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Archive for Bread-Crackers-Sandwiches

TIP OF THE DAY: Garlic Crostini, Better Than Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread Crostini

Fresh Spinach

Avocado Halves

[1] Garlic bread as a first course—or maybe, as the salad course (photo courtesy California Avocado Commission). [2] Sneak spinach onto your “garlic bread” (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF). [3] The spinach gets camouflaged with diced avocado (photo courtesy Tio Gazpacho).

  What’s better than garlic bread? Garlic bread crostini!

This appetizer, first course or snack elevates the humble garlic bread we know and love into a fancy (and nutritious) affair.

Garlic bread is toasted and topped with garlic butter or garlic-infused oil. Crostini are toasts topped with any variety of spreads, vegetables and proteins.

The California Avocado Commission fused the two concepts to create garlic bread loaded with avocado, spinach and tomatoes.

It has so many veggies, you can even serve it as the “salad course.”

You can adjust the toppings as you wish: Use different greens, add bacon and/or green onion, etc.

Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes. It is very easy to make the balsamic glaze rather than buy it: Just reduce a bottle of balsamic vinegar (not the top stuff) into a syrup.

For a wine pairing, California Avocado suggests Petite Sirah.

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 large loaf whole wheat or regular ciabatta, sliced lengthwise from the full loaf
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow pepper (substitute orange or red), stem, seeds and membrane removed, sliced into strips
  • 1 ripe avocado*, seeded and peeled
  • Optional: cayenne or red chile flakes
  • Balsamic reduction (also called glaze), purchased or homemade (see Step 2 below)
  •  
    Ingredients For The Balsamic Reduction

  • 16-ounce bottle of balsamic vinegar (least expensive)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Melt the butter, add in 2/3 of the garlic, season with salt and pepper. Place the bread on a baking sheet and liberally brush it with the garlic butter.

    2. MAKE the glaze. Pour the vinegar into a pan, add the brown sugar and stir over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Cool. If not using that day, store in a jar in the fridge.

    3. SAUTÉ 2 teaspoons of oil and the remaining garlic for 1 minute, in a small skillet. Add the spinach and stir just until it begins to wilt. Remove from the heat, squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice, stir and spread the topping on the prepared bread. In the same pan…

    4. ADD the tomatoes and peppers; sauté for 2 minutes. Place atop the spinach; season with salt and pepper or for more heat, cayenne or chile flakes. Bake for 10-12 minutes. While the bread bakes…

    5. CUT the avocado into bite-sized chunks. Toss the avocado with 1 teaspoon oil, more salt and red pepper as desired and a small squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Top the baked garlic bread with avocado and drizzle with balsamic reduction/glaze. Serve warm.
     
    ________________
    *A large Hass avocado, about 8 ounces, is recommended for this recipe. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

     
      

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    PRODUCTS: More Favorites For The Season

    White Chocolate Cranberry Loaf La Brea Bakery

    Cranberry Walnut Loaf La Brea Bakery

    [1] White Chocolate Cranberry Loaf and [2] Cranberry Walnut Loaf, delicious additions to the holiday table from La Brea Bakery.

     

    Two more recommendations from our ongoing nibbling of limited-edition seasonal flavors:

    LA BREA BAKERY: ARTISAN BREADS, READY TO EAT OR READY TO HEAT

    La Brea Bakery, a brand of artisan breads available at select grocers nationwide and from Amazon Fresh, is an asset for home munching or serving guests. All are in the SRP range of $3.99-$4.99.

    You can have seasonally flavored breads in different forms—some actually emerging warm from your oven.

    With the Take & Bake options, the bread is partially baked when you purchase it, requiring just a few minutes in the oven to yield a warm and fragrant loaf.

  • White Chocolate Cranberry Loaf. We love this for breakfast toast and luncheon Brie sandwiches. Creamy white chocolate and tart dried cranberries pair beautifully with the sourdough (photo #1).
  • Take & Bake Cranberry Walnut Loaf. Sourdough with toasted walnuts and dried cranberries is delicious from the oven or toasted the next day for breakfast. We used it at lunch with ham and blue cheese from the fridge. It works with any cheese you’d use for a grilled cheese sandwich. Cut small slices to serve with cheese (photo #2).
  • Holiday Stuffing Loaf. Our friend Linda (a beast in the kitchen) bakes her own bread from scratch, just to make her stuffing. You can save the time and effort with this special loaf, seasoned with sage, thyme, celery, black and white pepper. You can brag that you baked your stuffing from fresh bread.
  • Take & Bake Holiday Stuffing Rolls. The same recipe as the Holiday Stuffing Loaf is available in roll form. Heat them up the day after Thanksgiving for a memorable turkey sandwich.
  •  

    We also had a bite of La Brea Bakery’s:

  • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Loaf Cake. This spiced pumpkin loaf—cinnamon and nutmeg—has a cream cheese swirl, and a garnish of toasted pumpkin seeds. It can be enjoyed any time of the day. We turned it into dessert with a side of mascarpone.
  • Gingerbread Loaf Cake. Moist spiced gingerbread cake with hints of ginger, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, and topped with a candied ginger streusel. Gingerbread was a cookie before it was a cake. It started as a holiday food because the spices were too costly to be used for everyday cookies. Check out the history of gingerbread.
  •  
    The only problem with these two loaves: They disappeared far too quickly.

    For more information visit LaBreaBakery.com.
     
    PUMPKIN TORTILLA CHIPS

    Another treat we look forward to each fall are pumpkin tortilla chips.

    There are many brands. bit we’ve grown to prefer Food Should Taste Good and Way Better Chips.

    You can enjoy the chips with your favorite salsa, or get some of Mrs. Renfro’s Pumpkin Salsa or Frontera Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa, which is sold out on the Frontera website but available at retailers nationwide.

    For $3.95 a jar (Frontera’s is $4.95), these delicious salsas can be given as Thanksgiving favors (so much better for guests than a chocolate turkey) or stocking stuffers.

    The lucky giftees can wake up the day after Thanksgiving and have the pumpkin salsa with their breakfast eggs.
     
    DON’T TARRY: THESE ARE ALL LIMITED EDITIONS…

    …and they won’t be back again until next fall.

     
    DID YOU KNOW…

    YOU CAN BAKE OR FRY ACTUAL PUMPKIN FOR CHIPS!

    Make your own chips from pumpkin slices with this recipe from Hojiblanca and this artsy-looking chip recipe from Savvy Naturalista.

    Make them as a real surprise for your guests, or for your Thanksgiving hosts.

     

    Way Better Pumpkin Cranberry Chips

    Skillet Fondue

    Real Pumpkin Pumpkin Chips

    [3] Try pumpkin tortilla chips (photo courtesy Way Better Chips) with [4] a skillet fondue (photo courtesy La Brea). [5] You can also make solid pumpkin chips (photo courtesy Hojiblanca).

     

      

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    FOOD FUN: “Eyeball” Meatball Sandwiches Or Subs

    Eyeball Meatball Sandwich Recipe

    French Rolls Recipe

    [1] Here’s looking at you! Eyeball meatball sandwich from BBQ Bob Trudnak | BBQ Guru. [2] French rolls are crusty on the outside, with an elegant crumb on the inside. They can be round dinner rolls, oblong or square sandwich rolls; the artisan versions have a dusting of flour. They’re easy to make at home with this recipe from DineAndDish.net.

     

    You don’t need a grill to make these captivating eyeball meatball sandwiches from “BBQ Bob” Trudnak.

    We made them in a skillet on the stove top. Everyone—children and adults alike—wanted more.

    We love nouvelle surf and turf ideas of any kind. So to this recipe from “BBQ Bob” Trudnak, we added some “gourmet” flavor lists:

  • Anchovies (we had stocked up on cans from Cento).
  • substituted the more flavorful puttanesca sauce for the marina sauce.
  • Exchanged the blander Italian rolls with crusty French rolls (you can substitute lengths of a baguette instead).
  • Added some arugula we had on hand, which gave the sandwich a bite of “bite,” along with some fresh basil leaves (refreshing!).
  •  
    RECIPE: SPOOKY HALLOWEEN EYEBALL
    MEATBALL SANDWICHES

    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 2 pounds ground meatloaf mix (veal, pork, beef) or your preferred blend
  • 1/2 cup of grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • 1½ cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Dried basil
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • Sliced black olives
  • Deli-sliced provolone cheese
  • Fresh short Italian rolls or substitute (we used the crisper French rolls)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • Optional: anchovies, fresh herbs, arugula, roasted red peppers
  • Optional: salad or crudités
  • Optional: beer for the adults, soft drinks for the kids
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the grill to 300°F direct; or for stovetop cooking, heat a skillet when ready to cook the meatballs.

    2. MIX the ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, herbs, spices and water by hand in a bowl until well blended. Add ¼ cup of grated cheese and mix once more. Divide into 8 equal portions and oll the meatballs to the size of golf balls and set aside on wax paper.

    3. SET the meatballs in the fridge for 30 minutes while the grill comes up to temperature or the skillet heats. (a) Grill the meats balls over a direct fire turning them to brown all sides and take them to an internal temp of 165°F, or (b) similarly cook them join the stovetop. While they cook…

    4. WARM the marinara sauce. When the meatballs are done, remove them from the heat.

    5. LIGHTLY BUTTER each roll, and toast for a minute over the coals on the grill (we toasted ours plain in the toaster oven, then buttered them.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Place 2 meatballs on each roll and pour a little warm marinara sauce over them. Lay out two slices of provolone over the meatballs and place the sandwiches back on the grill in a pan to allow the cheese to melt. Place a sliced black olive on the top of each meatball so they look like eyeballs, then drizzle a little more marinara sauce between the meatballs.

    If using the arugula, anchovies, etc.: We put the on the arugula and basil on bottom half of the roll and the anchovies on top of the cheese, creating some nicely creep “hairy eyeballs.”

    WATCH THE PROCESS with this video:

     
    ABOUT “BBQ BOB” TRUDNAK

    Robert “BBQ Bob” Trudnak of Lansdale, Pennsylvania has been grilling and smoking barbecue professionally for more than 13 years. He has amassed over 200 awards and prizes at national and international competitions. An entrepreneur and inventor, he helped launch the world’s first BBQ temperature control devices for the company BBQ Guru, which develops and sells high-tech cooker accessories.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Chicken Liver Crostini…Or Maybe Foie Gras

    Chicken Liver Crostini

    Chicken Livers On Baguette Toast

    Torchon With Toasted Baguette

    Dartagnan Foie Gras Torchon

    [1] This recipe from Emiko Davies at Honest Cooking is popular in Tuscany (it also contains mushrooms). [2] Food Network adds a garnish of chopped hard-boiled egg and sliced radishes (recipe). Other colored vegetables also work, from asparagus and coronations to grape tomatoes. [3] A torchon of foie gras with toasted baguette (photo courtesy Elle France). [4] You can purchase a ready-to-eat torchon from D’Artagnan.

     

    Crostini and bruschetta have entered the American mainstream over the past 20 years (here’s the difference).

    At better restaurants, a bowl of soup is often served with a side or floating garnish of crostini, which can be simple toasted baguette slices (or other bread) and a side of butter or other spread; or topped with anything from cheese (blue, brie, feta, goat) to mashed avocado and bean purée.

    As millions of Americans get ready to enjoy the customary chopped liver Rosh Hashanah dinner, take a detour from the customary on saltines, rye or pumpernickel. Make chicken liver crostini.

    You can make them with store-bought chopped chicken liver or mousse, but we always keep the tradition going with our Nana’s recipe.

    Nana served her chopped liver with Nabisco saltines or Stoned Wheat Thins. When we were young, Mom had moved beyond those to party pumpernickel and [homemade] rye toasts.

    Other families prefer triangles of white toast or rye bread. We like baguette crostini or (for a chopped liver sandwich) rye bread.

    At Passover, chopped liver is served with matzoh.

    Crostini is the Italian name for croutons—not American salad croutons, but small size pieces of toast like a sliced, toasted baguette or a similar Italian loaf. They’re splendid with chopped liver, and are commonplace in Italy as a base for chopped liver.
     
    A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHOPPED LIVER

    European chopped chicken liver dates back perhaps 3,000 years. The chicken, which originated in [take your pick—the jury is still out] Africa, China or the Middle East, didn’t get to Western Europe until about 1000 B.C.E.

    You can bet that every part of the bird was used, including the innards. We’ve seen some European recipes that of the chopped the liver liver together with the heart and gizzard, no doubt as their ancestors did.
     
    CHOPPED LIVER FOR EVERYONE!

    Many Americans think of chopped chicken liver as Jewish cooking, served at holidays and special events. But it’s also served by European Christians.

    In Tuscany, Crostini di Fegatini (chicken liver crostini) is on every Christmas table—made by nonna (grandma), or with her recipe, and spread on crostini. As in Jewish households, its served for every birthday dinner or special occasion meal, and can be found on “the menu of literally every trattoria in Tuscany,” per Emiko Davies, a food writer and photographer specializing in Italian cuisine.

    Here’s her recipe, adapted from one of those Tuscan trattorias.

    On the opposite side of the country, in Venice, the recipes use butter and calves liver. In France, heavy cream and cognac (no surprise there!).
     
    OUR VERY FAVORITE: FOIE GRAS CROSTINI

    As much as we love Nana’s chicken liver, for us the ultimate chicken liver crostini is not chicken liver at all, but a slice of a duck liver torchon or terrine (a.k.a. foie gras) on toasted brioche.

    The liver comes fully prepared, with nothing to do except slice it and make the crostini.

    If you’re used to spending on good steaks, you can afford it. A 5-ounce torchon (good for 10 or more slices) is $39.99 and a 1-pound torch is $99.99, at Dartagnan.com.

    It makes a lovely gift for a foie-gras (or chopped liver) lover.
     
    FUN WITH CHICKEN LIVER CROSTINI

    In addition to room temperature chopped liver on crostini, you can also serve crostini topped with warm sautéed chicken livers and onions. Just slice the livers into pieces after sautéing.

    For some food fun, serve a duo of chicken liver crostini as an appetizer: one with chopped liver, one with sautéed liver.

    What’s the difference between an appetizer and an hors d’oeuvre? See below.

     
    RECIPE #1: NANA’S CHOPPED CHICKEN LIVER CROSTINI

    This recipe calls for schmaltz, rendered chicken fat. Some European cultures use butter, cream or olive oil. Just keep to these fats.

    We once were served chopped chicken liver at a Passover seder, made with mayonnaise! The guest who brought it must not have been able to find or make schmaltz. We will never forget that taste (think of pastrami or corned beef with mayonnaise). Oy.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes, plus optional chilling time. Nana insisted on making the liver at least a half-day in advance, to allow the flavors to meld in the fridge.

    Chopped Liver Consistency

    Depending on the preferences of the cook, chopped liver can be coarse, medium, or blended into a mousse-type consistency with some extra fat.

    Our preference is medium-to-mousse, but cooks with less time can go rustic. It’s just as tasty; we just a finer texture on the palate.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh chicken livers, rinsed and patted try
  • 1 cup rendered chicken fat (schmaltz—recipe below)
  • 2 cups yellow onions, medium to fine dice
  • 4 extra-large eggs, hard-cooked and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Optional: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or thyme leaves (or more parsley
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHECK the livers and remove any fat or membrane. Heat a large sauté or fry pan to medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of rendered chicken fat and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden but not brown—about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the onions to a large plate and wipe out the pan.

    2. COOK the livers 1 pound at a time. Place the livers in the same pan in a single layer, and season them with salt and pepper. Add three more tablespoons of fat and turn the heat to high. When the fat begins to shimmer, place the livers in the pan in a single layer. Cook the livers for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes per side until browned, turning once. You want to to get the insides just pink. Never overcook liver!

    3. TRANSFER the livers to the plate with the onions and repeat with the second pound of livers and 3 more tablespoons of fat. Let the cooked livers to cool on a platter.

    4. CHOP the livers and onions to your desired consistency. If you don’t have great knife skills, the time-honored Jewish technique is to use a mezzaluna and a wooden chopping bowl. You can buy them as a set, but it’s much easier—and less expensive—to use a double-blade mezzaluna and purchase a separate 12″ wood bowl. You can use the mezzaluna to chop vegetables or anything else; and the wood bowl doubles as a salad bowl, chip bowl, etc.

    Don’t plus in a food processor without experimenting to see if you can get the consistency you want (it could end up like mousse). If you do use a processor, pulse in small batches so the bottom won’t liquefy before the top ingredients are well chopped.

    5. ADD the chopped eggs, herbs, seasonings and the remaining chicken fat to the bowl. Toss to combine. If you want a finer consistency, continue chopping. Refrigerate until ready to use.
     
    ________________
    *You can substitute turkey livers. Here’s a party-size recipe from the New York Times.

     

    MAKE THE RECIPE YOUR OWN

    If you love chopped liver as much as we do, play around with the recipe and see which suits you. Some people like less hard-boiled egg mixed in; others leave it out of the liver and use it as a garnish on top. Some people like more herbs and onions, some people prefer less.

    Some people like the Italian custom of adding wine or fortified wine, the addition of fresh sage and garlic, and shallots instead of yellow onions.

    Our favorite chopped liver appetizer preparation is our own Four-Onion Chopped Liver Crostini: chopped liver and onions (the basic recipe above), with a garnish of caramelized onions, some pickled onions on the side (red onions or cocktail onions), and a plate garnish of minced chives. Wowsa!
     
    Optional Mix-Ins

    Don’t use them all at once to find your ideal chopped liver recipe. Test small batches to see what you prefer.

    After you cook one or two pounds of livers, divide the batch and add the additional flavors you want to try.

    Some of the following are Italian touches; others were incorporated to Jewish-style chopped liver we’ve had along the way. If add adding wine or spirits, add them the last few minutes of cooking the livers.

  • 1/4 cup reconstituted dried mushrooms or sautéed fresh mushrooms, both finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pancetta, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves minced sautéed garlic
  • Heat: a pinch cayenne or chipotle powder, splash of hot sauce, etc.
  • Wine or spirits: 2 tablespoons dry white wine, port, madeira, marsala, sherry, vin santo; or 1 tablespoon brandy or 80-proof spirit
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
  • Crunch: ½ stalk celery or 1/2 large carrot, finely chopped
  •  
    Optional Garnishes

  • Apple or fig slicet
  • Baby arugula
  • Caramelilzed onions (delish!)
  • Chutney, fig or sour cherry jam, etc.
  • Coarse sea salt, plain or flavored
  • Cornichons, halved
  • Cress, microgreens or sprouts
  • Fresh herbs: parsley, sage, thyme
  • Hard-boiled eggs or yolks only (for more color), chopped
  •  
    ________________
    †Aside from a garnish, you can create bottom layer of sliced apple or fig, with the chicken liver on top.

    RECIPE #2: HOW TO RENDER CHICKEN FAT

    Plan ahead: Save the uncooked chicken fat and skin you trim from chicken instead of throwing them away. Freeze them, and when you have enough, defrost and you’re ready to render.

  • You can also get chicken fat—often free—from butchers, who throw it away (except kosher butchers, who know their customers will buy it). Ask at your butcher shop or supermarket meat department.
  • You can also collect the fat from homemade chicken soup. Refrigerate it and skim the solid fat that rises to the top. It won’t be a whole lot, but every few tablespoons count.
  • You can see the entire process in photos from Tori Avey (who uses a slightly different recipe than we have here).
  •  
    Get Ready To Enjoy Gribenes

    The by-product of rendering the skin for fat are cracklings: crispy pieces of chicken skin. In Yiddish they’re called gribenes (GRIHh-beh-ness) or grieven (GREE-vin), which means “scraps” in Hebrew.

    They’re a prized treat to eat on potatoes or anything else. When a whole chicken is being used for soup and the skin isn’t needed (it just adds fat that needs to be skimmed off later), it can be cut into strips for gribenes. Cooked with sliced onions, the result is memorable.

    Ready to render?
     
    Ingredients For 1/2 Cup Or More‡

  • 8 ounces chicken fat and/or raw skin, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  •  
    ________________
    ‡Rendering fat only produces more schmaltz than rendering fat with skin.

    Preparation

     

    Chopped Liver With Caramelized Onions

    Chopped Chicken Livers

    Chicken Liver Crostini With Chutney

    Chicken Liver Mousse

    Chicken Liver Mousse

    [5] This double garnish from StaceySnacksOnline.com is a dynamite combination of caramelized onions and fresh sage. [6] Arugula garnish (photo courtesy DailyLife.com.au. [7] Kings uses a garnish of baby sage and cranberry sauce or chutney (the recipe). [8] Chef Craig Wallen whips the livers into mousse consistency and garnishes the crostini with coarse sea salt (the recipe; photo by Stephanie Bourgeois). [9] Alton Brown serves DIY crostini, with individual ramekins of chicken liver mousse and a side of toasts. His recipe uses cream and cognac (photo courtesy Food Network).

     
    1. COMBINE the chicken fat and any skin in a small saucepan, along with the thyme, garlic and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.

    2. COOK until the fat has rendered (liquefied) and the skin pieces are crispy, about 35 to 45 minutes. As liquid fat fills the pan, drain it into a measuring cup or other vessel; the gribenes will take longer to get crisp.

    3. EAT the gribenes as soon as possible after they come out of the pan. Don’t refrigerate; they’ll go limp. These delicious cracklings can be eaten with potatoes, garnish a salad or chicken/turkey sandwich, grits or polenta, etc. Both Nana and Mom ate them straight from the pan.

    4. COOL the chicken fat slightly, then strain it into a lidded jar. It will keep for up to one week, maybe longer.
     
     
    FOOD 101: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN APPETIZERS & HORS D’OEUVRE

    The terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference:

    Hors d’oeuvre (there’s no extra “s” in French: it’s the same spelling singular or plural), pronounced or-DERV, refers to finger food, such as canapés, served with drinks prior to the meal. The name means “outside the work,” i.e., not part of the main meal.

    French hors d’oeuvre were traditionally one-bite items, artistically constructed. Today, the category of has expanded to mini quiches, skewers, tarts; baby lamb chops; stuffed mushrooms, etc.

    An appetizer is a first course, served at the table and in larger portions. While you can plate multiple hors d’oeuvres as an appetizer,

    What about crackers and cheese, crudités and dips, salsa and chips, and other popular American foods served with pre-dinner drinks? Since they are finger foods, you can call them hors d’oeuvre. American hors d’oeuvre.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake Biscuits On Sunday Mornings

    ✔ Biscuits with fresh dill: check.

    ✔ Smoked salmon with dilled cream cheese: check.

    ✔ Great brunch food: check.

    ? Homemade biscuits, warm from the oven: check?

    With all the good bread options available at retail, including refrigerated rolls biscuits, the art of the homemade-from-scratch biscuit is practiced less and less often.

    Why not make one Sunday a month Biscuit Sunday, rotating among favorites: baking powder biscuits, buttermilk biscuits, cheddar-chipotle biscuits, cream biscuits, ham biscuits, maple-bacon biscuits, rye biscuits, sausage rolls, sourdough-onion-sundried tomato biscuits, and so forth?

    You can find recipes for all of these at KingArthurFlour.com.

    It comes to us from Vital Choice, where it was provided by Kevin Lynch of Closet Cooking. Kevin says:

    “The dilled buttermilk biscuits came together quickly and filled my place with an amazing dilly aroma while baking. The biscuits are nice and light and go perfectly with the smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill and watercress filling.”

    RECIPE: DILL BISCUITS WITH SMOKED SALMON, CRESS & DILL SPREAD

    This recipe comes to us from Vital Choice, developed by Kevin Lynch of ClosetCooking.com.

    With their red-and-green accents, they also make a nice holiday biscuit.

    You can also make bite-size versions to serve with red, white or sparkling wine.

    Ingredients For 8 Biscuit Sandwiches

    For The Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen and grated
  • 3 tablespoons dill (chopped)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see substitutes below)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8 dill buttermilk biscuits (cut in half, see recipe below)
  • Optional: 8 tomato slices
  •    

    Smoked Salmon Biscuits

    Fresh Dill

    Smoked Nova Scotia Salmon

    1. Forget the bagel and smoked salmon: Bake biscuits instead (photo courtesy Kevin Lynch | Vital Choice). [2] Use fresh dill (photo courtesy Paper Chef). [3] Smoked Nova Scotia salmon from Zabar’s. Here’s the difference between smoked salmon and lox.

  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon (two 4-ounce packages or one-third of a 26-ounce side)
  • 8 sprigs watercress (substitute baby arugula or baby spinach)
  •  

    Cream Biscuits

    Ham & Smoked Gouda Biscuits

    Biscuits & Marmalade

    [1] Cream biscuits (here’s the recipe from King Arthur Flour). [2] Ham & Smoked Gouda Biscuits served with maple butter (here’s the recipe from the National Pork Board). [3] Baking powder biscuits and marmalade (photo courtesy iGourmet.com).

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

    2. MIX the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Mix in the butter and toss until coated in flour. Add the dill and just enough buttermilk to form a sticky dough.

    3. PLACE the dough on a lightly floured surface and form a disc about 1 inch thick. Cut the biscuits from the dough and place on a baking sheet. Brush the melted butter on top of the biscuits.

    4. BAKE until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. While the biscuits bake…

    5. MAKE the filling. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and lemon zest in a bowl. When the biscuits are still warm but cool enough to work with…

    6. SPREAD the dill on both cut sides of the each biscuit. Assemble with smoked salmon, watercress and optional tomato slice in the the center.
     
    BUTTERMILK SUBSTITUTE

    If you won’t use more than the cup required in this recipe, it may make sense to make your own.

    For 1 cup of buttermilk, substitute 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup.

    But first, here’s what else you can do with leftover buttermilk:

  • Drink it; it’s like liquid plain yogurt. Or add puréed frozen fruit; or make a smoothie.
  • Tenderize meat: Add it to the marinade.
  • Make buttermilk ice cream. Yum!
  • Try it on cereal. We often put yogurt on dry cereal instead of milk. This is the same idea.
  • Use in salad dressings and sauces.
  • Cook with it: Buttermilk can be substituted for whole milk or skim milk in many recipes, from baked goods and puddings to sauces, soups and breading.
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BREAD IN OUR
    BREAD GLOSSARY

    And while you’re at it…

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BUTTER

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF JAM & JELLY

     
    BISCUITS VS. ROLLS

    Biscuits and rolls are both made from flour, fat (butter, shortening, olive oil), liquid (buttermilk, cream, milk, water) and salt (some rolls do not contain fat).

    What’s the difference?

    Biscuits are risen with chemical leavening (baking powder); rolls are risen with yeast bread.

      

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