spread.
    Photo © The J.M. Smucker Company.

     

    A few years ago, the Orchard’s Finest line from Smucker’s tickled our palate and became a favorite bread spread.

    Now, the Smucker’s team has charmed us with a new line: Fruit & Honey fruit spreads, sweetemed with honey instead of sugar. And it’s just enough honey to sweeten, but not be too sweet. One tablespoon has just 35 calories.

    You also taste the honey in each bite. It’s a really nice departure from sugar-sweetened jams, and well worth trying. Even the shape of the jar is alluring.

    In addition to toast and PB&J or PB&B sandwiches, the Smucker’s shows how to create delicious and very easy recipes.

  • Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Blueberry Lemon Fruit Spread. Swirl it into slightly softened frozen yogurt in this easy recipe. Or, mix with cream cheese and yogurt or sour cream and spoon into graham cracker crusts for no-bake cheesecake tarts.
  • Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Fruit Spread. Stir it into balsamic dressing for this quinoa, mixed greens and grilled chicken recipe.
  • Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Triple Berry Fruit Spread (a blend of blackberries, blueberries and strawberries). Mix with cream cheese, feta, chiles and adobo sauce for a sweet heat spread. Recipe.
  • Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Tropical Fruit Spread (peaches, mango, and passion fruit). Make a smoky mango salsa with black beans, fruit spread, lime juice, cilantro and paprika and serve it with tortilla chips or atop chicken. Here’s the recipe.
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    How many more ways can you use fruit spread? See our list below.

    Smucker’s Fruit & Honey fruit spreads are available at Walmart, Target, Publix and Safeway and other retailers nationwide. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $3.49 for a 9-ounce jar.
     
    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JAM & FRUIT SPREAD?

    The difference is in the level of sweetness. Some jams can be cloyingly sweet. A good fruit spread isn’t.

    Jam consists of chopped, crushed or puréed fruit cooked down with sugar—a recipe as old as refined sugar. Fruit spread began to appear in the 1970s as a reduced-calorie product, made with alternative sweeteners such as juice concentrate. The honey in Smucker’s fruit spreads makes it so superior to others we’ve tasted.

    There are distinct differences between chutney, conserve, jelly, jams, marmalades and the other types of sweet spreads. Take a look.
     

    MORE WAYS TO USE FRUIT SPREAD OR JAM

    In Breakfast Dishes

  • Hot cereal. Use a dab instead of sugar.
  • Pancake and waffle topping. Substitute for syrup.
  • Yogurt. Add to cottage cheese or to plain yogurt, to make fruit yogurt.
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    At Lunch

  • Grilled cheese. Sharp cheeses like blue cheese and Cheddar are perfect pairings for jam or fruit spread. Grill with the cheese or serve it on the side as a condiment. For more flavor, use rye or a textured whole grain bread.
  • Salad dressing. Warm a spoonful and whisk it into salad dressings.
  • Sandwich spread. Spread on bread with a filling of cheese, ham, lamb, poultry or roast pork. To cut the sweetness, you can mix it with mayonnaise or plain yogurt.
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    Appetizers/Snacks

  • Canapés. Top a cracker or slice of baguette with cheese, ham, turkey or other favorite and a bit of jam or fruit spread.
  • Cheese condiment. Wonderful with a cheese plate (more cheese condiments) or atop a baked Brie. Make the popular appetizer of jam poured over a brick of cream cheese or a log of goat cheese, served with crackers.
  • Dipping sauce. Mix in a small bowl with sriracha or other hot sauce, a hot chile and vinegar. You can also make a dip with fresh grated ginger and soy sauce.
  • Pepper jelly. Mix in some red pepper flakes, dried or fresh minced chipotle, jalapeño or other chile (the different chile types).
  • Pretzel or breadstick dip. Mix with Dijon or other mustard. For a sweet-and-hot profile, add some hot sauce.
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    Dinner

  • Meat glaze. Particularly delicious on poultry and pork. Mix with fresh herbs and garlic.
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    One of four flavors of the Fruit & Honey fruit spreads. Photo © The J.M. Smucker Company.

  • Sauce for meat and seafood. Use with wine or vermouth to deglaze the pan. Add some to the pan while you’re cooking chicken, pork chops, fish, scallops or shrimp and let the flavor coat the meat.
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    Dessert

  • Cheesecake. Fine jam makes a wonderful topping or a condiment on the side.
  • Cookies. Thumbprints and rolled cookies with a jam swirl are classics.
  • Crêpe filling. Delicious plain or with fresh goat cheese or mascarpone.
  • Dessert sauce. Mix with plain or vanilla yogurt or sour cream.
  • Ice cream and sorbet topping. Crown a scoop of sorbet. Lightly warm the jam so it flows like a sauce over ice cream.
  • Layer cake filling. A coat of jam between the layers is a classic: Think Sacher Torte! Apricot or raspberry jam is delicious with chocolate cake; any flavor works with lemon cake.
  • Tarts and tartlets. Fill tart or tartlet shells with jam. Top with a dab of crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, mascarpone or sour cream. Or, blend with cream cheese for a cheesecake-like tart.
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