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Archive for Breakfast

RECIPE: Summer Squash Crostini With Goat Cheese

Don’t let summer slip away without trying this sunny bruschetta, for breakfast, lunch, snack or a first course at dinner.

It was created by Kelley Epstein of Mountain Mama Cooks (her mountain is in Park City, Utah). The recipe was sent to us by Vermont Creamery.

You can use flavored goat cheese instead of plain. Vermont Creamery makes Creamy Goat Cheese in Classic, Olive & Herb and Roasted Red Pepper, all of which work well with summer squash.

If you don’t have spreadable goat cheese, use a goat cheese log at room temperature, which makes it more spreadable.

Ingredients For 4 Large Or 8 Small Pieces

  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 small summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 ripe lemon
  • Pinch salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 oz Vermont Creamery Plain Creamy Goat Cheese or substitute
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • 4 slices crusty baguette or french bread, toasted or grilled

    1. SLICE the zucchini and yellow squash as thinly as possible, using a mandoline or sharp knife.

    2. COMBINE the squash, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so until ready to serve. Then…

    3. TOAST the baguette slices. While they toast…

    4. COMBINE the goat cheese mixture in a food processor with the dill, lemon zest and pepper. Pulse until smooth and incorporated.

    5. SPREAD the goat cheese on each slice of bread and top with zucchini and yellow squash. Top each bruschetta with extra fresh dill and a sprinkle of kosher or coarse sea salt and pepper, if desired.

    The answer, in brief, is the size of the slice, plus grilling versus toasting.


    Summer Squash Bruschetta
    [1] Eat your vegetables…on bruschetta or crostini. The differences are below (this photo shows bruschetta, a larger slice that is grilled instead of toasted; photo courtesy Mountain Mama Cooks).

    Summer Squash
    [2] Zucchini and yellow summer squash (photo courtesy Produce On Parade).

    Vermont Creamery Spreadable Goat Cheese

    [3] Vermont Creamery’s spreadable goat cheese in three varieties: original, olive & herb and roasted red pepper (photo courtesy Vermont Creamery).

    Bruschetta (three or four inches in diameter) are cut from an Italian loaf and grilled; crostini (about two inches in diameter) are cut from a thinner loaf like a baguette, and toasted.

    Bruschetta (pronounced broo-SKEH-tuh) are grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with any variety of items. The toppings can be as simple as extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, to diced tomatoes and basil, to almost any spread, vegetable, cured meat or cheese—even fruit.

    Bruschetta originated in the Tuscany region of Italy, where it is commonly served as a snack or appetizer. It may have been the original garlic bread.

    The word comes from the verb bruscare in Roman dialect, which means “to roast over coals.” If you have access to a grill, grill the bread for authenticity. If not, you can toast it.

    Some American manufacturers and others in the food industry misuse the term, using it to refer to the topping only and selling jars of “bruschetta” (it should be bruschetta topping). Show your superior knowledge and don’t allow the term to be distorted: The word bruschetta refers to the grilled bread, not the topping.

    Crostini (cruh-STEE-nee) are croutons: not in the American sense of small cubes tossed into soup or salad, but thin slices of toasted bread.

    Smaller than bruschetta, the slices can be cut from a ficelle, a thinner baguette one to two inches wide (the word is French for “string”), or from a thinner baguette. The slices are brushed with olive oil, toasted and then topped with spreadable cheese, pâté or other ingredients. Plain crostini are served with soups and salads, like melba toast, or set out with cheese.

    Final take:

  • Large slice grilled = bruschetta.
  • Small slice toasted = crostini.
    An easy memory aid: Crostini = crouton in French. Croutons are toasted (in the oven), not grilled over coals.



    GLUTEN-FREE PRODUCT: Pamela’s Sprouted Grain Pancake Mixes

    Gluten-free reporter Georgi Page-Smith tries sprouted-grain pancakes from Pamela’s.

    I was fortunate enough to receive the full suite of Pamela’s sprouted grain pancake mixes for review, including 6 Grain, Buckwheat, Buttermilk, Non-Dairy, Grain-Free and Protein varieties.

    Sprouted grains have gotten more attention recently for their lower levels of carbohydrates and increased levels of protein and nutrients, including vitamin C, folate and minerals like iron.

    While initially a bit skeptical about what to expect from the taste and texture of these ultra-healthy alternative mixes, I was pleasantly surprised. Kudos to Pamela’s for not resting on their plentiful laurels.

    My sampling commenced with the Buckwheat mix, because in my very slim book buckwheat is the king of flours. Typically hearty, nutty and virtuous-tasting, it is my go-to in many forms: hot cereals, pancakes, waffles and cookies.

    Again, Pamela’s did not disappoint. The expectation for these mixes, based on their sprouted grain origins, might be that they will be “grainy,” dense or extremely fibrous. This is simply not true.

    The flavor as well as texture is very light and refined with a rich, full, well-rounded flavor. Pamela’s Buckwheat pancakes were also delightfully fluffy. For extra fluff you can separate your whites and egg yolks as I did, whipping the whites into stiff peaks before folding in; but it’s probably not necessary.


    On two separate occasions I attempted to adapt the Pamela’s mixes for use in a waffle iron. With the Buttermilk mix the waffles were tasty, but a bit floppy. The flavor of the mix was nevertheless delicious and should not disappoint classic pancake fans.

    The 6 Grain mix was similarly not my ideal waffle texture-wise, when I strictly followed the recipe on the box.

    However, when I substituted half of the oil in the recipe with butter, and half of the water called for with almond milk and a little extra liquid (I used orange juice and for thrills also added grated orange zest and chopped pecans) for a runnier consistency…I got the waffle of my dreams!

    Crispy on the outside, tender and flavorful on the inside the waffles were perfect, the flavor only enhanced by the virtue of eating a sprouted grain. They are also sturdy enough to freeze for later toasting for a breakfast on-the-go, that still allows you to revel in waffle delight before facing the day.


    Buckwheat Pancakes
    [1] Buckwheat pancakes (photo M. Kucova | IST).

    Pamela's Buckwheat Pancake Mix

    [2] The author’s favorite: Buckwheat pancake mix (photo courtesy Pamela’s Products).

    I highly recommend Pamela’s sprouted grains mixes for gluten-free and gluten-tolerant pancake and waffle fans: The whole family can enjoy them.

    With Pamela’s, I can say with confidence that it’s worth trying the whole range to find the one that suits you best.

    Pamela’s products are available at most large grocery chains nationwide, at e-tailers, on the Pamela’s Products website.

    —Georgi Page-Smith



    TIP OF THE DAY: DIY Crêpes

    Today’s tip was inspired by this yummy photo from Wife Mama Foodie.

    Here’s her recipe for easy homemade crêpes. You can also purchase ready-to-heat-and-eat versions (photo #6).

    Crepes are thin pancakes made from flour, eggs, milk, butter and salt. The word was derived from the Latin crispus, curled. There are two principal types:

  • Sweet crêpes made with wheat flour.
  • Savory crêpes (a.k.a. galettes), made with buckwheat flour.

  • In Brittany, crêpes are traditionally served with apple cider.
  • In areas of Central Europe, variations of the thin, filled pancakes are called blintzes (Jewish), palacinka (Czech and Croatian), palatschinka (Austrian German), palacsinta (Hungarian), etc.
  • Elsewhere in Europe, you’ll find Greek kreps, Italian crespelle, Russian blini and Scandinavian plattars.
  • Though crêpes are now considered fancy fare, they were originally an inexpensive meal for poor.
    We have ideas below for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Whatever ingredients you choose, place them on the table with a plate of crêpes, and let everyone fill and roll their own.


    Crêpes originated in Brittany, the region comprising the northwest France. They were originally made with buckwheat flour and called galettes, meaning flat cakes. The term is still applied to savory crêpes, which remain buckwheat-based.

    Around the 12th century buckwheat, was introduced to Brittany. Common buckwheat was domesticated in Southeast Asia, at least by 4000 B.C.E. [source]. The plant, Fagopyrum esculentum is a member of the Polygonaceae family, which also includes edibles such as rhubarb and sorrel.

    Buckwheat—which is not a cereal and thus is gluten-free—has been grown in Tibet and northern China for millennia, used to make noodles. It is a boon, since wheat can not be grown in mountainous regions. It is the world’s highest-elevation domesticated plant.

    Buckwheat spread to Central Asia and Tibet, and then to the Middle East and Europe. It thrived in the Breton moors, where is was called sarrasin or blé noir (black wheat—from the dark specks that often show themselves in the milled flour). It is high in fiber, has easily digestive protein, and contains all eight essential amino acids.

    Crêpes were initially cooked on large cast-iron hot plates, heated over a wood fire in a fireplace. Today they are made on the stove top in special crepe pans: electric heated. The batter is spread with a tool known as a rozel and flipped with a spatula.

    In Brittany crêpes were (and are) served with the local beverage, hard cider.

    Modern Crépes

    White flour crêpes appeared only at the turn of the 20th century. White wheat flour, which had been very costly—as expensive as sugar, honey or meat—became affordable.

    In Brittany, both crêpes and galettes are traditionally served with cider.

    February 2 in France is a crêpe holiday, variously known as Fête de la Chandeleur, Fête de la Lumière, or Jour des crêpes.

    The feast has a tradition: Hold a coin in your dominant hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year [source].

    O.K., sure, but can we have some more crêpes, please?


    Pick your fillings of choice. Does it need a filling sauce, e.g. mustard sauce for the sausage? Does it need a garnish—for example, whipped cream or raspberry sauce for a banana crêpe?

  • Savory helpers include cheese sauce, crème fraîche, tomoato sauce and vegetable purée.
  • Sweet accompaniments include crème pâtissière, fruit purée, whipped cream and cream-based sauces (butterscotch, chocolate, caramel…).

  • Eggs Benedict (the crêpe replaces the English muffin)
  • Farmer’s cheese or small curd cottage cheese, with cinnamon sugar or honey, and lemon zest
  • Fresh fruit and yogurt
  • Jam and cream cheese
  • Sweet sausage (photo #4)
  • Smoked salmon, dilled yogurt, sweet onions, capers

    You can serve one crêpe as a first course or two as a main. Most work great with a béchamel (white sauce) or Mornay sauce (cheese sauce, a béchamel with gruyère).


    DIY Crepes
    [1] DIY crêpes: ready to fill, roll and eat (photo courtesy Wife Mama Foodie | Facebook).

    Banana Crepes
    [2] Banana crêpes, to which you can add caramel or chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, even peanut butter sauce (photo courtesy Dairy Info).

    Seafood Crepes
    [3] The lap of luxury: lobster, caviar and smoked salmon crêpes (photo courtesy Caviar Russe | NYC).

    Sausage Crepe
    [4] Sausage, onion and greens for breakfast, lunch or dimmer (photo courtesy Rolf And Daughters | Nashville).

    Asparagus Crepes
    [5] Goat cheese with asparagus (photo courtesy Spice Islands).

    Jacquet Crepes

    [6] Better food stores sell packaged crepes (photo courtesy Jacquet Bakery).

  • Cheese, plain or with ham or spinach/kale/broccoli
  • Chicken, artichoke or goat cheese, and sundried tomatoes
  • Chicken, fish, mushrooms in cream sauce
  • Feta, hummus, olives
  • Fig, prosciutto and gorgonzola with a balsamic drizzle
  • Goat cheese with asparagus, spinachs or other vegetable
  • Ratatouille (vegetarian) crêpes with eggplant mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Sausage with onions and greens (photo #4)
  • Seafood in brandy of sherry cream sauce (photo #3)

  • Crepes Suzette, plain crêpes with orange liqueur sauce
  • Ice cream with chocolate or fruit sauce; banana split crêpe
  • Jam or fruit curd and whipped cream
  • Sautéed apples, bananas or other fruit with caramel sauce, Grand Marnier sauce, Nutella (photo #2)


    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Make Better Waffles

    BLT Waffles
    [1] BLT Wafflewich, a waffle sandwich (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers).

    Waffle Cup Salad
    [2] Waffle cups aren’t just for sundaes. Use them to hold a crisp, healthy veggie salad (photo courtesy Joy Cone Company).

    Fancy Chicken & Waffles
    [3] You can take a gourmet approach to chicken and waffles with little touches like these (photo courtesy Honey Butter Fried Chicken | Chicago).

    Smoked Salmon & Caviar Waffles

    [4] Smoked salmon on top of scallion-dill Greek yogurt. If you’re flush, add some caviar, as they do at Tsar Nicoulai.


    The ancestor of waffles dates back to the Neolithic age; the ancient Greeks invented the practice of cooking them between two hot metal plates.

    But the waffle iron we know today, with the honeycomb pattern, was invented by some nameless hero metalsmith in the 13th century. Here’s the history of waffles.

    National Waffle Day is August 24th, a good reason to enjoy a warm, fragrant, crusty waffle.

    And a good reason to go beyond the original, simple waffle with maple syrup, to some of the more creative ideas below.

    First, some tips from Krups, makers of small kitchen appliances including waffle makers, on how to make the best waffles.


    1. Read the instruction manual before plugging in the waffle iron. Unless you use your waffle iron often, brush up. You need to know more beyond pushing the ON button.

    2. Treat the batter gently. Don’t mix it too quickly or vigorously. Use a slow, even tempo to get the right consistency, or your waffles will be tough and chewy.

    3. Don’t lift the lid while the waffles cook. As tempting as it may be to peek, it lets out steam needed to fully cook the waffle.

    4. Don’t use cooking spray on your waffle iron. Instead, cover the surface lightly with vegetable oil, using a basting brush or a paper towel. You’ll get a better crust on the waffle; and perhaps more importantly, Your waffle iron will last much longer. Chemicals in the sprays can affect the surface over time, and cause even more sticking.

    American, Belgian, Brussels, Liege, Hong Kong, and more: If you’d like to know the different types of waffles, take a look.


    Some would say that any waffle is a good waffle, and we wouldn’t disagree. Others have never had anything beyond a plain waffle with maple or pecan syrup, butter and a side of bacon or sausage.

    Let us provide some inspiration:

  • Look beyond plain wheat and buttermilk waffles to the more complex and interesting world of cornmeal, multigrain and whole wheat waffles.

    Just as those breads are generally more interesting than plain white bread, you may find that you enjoy the waffles more.

  • Don’t add sugar to the batter: It’s added sugar you don’t need. You’re already topping a sweet waffle with syrup, jam, ice cream and fudge sauce or other sugar product that’s sweet enough, plus fruit.

    The analogy is toast topped with jam versus cookies topped with jam—leave the sugar out. With savory waffles, definitely use a mix that has no sugar; or mix your own. It’s just flour, baking powder, water and a pinch of salt.

  • Get creative with toppings. Let your imagination be your guide. Our list below is only the beginning for whatever inspires you. Who says you won’t invent a great barbecue beef waffle, cornmeal guacamole waffle, kimchi and shredded pork waffle, nacho waffle, pickled tongue waffle or spicy poached egg waffle? (In fact, those all sound pretty good to us right now!)


    These recipe ideas work for any meal:

  • BLT Waffle (photo #1): A regular or cornmeal waffle, topped with sliced romaine hearts, tomatoes and bacon. Serve with Caesar dressing (recipe.
  • Chicken & Waffles: A Southern classic. Generally made with a regular or buttermilk waffle, fried chicken breasts and brown gravy or sawmill gravy*. But we prefer it on a cornmeal waffle topped with a sliced grilled chicken breast, sauteed onions and peppers and a spicy gravy—add a teaspoon of Colman’s dry mustard to a basic white gravy recipe. Here are some “gourmet” chicken and waffles recipes (photo #3).
  • Ham & Cheese Waffles: A regular or whole grain waffle, with your favorite ham and cheese with dijon mustard or balsamic glaze. Or, mix balsamic glaze into regular mustard or mayonnaise)—recipe.
  • Malted Waffles:Malted Waffle: For a flavor lift, add 2-3 tablespoons of malt (the same kind you use for malted milk) to your basic recipe or mix.
  • Crunchy Nutty Waffles: Add your favorite nuts and seeds to the batter, or sprinkle them atop a plain waffle. Garnish with Greek or fruit yogurt.
  • Oatmeal-Nut Waffles: The “better for you waffle.” if there is such a thing, with whole grains and protein-packed nuts.
    Serendipity Waffle
  • Serendipity Waffles: “Serendipity” is our word for leftovers. Anything you have in the fridge can be made into an exciting waffle topped with a sauce—cheese, tomato, mushroom or your favorite gravy.
  • Smoked Salmon Waffle (photo #4): We love a cornmeal waffle topped with smoked salmon, sour cream or crème fraîche, chopped chives (onion lovers can substitute chopped red onion) and dill.
  • South-Of-The-Border Waffle: A cornmeal waffle (white or blue corn) with a small dice of jalapeños in the batter. You can serve this with maple syrup for breakfast/brunch; and with queso (cheese sauce) or a queso-salsa blend for other meals.
  • Waffle Salad Bowls (photo #2): Waffle cups are not just for sundaes. Fill them with apple slaw, Asian chicken salad, broccoli carrot slaw, carrot and raisin salad, chicken salad with grapes, shrimp salad, etc. (recipes.
  • Waffle Stew: One of the oldest embellishments for waffles is to top them with your favorite stew. Garnish with grated cheese, chopped green onions and a dab of sour cream and/or a bit of mashed potatoes. Serve with a side of colorful mixed steamed vegetables and a big salad: a great way to make leftover stew special.
  • ________________

    *Sawmill gravy is a white gravy or béchamel sauce with added bits of mild sausage or chicken liver; the roux is made from meat drippings. It is also called country gravy. See the different types of gravy.



    Top savory waffles with:

  • Eggs: eggs and bacon, Eggs Benedict, sausage and eggs.
  • Cheese: blue cheese, goat cheese, melted mozzarella or other melting cheese.
  • Chicken: fried, pulled barbecue.
  • Fish/seafood: caviar, seafood (crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp), smoked salmon and other smoked fish, with a fresh dill garnish.
  • Pizza waffles: mozzarella, ricotta, marinara and favorite toppings (don’t forget the anchovies!).
  • Paté: garnished with cornichons, redcurrant jelly, fig jam or cherry preserves.
  • Tex-Mex: avocado, black beans, black olives, corn, crema (sour cream), guacamole, red onion, salsa, shredded or crumbled cheese.
  • Sandwich fixings: BLT, ham and cheese.
  • Thanksgiving fixings: cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, turkey and gravy.
  • Vegetable: asparagus with hollandaise sauce; mushrooms, spinach and Mornay sauce (béchamel with gruyère).

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Waffles: Another great base for PB&J. Here’s the recipe.
  • Trail Mix Waffles: Top with nuts, dried fruits, coconut and granola.
  • Tricolor Chocolate Chip Waffles: Update the standard with dark, milk and white (or butterscotch, cappuccino or PB chips).
  • Wholesome Waffles: Top whole-grain waffles with nonfat yogurt, fresh fruit and nuts or seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin).

  • Candied Pecan Waffles: Top waffles with Candy roasted pecans, chopped pecans and whipped cream, syrup optional. Alternatively, you can mix the chopped nuts into the waffle batter.
  • Cheesecake Waffles: Combine two treats in one recipe.
  • Chocolate Waffles: Here’s a recipe.
  • Hot Fudge Sundae Waffles: Serve with ice cream, top-quality fudge sauce, strawberries, nuts and whipped cream.
  • Key Lime Mousse Waffles: Here’s a recipe for any citrus mousse you desire.
  • Lemon Berry Waffles: Top with lemon curd (or other fruit curd) and seasonal berries. Garnish with whipped cream and fruit sauce (either puréed berries or a fruit syrup).
  • Orange Blossom Waffles: Add mangoes, mixed berries, and nutmeg cream. Here’s the recipe.
  • Sticky Bun Sundaes: Top with cinnamon or vanilla ice cream, raisins and walnuts, garnished with a sprinkling of cinnamon and brown sugar (mixed). Add a very light drizzle of caramel sauce and whipped cream.

  • Candy: brittle, toffee chips.
  • Chocolate: chips, ice cream, syrup, shaved chocolate.
  • Cream cheese: with chocolate chips, jam.
  • Ice cream or frozen yogurt: with sundae toppings.
  • Fall & winter 1: raisins or other dried fruits, sautéed apples or bananas, maple syrup.
  • Fall & winter 2: pumpkin pie filling, whipped cream, caramelized nuts and nutmeg garnish.

    Peanut Butter & Jelly Waffles
    [5] For lunch: a PB&J wafflewich. Here’s the recipe from Cait’s Plate.

    Smores Waffles
    [6] For dessert: S’mores waffles. Here’s the recipe from Posie Harwood for King Arthur Flour).

    Banana Split Waffles
    [7] Who needs a banana split dish? Roll the ingredients in a waffle. Here’s the recipe from Krusteaz).

    Blueberry Cheesecake Waffles

    [8] Blueberry cheesecake waffles. Here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites.

  • Fruit: seasonal fresh fruit, caramelized fruit, fruit butter, fruit chutney, fruit curd, marmalade or preserves with whipped cream.
  • Fruit yogurt: with fresh fruit and fruit syrup or cinnamon syrup.
  • Sweet spreads: nut butter, Nutella, with coconut or honey and whipped cream.


    RECIPE: Grilled Peaches Or Nectarines With Ricotta

    Grilled Peaches & Ricotta
    [1] Peaches and cream, reimagined: Grilled peaches and ricotta, for breakfast, lunch or dessert (photo and recipe courtesy Good Eggs).

    Organic Stone Fruits

    [2] Organic stone fruits—nectarines, peaches and plums—from Frog Hollow Farm. They ship!


    Part of our paean to summer’s stone fruits, our tip on easy fruit tarts and our recommendation of summer fruit salads with fresh cheese, is another seasonal special:

    Grilled stone fruits with ricotta cheese.

    Use any stone fruit large enough to grill, unless you have a grilling basket or pan. If you do have one, apricots and cherries are splendid in this recipe. You can use avocado as well, or mix the types of fruit.

    Peaches and nectarines are the right size to be grilled.

  • Serve two halves for breakfast or lunch, on a bed of greens.
  • Serve one half for dessert, with optional berries and/or biscotti.

    Ingredients For 6 Or 12 Servings

    Stone fruits and ricotta are a marriage made in heaven. This recipe takes just 15 minutes from grill to plate.

    Ricotta is a mild cheese that welcomes both sweet and savory garnishes: a drizzle of honey, a grind of fresh, pepper, and/or flaky salt for a bit of crunch. You can also add raisins, nuts and/or seeds.


  • 12 peaches or nectarines, halved and pitted
  • Olive oil
  • Pinch of coarse sea salt or flavored salt (balsamic, chile, ginger, lavender, lemon, lime, rosemary, truffle)
  • 4 ounces ricotta (the best you can find)
  • 3 tablespoons quality honey or infused honey (chile, lavender, truffle, and other flavored honey)
  • Optional garnish: microgreens
  • Optional: peppermill

    1. PREHEAT the grill to medium-high heat. Toss the peaches with enough olive oil to coat, and season with sea salt or flavored salt.

    2. GRILL the peach halves cut-side-down on the grill or pan and sear them until almost blackened. If using a stovetop, cook 2 minutes, flip, and cook for another minute. If using a grill, cook for 2 minutes with the lid down, without flipping.

    3. REMOVE the peaches from the pan, let cool, and serve with a generous dollop of fresh ricotta. Top with a drizzle of honey and pinch of flaky salt. Have a peppermill on the table for those who want an added layer of flavor.

    4. GARNISH as desired, with a pinch of microgreens atop each peach.


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