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Archive for Breakfast

TIP OF THE DAY: Soufflé Omelet With Balsamic Strawberries

For Sunday brunch, try your hand at a fluffy Soufflé Omelet. This recipe, adapted from one by the California Strawberry Commission, has a filling of balsamic strawberries.

Serve it with a bubbly Mimosa (recipe below).

RECIPE: SOUFFLE OMELET WITH BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups (about 8 ounces) fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or mint
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar and/or mascarpone or sour cream
  •  
    Preparation

       

    Soufflet Omelet

    A Souffle Omelet, stuffed with balsamic strawberries (photo courtesy California Strawberry Commission).

     
    1. COMBINE the strawberries, mint, vinegar and 1½ teaspoons of the granulated sugar in bowl; set aside.

    2. WHISK the egg yolks, vanilla and remaining ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar in a small bowl for 1 minute, or until slightly thickened.

    3. BEAT the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold the yolk mixture into the whites until no streaks remain.

    4. MELT the butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter is sizzling add the egg mixture, spreading it into an even layer with the spatula. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the omelet is golden brown on the bottom and barely set on top.

    5. SPOON the strawberries down the center of omelet. Use the spatula to fold the omelet in half over filling.

    6. SLIDE the omelet onto a plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Add a dollop of sour cream or mascarpone as desired.

     

    Mimosa With Strawberry Recipe

    Mimosa Cocktail

    Top: You don’t need Champagne flutes to serve a Mimosa (photo courtesy DrinkSkinny.com. Bottom: Even better, a Blood Orange Mimosa (photo courtesy BakeholicMama.com).

     

    OMELETTE VS. OMELET?

    It’s the French versus British spelling. Both are correct: Omelette is is more elegant while omelet is easier to spell.

     
    RECIPE: MIMOSA COCKTAIL

    Use juice from a carton if you like, but the best Mimosa Cocktail is made from fresh-squeezed juice (juice is half the recipe, after all). Even better is fresh-squeezed blood orange juice!

    Unless you have an excess of Champagne to use up, save the money and buy a Cava or Prosecco, in the $12 to $15 range; or a Sparkling Rosé. If you don’t have Champagne flutes, use white wine glasses or a tall, slender stemless glass.

    Variations: Try a Grapefruit Mimosa substituting grapefruit juice, or a Grand Mimosa with a splash of Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur.

    Ingredients

  • Dry sparkling wine, chilled
  • Orange juice, chilled (if squeezing, plan 1 orange per drink)
  • Optional: orange liqueur
  • Optional garnish: notched strawberry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the sparkling wine into the flute. It should comprise half of the contents.

    2. TOP the sparkling wine with orange juice, then the optional orange liqueur. The heavier weights of the juice and liqueur will travel to the bottom and self-mix.

    If you feel that mixing is necessary, give the drink half a gentle stir with a swizzle stick so you don’t break the bubbles.

    3. CUT a notch in the strawberry and set it on the rim of the glass. Serve immediately.

     
    THE HISTORY OF THE MIMOSA COCKTAIL

    The Mimosa, a cocktail composed of equal parts of orange juice and Champagne or other dry, white sparkling wine, was invented by bartender Frank Meier circa 1925 at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris.

    Served in a Champagne flute, it is believed to be named after the the mimosa evergreen shrub (Acacia dealbata), which bears flowers of a similar color to the drink.

    Because of the juice component, the Mimosa is often served at brunch. The optional addition of a small amount of orange liqueur like Grand Marnier complements the juice and gives the drink more complexity.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls, A Weekend Treat

    On Mother’s Day we called our aunt to send our best wishes, and ended up chatting about our family’s favorite topic: food. We ended up reminiscing about the Pecan Logs from Fanny Farmer and the Pecan Honey Buns from Horn & Hardart, both chains long gone.

    After the call ended, we couldn’t wait to make these delicious, 90-minute Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls from one of our favorite bakers, Audra, The Baker Chick.

    If you’d like to bake something this weekend, we recommend these yummy breakfast and tea-time pastries. They’re at best warm from the oven (or warmed up in the microwave), but “best” is relative: They’re always delicious! Any extras can be frozen.
     
    RECIPE: BROWN BUTTER CINNAMON ROLLS

    Ingredients For 12 Rolls

  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (.25 ounce/2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 egg
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • Optional: 1/4 cup raisins/currants or chopped pecans
  •  
    For The Frosting

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar (we found 2 cups to be sweet enough)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter and stir until melted. Let the mixture cool until lukewarm.

    2. COMBINE in a large mixing bowl 2¼ cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar and salt; whisk together. Add the water, the egg and the milk mixture; beat well with an electric mixer. Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, using a wooden spoon to stir well after each addition (the dough will be too thick and sticky at this point to use the a mixer.) When the dough has just pulled together…

     

    Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

    Pecan Honey Buns

    Pecan Sticky Bun

    Top: The Baker Chick’s Brown Butter Cinnamon Buns. Center: A version of the original Pecan Honey Buns of our youth, also called sticky buns. Here’s the recipe from Susan Spungen, The Modern Cook. Photos copyright their respective owners. Bottom: A recipe for sticky buns from EzraPoundCake.com.

     
    3. TURN it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, use the dough hook in a stand mixer. When ready, the dough will spring back when lightly pressed. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Meanwhile…

    4. BROWN the butter by placing it in a small microwave-safe container. Cover it with a microwavable saucer or other tight lid (including microwavable plastic wrap with a vent cut in) and microwave for 3-5 minutes. The butter will melt, pop and then turn brown. If you don’t have a microwave, you can do this on the stove top. While the butter cools slightly, mix together the filling—butter, brown sugar and cinnamon—in a small bowl.

    5. ROLL out the dough into a 9×12 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface (use a 9×13 baking dish as a guide.) Using a pastry brush, slather the dough with the brown butter. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and the optional raisins/nuts, and press in lightly so they does’t fall out when you roll the pastry. The brown sugar mix should cover the dough all the way to the edges.

    6. ROLL up the dough and pinch the seam to seal. Using a serrated knife, cut into 12 equal size rolls and place in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover and let the rolls rise in a warm place* until doubled, about 30 minutes.

    7. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until golden. While the rolls bake…

    8. MAKE the frosting: Whip together the softened butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time. Beat until creamy and spreadable. Let the rolls cool for 10 minutes and then spread the rolls with frosting. Serve warm.

     
    _____________________
    *Proofing is the final rise of shaped dough before baking—a specific rest period during the fermentation process. Cold air will retard the rise, so if it’s cold in your kitchen, preheat the oven to 200°F and proof the dough in the oven.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Avocado Toast

    Avocado Toast

    Cherry & Grape Tomatoes

    Mini Cucumbers

    Top: Fully Loaded Avocado Toast. Center: A medley of cherry and grape tomatoes. Bottom: Mini cucumbers. Photos courtesy Sunset Produce.

     

    Over the last few years, Avocado Toast has been spreading from casual dining spots to coffee bars. The concept started as part of the trend to eat more nutritiously (avocado nutrition). It falls in the “nutritious and delicious” category.

    We first saw Avocado Toast in the form of seasoned, chunky mashed avocado on whole grain toast—perhaps garnished with sprouts or halved cherry tomatoes. As its popularity grew, so did the creativity.

    Today’s tip is: Design your ideal Avocado Toast recipe. Ours includes capers, fresh basil, pimento, sweet onion, tomato or sundried tomato, and a balsamic drizzle on crusty country loaf toast. Sometimes we add slices of hard-boiled egg.

    Avocado toast can be served for breakfast or snacks, or as smaller hors d’oeuvre (crostini).

    Here are two more takes on Avocado Toast:

    RECIPE #1: LOADED AVOCADO TOAST Loaded Avocado Toast OR CROSTINI

    This recipe, from Chef Roger Mooking for Sunset Produce, uses the brand’s mini cucumbers and Wild Wonders mix of cherry and grape tomatoes in red and orange. Prep time is 15 minutes.

     
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, thinly sliced shallots (substitute sweet onion)
  • 2 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 cup halved cherry and/or grape tomatoes
  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse or flake sea salt (the different types of sea salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds (we ground whole seeds in a mortar with a pestle)
  • 1/2 cup quality extra virgin olive oil (we used basil-infused olive oil)
  • Preparation

    1. SEPARATE the shallot slices into individual rings. Submerge them in a bowl of cold water and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and discard the water.

    2. TOAST the bread lightly, place a slice on each plate and spread 2 tablespoons of avocado on each slice. Top the avocado with a pinch of smoked paprika.

    3. DIVIDE the tomatoes, then the cucumbers, on top of the avocado. Sprinkle with a pinch each of cracked black pepper (you can crush peppercorns in the mortar, too), lemon zest, sea salt and ground fennel seed. Place the shallot slices on top or to the side.

    4. DRIZZLE 1 teaspoon of olive oil on top of each slice to finish. Serve immediately.

     

    RECIPE #2: AVOCADO-MISO TOAST

    Miso may seem an unusual pairing with avocado, but the flavors are very complementary. This recipe from Quinciple features an unusual ingredient: hozon, a proprietary miso-style spread made by David Chang’s Kaizen Trading Company.

    Hozon isn’t yet available to consumers outside of Quinciple’s meal delivery service, but you can substitute regular miso. The difference is that traditional miso is made from fermented soybeans, and hozon is made from fermented legumes, nuts and seeds.

    You can easily whip up miso compound butter or hozon compound butter (recipe below). It gives umami flavor and savory contrast to the avocado toast.

    Ingredients For 2 Slices

  • 2 slices rustic bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower hozon or traditional (recipe below)
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • Flake sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TOAST the bread until golden and crisp. If using hozon…

    2. WHISK together the butter and hozon in a small bowl, until combined. Otherwise, coat each piece of toast generously with miso compound butter (recipe below).

    3. SLICE each avocado half as shown in the photo, and press down gently to fan out the slices.

    4. ARRANGE each fanned avocado half atop a piece of toast. Garnish with scallions, sesame seeds and salt.

     

    Avocado Toast

    Miso Butter

    Top: Avocado Toast with hozon butter, an alternative to soybean miso paste. Photo courtesy Quinciple. Bottom: Miso butter, a compound butter. Photo courtesy MomofukuFor2.com.

     
    RECIPE: MISO BUTTER, A COMPOUND BUTTER

    Compound butter is classic French ingredient: a blend of unsalted butter with another flavor ingredient that complements the particular recipe. It can be anything from blue cheese to nuts, herbs, spices and citrus. Here’s more about compound butter.

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste (any type—see the different types of miso)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Optional minced seasonings: chives or green onions, garlic, ginger; citrus zest; red pepper flakes.
     
    Preparation

    1. BLEND the butter, miso and pepper with a small whisk or a fork.

    2. BUTTER the bread; roll the remainder into a log shape in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. You can cut off slices to garnish chicken, fish or steak (lots of umami); vegetables; potatoes or rice.
     
    AVOCADO FUN FACTS

  • The avocado is a tree that is native to south central Mexico. Botanically, the fruit is a large berry containing a single seed (the pit).
  • Avocados have been cultivated in Central America for some 7,000 years, although they didn’t arrive in the U.S. until in 1833 in Florida. They were planted in California in 1856. Today California is the largest producer of avocados in the U.S., followed by Florida and Hawaii.
  • Although we only see a handful in supermarkets, there are more than 80 varieties of avocado. The most popular is the Hass avocado.
  • Americans eat an average of 4.5 pounds of avocado per year. About 50 million pounds of avocados are consumed in the U.S. on Super Bowl Sunday.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit Pancakes & Maple Syrup Substitutes

    Some people like to serve pancakes with a garnish of berries. But at The Mission restaurant in San Diego, a creative cook embedded the fruit in the pancake itself.

    You can do it easily:

  • SLICE fresh berries in 1/4-inch pieces.
  • SPOON the pancake batter onto the griddle or pan.
  • ADD the sliced fruit while the batter sets. If you work quickly, you can add them in a circle; but random scatters are just as tasty.
  •  
    No berries? Use dried fruit (dried cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc) or dice any other fruit you have on hand (apples, bananas, pears, etc.).

    While the The Mission serves the pancakes with conventional maple syrup, consider these…
     
    ALTERNATIVES TO MAPLE SYRUP

  • Apple butter, bourbon butter, maple butter, strawberry butter or other compound butter
  • Fruit yogurt (you can mix jam or preserves into plain yogurt)
  • Honey
  • Jam, marmalade, preserves
  • Other syrup (berry syrup, brown rice syrup, cinnamon syrup [recipe below], molasses)
  • More fresh fruit
  • Plain yogurt, sour cream or mascarpone
  • Whipped cream or heavy cream
  •  
     
    For plain pancakes consider:

  • Applesauce or other puréed fruit
  • Dessert sauce (caramel, chocolate)
  • Fruit compote or sautéed fruit
  • Peanut butter or other nut butter
  •  
    You can also mix up a creative syrup; for example, honey with raisins, diced apples and/or chopped nuts.
     
     
    RECIPE: CINNAMON SYRUP

    This is delicious on French toast, pancakes and waffles; along with fruit salad, ice cream, un-iced cakes, etc.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Splash of lemon juice
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Pancakes Embedded Fruit

    Sautéed Apple Pancakes

    Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes

    Fun with fruit, in and on your pancakes. Top: Embedded berries (photo courtesy The Mission restaurant | San Diego). Center: “Apple Pie Pancakes,” topped with sautéed apples (photo courtesy PotsAndPans.com). Bottom: Topped with peanut butter and jelly or preserves (photo courtesy Krusteaz).

     
    1. HEAT the water and the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the liquid begins to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.

    2. ADD the cinnamon and lemon juice, stir thoroughly, and let cool or serve warm.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: BLT Pancakes

    BLT Pancakes Recipe

    Quark Cheese

    Baby Arugula

    Top: Something different: BLT Pancakes. Center: Quark and cherry tomatoes. Recipe and photos courtesy Tieghan Gerard | Wisconsin Cheese Talk. Bottom: Baby arugula from Baldor Specialty Foods | Facebook.

     

    For National BLT Month, how about some savory BLT pancakes?

    This recipe was created by Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest for Wisconsin Cheese Talk, who used Wisconsin-made quark in the recipe.

    “Quark is like ricotta’s saltier cousin mixed with a creamy version of feta,” says Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest, who shared this recipe with the Wisconsin cheese folks.

    “When I first tried it, I had so many ideas of how to use quark in my recipes, but one recipe stuck out: these BLT Quark Pancakes with Chipotle Bourbon Dressing.”

    Here’s more about quark, a fresh cheese that looks like sour cream and yogurt.

    Check out Half Baked Harvest. You’ll want to eat every recipe!

     
    RECIPE: BLT QUARK PANCAKES WITH CHIPOTLE BOURBON DRESSING

    Serve these pancakes for brunch, lunch, or even as a first course at dinner. The recipe serves 6 as an entrée, 12 as a starter.

    If you can’t find quark, substitute ricotta. The biggest challenge is when to make the recipe:

    It’s a recipe for tomato season, but it seems a shame to wait for July’s crop of heirloom tomatoes. So the next best thing is to substitute cherry tomatoes (in addition to the ones already in the recipe.

    Ingredients

    For The Chipotle Bourbon Dressing

  • Optional: 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  •  
    For The Quark Pancakes

  • 2 eggs, whites separated from yolks
  • 16 ounces (1 pound) Wisconsin quark cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  •  
    Garnishes

  • 8 slices cooked bacon
  • 2 tomatoes, preferably heirloom, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cups arugula or other dark greens
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the Chipotle Bourbon Dressing: In small saucepan over medium heat, bring the bourbon, if using, to a boil. Cook until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, chipotle pepper and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste; whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.

    2. MAKE the Quark Pancakes: Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Combine 8 ounces of quark, the buttermilk and egg yolks in a separate, larger mixing bowl. Add the flour, honey, baking soda and salt to the batter, stirring gently until just combined. Stir a small scoop of egg whites into the mixture to lighten the batter; then fold in the remaining beaten whites with a spatula.

    3. HEAT a skillet over medium heat. Coat with butter or cooking spray. For entrée-size pancakes, pour 1/3 cup of the pancake batter onto the center of the hot skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on the pancake’s surface. Using a spatula, gently flip the pancake; cook the second side until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep the pancakes warm in the oven.

     

    Pancakes & Bacon

    Ready to assemble. Photo courtesy Tieghan Gerard | Wisconsin Cheese Talk.

     
    4. MAKE the topping. Place the remaining 8 ounces of quark in a mixing bowl. Add the heavy cream. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk until the quark is whipped, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Stack the pancakes on serving plates; top with the bacon, tomato slices, halved cherry tomatoes and arugula. Add a dollop of whipped quark cheese and drizzle with the reserved dressing.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Oatmeal With Peanut Butter & Jelly

    PB&J Oatmeal

    PB&J Oatmeal: a way to start the day. This recipe also sprinkles on some coconut. Photo courtesy SimplyQuinoa.com

     

    April 2nd is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day. If you haven’t tried it yet, a bowl of PB&J Oatmeal hits the spot. If you don’t like jelly, we have a PB-only recipe below.

    Not to mention, more than 40 other toppings for your oatmeal, sweet as well as savory.

    There’s also National Oatmeal Day on October 29th. Here are the different types of oats. Check out the health benefits of oatmeal. Oats are the only major grain proven to help blood cholesterol.

    This recipe is adapted from SimplyQuinoa.com.
     
    RECIPE #1: PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY OATMEAL

    Ingredients

  • Rolled oats or steel-cut oats
  • 1-3† tablespoons creamy peanut butter per serving
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Optional: pinch cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Optional: pinch vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Jam or preserves of choice
  • Optional toppings (see list below)
  •  
    ________________________
    †One tablespoon provides a lighter peanut butter flavor, three tablespoons is very peanutty. Try the smaller amount first; you can always stir in more or use add a PB topping when the oats are done cooking.

    †Eating three grams of soluble fiber from oats each day, as part of a diet that’s low in fat and cholesterol, has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. This may reduce the risk of heart disease.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the oatmeal according to package directions. Stir in the peanut butter, maple syrup and spices when the oats have started to soften but are still runny. Cook until thick and creamy.

    2. TRANSFER to bowls and top with jam and any optional toppings.
     
    MORE FAVORITE OATMEAL TOPPINGS

    Toppings can be savory or sweet. You can use one or several on your bowl of oatmeal.
     
    Sweet Toppings

  • Apple, fig, kiwi, pear, stone fruits and other fresh fruits, diced or sliced
  • Agave, honey, jam, maple syrup, preserves
  • Banana
  • Berries, fresh or frozen
  • Brown sugar, cinnamon sugar, raw sugar
  • Cinnamon pecan topping (recipe)
  • Cooked fruit: apples, applesauce, compote
  • Dairy: butter, cream, mascarpone, milk, plain or flavored yogurt, sweetened condensed milk
  • Chutney, cranberry sauce, jam, preserves
  • Chocolate chips, chocolate syrup
  • Dried fruits: apricots, blueberries, cherries, coconut (plain or toasted, shredded or flaked), cranberries, dates, figs, raisins, strawberries
  • Granola
  • Fruit Salt
  • Mascarpone or ricotta
  • Nutella
  • Nuts, seeds (including pomegranate arils), trail mix
  • Sweet spices: allspice, anise cinnamon, nutmeg
  •  

    Savory Toppings

  • Baked/sautéed garlic
  • Barbecue sauce, fish sauce, hot sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce
  • Bourbon
  • Butter: brown butter, compound (flavored) butter, salted butter
  • Chopped green onions (scallions)
  • Chopped beef jerky
  • Congee style, with cilantro, chopped green onions, chopped peanuts, ginger, pepper, pickled/preserved vegetables, radish, sliced chicken, pork or fish, soy sauce (Congee is made with rice porridge, like Cream Of Rice)
  • Crumbled bacon or diced ham
  • Egg: hard-boiled/sliced, fried, poached, soft-boiled
  • Flavored salt and artisan salt
  • Flavored oil droplets: basil, chili, rosemary, sesame, etc.
  • Fresh cheese: cotija, goat, ricotta, paneer, etc.
  • Grated/shredded/crumbled cheese: blue, Cheddar, Parmesan, other
  • Greek: Greek yogurt or labne, feta cheese, lemon zest, Greek olives, pine nuts
  • Grilled shishito peppers
  • Ground pepper, chili flakes or minced jalapeño
  • Herbs: basil, chives, oregano
  • Kimchi or chopped pickled vegetables
  • Leftover cooked vegetables (mustard greens, spinach, kale, mushrooms, squash, etc.)
  • Mexican style: chili powder, cilantro, corn kernels, cotija cheese or grated Cheddar, lime zest, minced/sliced jalapeño, salsa
  •  

    PB Oatmeal

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

    Top: Peanut Butter Oatmeal. Photo courtesy HoneyWhatsCooking.com. Bottom: How about Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal? Here’s the recipe from AlidasKitchen.com.

  • Nuts and seeds: chia, flax, hemp, sesame, sunflower
  • Olives
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Spices: caraway seed, celery seed, chili, cumin, fennel seed, toasted sesame sees
  • Thai-inspired: cashews, chile, chopped peanuts, cooked in coconut milk infused with optional lemongrass and/or ginger
  •  
    RECIPE #2: PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1-3 tablespoons* peanut butter, equivalent PB powder or other nut butter
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • Optional toppings (see list above)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the oatmeal according to package directions.

    2. PLACE the peanut butter and optional honey/syrup in a cereal bowl. When the oatmeal is done, add to the bowl and stir to blend.

    3. GARNISH as desired.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Farinata, Chickpea Pancake Snacks

    Like pizza but not the gluten? Try farinata.

    Called by different names around the world, farinata is a thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe made of chickpea flour. Originating in Genoa, it become a popular food on the Ligurian coast, from Nice to Pisa.

    It’s not like a conventional, airy European pancake. Without leavening, it’s dense, and enjoyed not for breakfast but as a snack food, served hot.

    It is baked in bakeries and pizzerias on tinned copper pans the size of a large pizza pan. Triangular slices are sold and enjoyed as handheld snack, like a slice of pizza. They typically have a light seasoning or pepper and herbs. That’s tasty (think of plain foccaccia); but you Americanize yours with different toppings.
     
    TRADITIONAL COOKING METHOD

    Farinata is made by stirring chickpea flour into a mixture of water and olive oil to form a loose batter. At bakeries and pizzerias, the batter is baked in a wood-burning oven in a tin-plated baking pan. In its simplest form, farinata is seasoned with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.

    You can make farinata in your kitchen oven with skillets, as noted in the recipe below. We didn’t try it with a pizza pan, but we may do that next.
     
    REGIONAL VARIATIONS

    Variations of chickpea pancakes are found the world over. Some examples sourced from Wikipedia:

  • Algeria: Karantita are garnished with cumin and harissa.
  • Argentina and Uruguay: Fainá is often eaten on top of pizza (known as a caballo, on horseback).
  •    

    Pine Nuts & Pepper Farinata

    Zucchini Farinata

    Top: with plenty of pepper, plus pine nuts and red onion at Vegan Lifestyle Associates. Bottom: Topped with zucchini and cut into wedges at AskGeorge.com. In the U.S., chickpea flour (garbanzo flour) is sold in many supermarkets and natural food stores, as well as in Indian and Middle Eastern markets.

  • Genoa: The birthplace of farinata goes for fainâ co i gianchetti, farinata with whitebait. Alternative toppings are onions or artichokes. Fainâ is local dialect. A variation is panissa/paniscia, a thicker batter like polenta. When cut into strips and fried, it is called called panissette.
  • Gibraltar: The pancake is called calentita when baked and panissa when fried. Considered Gibraltar’s national dishes, they are typically eaten without toppings.
  • India: The name varies by region based on the local word for chickpea. The batter of chickpea flour and water is cooked on an oiled skillet. Cabbage, green chiles, onions are added, along with different and herbs and spices.
  • Nice: Socca is a specialty in southeastern France. It is topped generously with black pepper.
  • Sardinia: La fainé genovese reflects the island’s historical ties with Genoa.
  • Savona: This seaport town near Genoa prefeers farinata bianca (white farinata), made with wheat flour instead of chickpea flour.
  • Tuscany: Cecina (“made of chickpeas”) or torta di ceci (chickpea pie) is baked and served plain.
  • Pisa and Livorno: The pancake is stuffed into small focaccia or between two slices of bread (similar to the Argentinian “en caballo”).
  •  

    Pizza Oven Farinata

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/farinata puttanesca blossomNY 230sq

    Top: Farinata fresh from the pizza oven, from OnMilwaukee.com. Bottom: Turned into a puttanesca “crepe” at Blossom Restaurant | NYC. We found it easier to eat with the filling on top!

      RECIPE: FARINATA, CHICKPEA SNACK PANCAKES

    Here’s a recipe from Food and Wine for a lightly seasoned farinata. To turn the snack into lunch, top it like a mini pizza. We quickly steamed mushrooms, red onions and zucchini in the microwave with diced San Marzano tomatoes and baked it on top of the pancake, like pizza.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, passive time is 2 hours, baking time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the water into a bowl. Whisk in the chickpea flour slowly, until you have a smooth batter. Let the batter stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 500°F. Skim any foam off the top of the batter. Stir in the salt, rosemary and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. (Note that using a different oil, such as canola, gives the pancake a notably different taste.)

     
    3. HEAT two 10-inch cast-iron skillets in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully add 2 tablespoons of the oil to each skillet, swirling to coat. Divide the batter between the skillets; it should be less than 1/2 inch thick.

    4. BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp around the edges. Slide the farinata onto a board; cut into wedges. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.
     
    MORE RECIPES

  • Farinata With Sage, Olives & Onion
  • Sage Farinata With A Side Of Olives & Feta
  •   

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Modern Oats Instant Oatmeal

    Two years ago we recommended Modern Oats, a packaging concept that places elegantly-flavored, gluten-free* oatmeal in stylish grab-and-go cups.

    All you have to do is add hot water to cover the oats in the coated paper cup. Put the lid back on, wait a few minutes and enjoy. No added sweetener, milk or microwave is required. The colorful designs give a boost to starting the day.

    Success has enabled the brand to expand the number of flavors to 10. The lineup now includes:

  • Apple Walnut
  • Chocolate Cherry
  • Coconut Almond
  • 5 Berry
  • 5 Berry No Sugar Added
  • Goji Berry
  • Just Oats
  • Mango Blackberry
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Vermont Maple
  •    

    Grab & Go Oatmeal

    Cheerful packaging adds to the enjoyment of these delicious flavored oatmeal cups. Photo courtesy Modern Oats.

     

    Suggested retail price is $3.50 per cup.

     

    Modern Oats Coconut Almond

    Coconut Almond, one of 10 flavors. Photo courtesy Modern Oats.

     

    MODERN OATS ARE GOOD OATS

    The rolled oats in the containers are grown by family farmers in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They are minimally processed by steaming and flaking; you look into the carton and see what looks like “real oats,” instead of the small particles familiar to consumers of instant oatmeal.

    Not surprisingly, the oat flakes provide a textural differences that deliver a more solid bite (and, the company says, optimal absorption of nutrients).

    Modern Oats are produced in a 100% gluten free facility and are Certified Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Halal, Kosher, Vegan and 100% Whole Grain. (Whew: There’s no more room left on the carton for any more certifications).

    Bonus: Oats are the only major grain proven to help blood cholesterol†.

     

    If you can’t find the cups locally (here’s the store locator), buy them on the Modern Oats website.

    There’s a four-flavor gift-boxed set; an assortment of flavors makes a nice Easter gift for the nutritionally-focused.
     
    ____________________
    *To be certified gluten-free, they must be processed in a facility that does not also process grains with gluten. In the milling and processing process, oats are susceptible to cross-contamination; so not all oatmeal and other oat products are gluten free.

    †Eating three grams of soluble fiber from oats each day, as part of a diet that’s low in fat and cholesterol, has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. This may reduce the risk of heart disease.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Pasta For Breakfast

    Spaghetti

    Pasta For Breakfast

    Angel Hair With Fried Egg

    Top: Start with unsauced pasta (photo courtesy Wikihow.com. Middle: A breakfast version of Spaghetti Carbonara from TheViewFromGreatIsland.com. Bottom: A fried egg tops pasta mixed with cherry tomatoes and chives, at Popsugar.com.

     

    Pasta for breakfast? Yes, although not cold or reheated with sauce.

    We’ve previously published recipes for gnocchi topped with a fried egg and breakfast pizza.

    But plain leftover pasta, unsauced, can be served up as breakfast with a fried or poached egg, plus any cooked veggies you have on hand: broccoli florets, mushrooms, peas, spinach or other leafy greens, for example. Got cherry or sundried tomatoes? Toss ‘em in.

    Our favorite leftover pasta for breakfast is angel hair pasta (capelli d’angelo) or other thin ribbon (capellini, spaghettini). If we’re cooking it for dinner, we make extra for breakfast or brunch. It will keep for a few days, if you don’t want to follow one pasta meal with another.

    You can also use standard linguine or spaghetti; and, while they don’t hold a fried egg as evenly, any cut of pasta from tubes (penne, rigatoni) to shapes: bow ties (farfalle), shells (conchiglie), wagon wheels (ruote) and so forth. (See the different types of pasta.)

    We adapted this recipe from TheViewFromGreatIsland.com, a blog by Susan Moran, who calls it “pure satisfying comfort food.” She enjoys it with her coffee.

    Don’t forget the toast!

     
    RECIPE: LEFTOVER BREAKFAST PASTA

    Ingredients For 2-4 Servings

  • 3 cups cooked pasta
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 4 slices cooked bacon (or substitute another 1/3 cup of ham, sausage or other breakfast meat)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Black pepper or red chili flakes to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley (substitute fresh basil or cilantro)
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional garnish: extra parsley and cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the pasta from the fridge and let it warm on the counter.

    2. COOK the bacon until crisp. Add the ham and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes, adding some olive oil if the bacon didn’t render enough fat to cook the garlic. If you’re using only ham, you’ll need about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

    3. COMBINE the Parmesan and eggs in a small bowl, with fresh-ground black pepper to taste.

     
    4. HEAT the pasta in the microwave at 30-second intervals until hot. Add the pasta and the egg mixture to the skillet and toss, along with the parsley.

    5. COOK until the eggs and cheese become a creamy sauce. If it is too thick, you can add some milk or cream. Taste and add salt as desired (or let each individual add his/her own salt to taste).
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PASTA

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cooked Grains At Breakfast

    Poached Egg With Whole Grains

    Eggs On Rice

    Baked Eggs In A Rice Nest

    Poached Egg Grain Bowl

    Top: Our most recent whole grain breakfast: poached egg, red rice, baby arugula, sautéed cherry tomatoes and mushrooms (photo courtesy InHarvest). Second: We’ve also eaten our poached egg with leftover white rice and veggies (photo courtesy Gardenia | NYC). Third: You can bake the egg atop the cooked grain instead of poaching it, as in this saffron rice nest (photo courtesy American Egg Board). Bottom: A poached egg with quinoa, broccoli rabe and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF).

     

    We’re not tooting our horn after all that Valentine candy, but we’re still holding on to our new year’s resolution to eat a healthy breakfast.

    We miss the bagels and cream cheese, the cheese danish, the cinnamon rolls, the weekend pancakes dripping with maple syrup. How long we’ll miss them we can’t predict, but so far, we’re still on the wagon*.

    Thank goodness, because it’s National Hot Breakfast Month, and we wouldn’t want to let a food holiday down.
     
    OUR NEW GO-TO BREAKFAST

    We recently featured a grain bowl for breakfast (bottom photo). We’ve been eating lots of them.

    We really enjoy the combination of grain, egg and veggies for breakfast; and we especially like the opportunity to use leftover grains and veggies in a most delicious way.

    All we need to do is poach the egg; although we’ve skirted that too, by using peeled, hard-boiled eggs that we pick up at Trader Joe’s. (Slice or halve them and heat them in the microwave for 10 seconds.)

    The recipe in the top photo was developed by Mike Holleman, a corporate chef with InHarvest Foodservice, a supplier of premium grains to restaurants and other food operations. He used red rice along with more familiar items.

    Just put together these ingredients, and hold off on Chef Mike’s creamy salad dressing in favor of a light toss with lemon or lime juice and olive oil:

  • Poached egg (or baked or other style if you can’t poach well—until you pick up an egg poacher or poaching pods)
  • Baby greens and other salad fixings
  • Optional: cooked veggies
  • Whole grain (see the list below)
  • Garnish: fresh herbs (substitute dried herbs)
  •  
    LIST OF WHOLE GRAINS

    Most of us already eat grains for breakfast, in the form of cold cereal or porridge. Here are grains usually used as lunch and dinner sides, that can be part of your whole-grain breakfast.

    If you have leftover beans or lentils instead of whole grains, use them!

  • Amaranth
  • Barley (but not pearled barley)
  • Buckwheat (kasha)
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Chia/Salba®† ‡
  • Corn (whole grain corn or cornmeal, yellow or white—not grits†)
  • Farro (emmer wheat)
  • Flaxseed‡
  • Grano
  • Hemp‡
  • Kamut® (khorasan wheat)†
  • Millet
  • Oats (oatmeal, Whole or rolled oats)
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Rice: black, brown, red, wild
  • Rye (whole)
  • Spelt
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Triticale (a barley/wheat hybrid)
  • Whole wheat
  •  

    HERE’S MORE ABOUT WHOLE GRAINS.
     
    ____________________
    *The idiom “to be on the wagon” refers to heavy drinkers who are abstaining from alcohol. To fall off the wagon is to end one’s sobriety. The phrase evolved from an expression used in the early 20th-century American temperance movement, “to be on the water wagon” or the water cart, which meant that the person was sober, drinking water instead of alcohol. A horse-pulled water wagon or cart was used to hose down dusty roads. The phrase has evolved to encompass other addictions or compulsions. [Source]

    †Salba is a trademarked name for chia, Kamut® is a trademarked name for khorasan wheat. Grits are refined and are not whole grains.

    ‡These are whole grains that are used as seeds, due to their tiny size. Use them as a garnish, not as a base grain.
     
      

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