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Archive for Breakfast

TIP OF THE DAY: Use Egg Molds Or Cookie Cutters For Pancakes

Whether Dad likes pancakes or fried eggs for breakfast, make Father’s Day special: Shape his breakfast with egg/pancake molds.

If you can’t pick up molds in time, you can use cookie cutters. Since they don’t have handles, you’ll need a spatula, kitchen tongs and dexterity to lift the cooked eggs.

We’ve molded:

  • Cheeses that fry without melting: halloumi (Greece), paneer (India), queso blanco or queso para frier (Mexico)
  • Chocolate, melted and shaped into a medallion for topping an iced cake
  • Dough (use the egg molds as cookie cutters in a pinch [the edge is not as sharp for cutting as a cookie cutter])
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Meat loaf
  • Rice or other grains

    We’d love to have a longer list of foods to shape with our egg/pancake molds.


    Chocolate Heart Pancakes

    Fried Egg Molds

    Top: I [heart] you, Dad (photo and recipe from The Baker Chick). Bottom: A set of molds from Neon, available on Amazon. The handles fold down for easy storage.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Sweet Or Savory French Toast

    French Toast Recipe

    French Toast Casserole

    Savory French Toast

    Top: French Toast smothered in sautéed apples (photo courtesy Peapod). Center: French Toast Casserole: even easier than regular French Toast (photo courtesy Driscoll’s). Bottom: Savory French Toast (photo courtesy Castello Cheese).


    Making perfectly round pancakes is not among our cooking skills. Long before we discovered the gadget known as a pancake batter dispenser, we’d switched to the easier and foolproof French Toast: eggs, milk, white bread or challah, and a pinch of cinnamon.

    Even easier is Baked French Toast (center photo), also known as French Toast Casserole and French Toast Soufflé. Place slices of bread in a baking dish, pour the egg-milk mixture on top, and bake. The benefits: it’s neater (no soaking the bread by hand), all servings are ready at once, and it looks elegant when brought to the table.

    Here’s a recipe that elevates French Toast, substituting brioche for regular bead and sweetened condensed and evaporated milks for whole milk. You can fry it in a pan or bake it in a casserole dish. Yummers!

    Today we recommend two special recipes for Father’s Day: a sweet French Toast with sautéed apples (“Apple Pie French Toast”—top photo) and French Toast with a variety of savory toppings (bottom photo).


    The dish known in the U.S. as French Toast has roots at least as far back as ancient Rome, where it was a sweet dish. Pain perdu (lost bread), the modern French name for the dish, was once called pain à la romaine, Roman bread.

    You may read elsewhere that that French Toast was a food of the poor, a way to scrape together a meal from stale bread*. However, recipes from ancient and medieval times denote that it was fare for wealthy people.

    Those recipes used white bread, a luxury, with the crusts cut off (even more of a luxury). Costly ingredients such as spices (cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg), sugar and almond milk are found in numerous recipes. The cooked bread was topped with costly honey or sugar. And cookbooks themselves were the province of the privileged: Only wealthy people and clergy learned to read.

    Poor people ate brown bread, much cheaper because the wheat endosperm did not have to be milled and painstakingly hand-sifted through screens to create refined white flour. (Ironically, this whole wheat bread was more nutritious.)

    It’s easy to toss fresh berries onto French Toast. We also like diced mango.

    But for an Apple-Pie-Meets-French-Toast effect, make a quick cooked fruit topping. You can make the topping a day in advance, set it on the counter to warm to room temperature as you make the French Toast, and give it a quick zap in the microwave.

    You can substitute two cups of bananas, blueberries, cherries, peaches, pineapple, etc. for the apples.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon butter (more as needed)
  • 3 large apples (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, etc.), peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes (yields 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • Preparation

    1. MELT the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat; add the apples, cinnamon and salt. Cook for 5-6 minutes until tender, then stir in the maple syrup. If you prefer very soft apples, cook them for 10-12 minutes before adding the maple syrup.

    2. COOK for 1 minute more. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

    Ditch the maple syrup or other sweet condiments. Even if you like sweet French Toast, you’ll like it savory, too.

    Here’s the basic recipe, topped with sautéed cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmesan. Our favorite variations:

  • Blue cheese and sautéed apple slices with a pinch of thyme to garnish
  • Feta and Kalamata olives with an oregano garnish
  • Ham and cheese French Toast sandwich
  • Sautéed onions and chicken livers with a pinch of sage (Dad’s favorite)
  • Smoked salmon, caviar and crème fraîche with a pinch of dill (Mom’s favorite)
    *The poor used stale bread for crostini (toast) or topped it with soup (the dish was originally called “sops,” referring to the bread or toast used to sop up the hot food), stew or melted cheese (a “Welsh Rabbit”) to soften the bread and make a meal.



    TIP OF THE DAY: A Look At “Gourmet” Chicken & Waffles

    Chicken & Waffles, originally a hearty breakfast, can be had any time of the day in modern times.

    With counterpoints of crisp and soft, salty and sweet, it became a special occasion dish of Southern soul food cuisine. It’s still a special-occasion dish: one that many people enjoy on Father’s Day. You can make a traditional waffle, topped with butter, a piece of fried chicken and a pour of maple syrup.

    Or you can get inspiration from chefs whose re-interpretations are shown in the photos in this article—including Steak & Waffles (recipe below).

    Who created the first Chicken & Waffles? The exact origins are lost to history, but here’s what we know:

  • Waffles are an ancient food, dating back to the rustic hotcakes cooked on stones in the Neolithic Age (6000 B.C.E. to ca. 2000 B.C.E.).
  • In ancient Greece (1100 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E.), cooks made flat cakes, called obleios (wafers), between two hot metal plates. They were primarily savory in nature, flavored with cheeses and herbs.
  • By the Middle Ages, Middle Ages (400 C.E. to 1000 C.E.) obloyeurs—specialist waffle cooks—make different types of oublies, as the word has evolved from the Greek. In the 12th century a clever obloyeur made an iron cast of a pattern that mimicked a honeycomb—which remains the waffle design today. Soon after, the word gaufre, from the Old French wafla meaning “a piece of honeybee hive,” became the French word for waffle.
  • Waffles entered American cuisine in the 1600s with the arrival of Dutch colonists.
  • Thomas Jefferson brought the first waffle iron to America in 1789 (along with the first pasta machine), when he returned to Virginia following his service as Minister to France. Waffles became a fashionable food—an alternative to flapjacks—and the combination began appearing in cookbooks shortly thereafter [source]. The pairing was enthusiastically embraced by slaves, for whom chicken was a delicacy. As a result, Chicken & Waffles became a special meal, often served for Sunday breakfast before a long day in church. However…
  • The recipe does not appear in early Southern cookbooks, such as “Mrs. Porter’s Southern Cookery Book,” published in 1871 and “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,” published in 1881 by former slave Abby Fisher, generally considered the first cookbook written by an African American. The lack of a recipe for the combination of chicken and waffles in Southern cookbooks from the era may suggest a later origin for the dish.
  • In the early 1800s, hotels and resorts around Philadelphia served waffles with fried catfish. Such establishments also served other dishes including fried chicken, which gradually became the topper of choice due to catfish’s limited, seasonal availability.
  • The Pennsylvania Dutch version is a plain waffle topped with pulled, stewed chicken and covered in gravy. It was a common Sunday dish by the 1860s. By the end of the 19th century, the dish was a symbol of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
  • Waffles at home: In 1909, an ad for Griswold’s Waffle Iron promised, “You can attend a chicken and waffle supper right at home any time you have the notion if you are the owner of a Griswold’s American Waffle Iron.”

    Chicken &  Mini Waffles

    Gourmet Chicken & Waffles

    Chicken & Waffles & A Fried Egg

    Top: Fried chicken with mini waffles at Chicago’s Honey Buttered Fried Chicken. Center: A gourmet approach at the Lazy Bear in San Francisco: Gaufres de Chasse, a Liege-style waffle cut into fingers, with fried game hen, Sauce Chasseur, maple syrup, nameko mushrooms and fines herbes. Bottom: Chicken & Waffles with a fried egg at Hearthstone Kitchen.

  • Chicken & Waffles was an established dish in Harlem’s African-American community by 1930.
    Here’s the full history of waffles.


    Chicken & Stuffed Waffles

    Chicken & Waffles

    Steak & Waffles

    Top: A nod to Pennsylvania Dutch-style Chicken & Waffles: a stuffed waffle topped with adobo pulled chicken. Here’s the recipe from Center: Classic Chicken & Waffles with a side of peaches and cream (photo Arnold Inuyaki | Wikipedia). Bottom: Steak & Waffles from



    We found scant information on an International Chicken & Waffles Day: the first Friday following the first Thursday in October. It seems to have been established for fun in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and not exactly an official holiday.

    And, it may have been abandoned: Founded in 2003, the website,, has been abandoned; and the Facebook page, established in 2011, hasn’t been updated since 2014.

    If you have any news about International Chicken & Waffles Day, let us know! You can plan your Chicken & Waffles celebrations around:

  • International Waffle Day, March 25
  • Maple Syrup Saturday, the 3rd Saturday in March
  • National Chicken Month, September
  • National Fried Chicken Day, July 6
  • National Maple Syrup Day, December 17
  • National Waffle Day, August 24
  • National Waffle Week, the first week in September


    This recipe, from The Beef Checkoff, makes enough for a big party (24 servings). The waffles are stuffed with blue cheese. It’s a home run!
    For The Batter

  • 6 cups prepared waffle batter
  • 1½ tablespoons dried tarragon
  • 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Plus

  • 24 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • Top quality blue cheese salad dressing* (see Step 4 under Preparation)
    For The Demi-Glace

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup shallots, minced
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar
  • 6 cups veal demi-glace
  • 6 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
    For The Steak

  • 24 ribeye cap steaks (8 ounce portions)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Grapeseed oil, as needed
  • 24 cups Swiss chard, wilted

    1. COMBINE all batter ingredients. Mix together and refrigerate, covered.

    2. PREPARE the demi-glace: In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the vinegar and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the demi-glace and bring to a boil. Whisk in the mustard, reduce the heat and simmer 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

    3. COOK the steaks: Season with salt and pepper. You can then sauté or grill them. To sauté, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a sauté pan until hot. Add the steak; sear on both sides until well browned. Place in a 500°F oven and cook to medium rare or desired doneness. Carve across the grain into thick slices.

    4. MAKE the waffles: Using a waffle iron outfitted with the mini waffle plate (4 waffles per plate), ladle ¼ cup waffle batter into 2 sections of the waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s directions. Remove the waffles and immediately push in the center of each waffle with a spoon, to create a small well. Fill with 1 ounce of blue cheese and sandwich the waffles together, making sure the waffle depressions line up so it fits back into the iron. Place the waffle sandwich in the waffle iron and cook 1 minute or until cheese is melted.

    Editor’s note: We took a much easier route with Step 4, making a waffle sandwich from two regular-size waffles. We filled the sandwich with our favorite blue cheese salad dressing*, topped with crumbled blue cheese. We cut the sandwich in half diagonally, set one half on the plate and propped the other perpendicular to the first.

    5. PLACE 1 cup of Swiss chard in the center of a plate; fan the sliced steak on top. Place a stuffed waffle on top of the steak; ladle the demi-glace on and around it.

    *Our all-time favorite is the amazing blue cheese dressing from Kathryn’s Cottage Kitchen. But it’s hard to find (here’s the store locator) and expensive to ship. We buy a year’s supply at a time! If you don’t want to make your own (here’s a recipe), look for __ Among the mass brands, Wishbone Blue Cheese is the best.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Prep Eggs The Night Before To Save Time

    Scrambled Eggs In Tortilla Cups

    Pepperjack Cheese

    Top: Mexican Scrambled Eggs In Tortilla Cups (photo Land O’Lakes). Bottom: Add more heat with Pepperjack cheese (photo Paoli Cheese).


    We often make a vegetable scramble for breakfast, to a proportion of half egg, half veggie. Bell peppers, mushrooms and onions are our basic mix, along with fresh herbs and halved cherry tomatoes.

    It’s easy to prep the night before. You can dice the vegetables and beat the eggs in just a few minutes. If you want to add cheese, you can dice, grate or shred it the night before, too.

    Then, while the coffee brews, heat the pan, combine the ingredients, and voilà.

    When we have extra time, we make something more elaborate, like these Mexican-inspired scrambled eggs in tortilla cups—a crowd pleaser.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 seven-to-eight-inch tortillas (try whole wheat!)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 8 eggs (or 2 cups/16 ounces egg substitute)*
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar, Jack or Pepperjack† cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • Optional: minced jalapeño or chili flakes to taste
  • Optional garnish: 1/4 cup sour cream (or substitute nonfat Greek yogurt)
  • Optional garnish: 4 teaspoons salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • Optional: fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped


    1. HEAT the oven to 400°F. Place four 6-ounce custard cups upside down on a cookie sheet. Lightly spray both sides of the tortillas with nonstick cooking spray. Place the tortillas over the custard cups, pressing down lightly to shape.

    2. BAKE 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tortillas are light golden brown. Remove from the oven and place the cups upright on a cooling rack. Meanwhile…

    3. SPRAY a 10-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Scramble the eggs with the vegetables and seasonings and cook over medium heat. As the eggs begin to set, sprinkle on the cheese. Alternatively, you can sprinkle on the cheese after the eggs are in the tortilla cups. Cook until the eggs are set but still moist.

    4. PLACE the tortilla cups on plates and fill them with the eggs. Top each with sour cream and salsa. Sprinkle with green onions and the herbs.
    *Most recipes assume large eggs; it is the size of the egg that makes the difference: 2 medium eggs =1/3 cup, 2 large eggs = ½ cup, 3 medium eggs + ½ cup, 3 large eggs = 2/3 cup. 4 large eggs = 1 cup.

    †If you use Pepperjack, you don’t need the added chiles.



    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).



  • 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


    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 Bottom: Even better, a Blood Orange Mimosa (photo courtesy



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


    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.


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

    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 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.



    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.

    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)

    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

    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.



    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:


    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.



    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

    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


    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.


  • 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.

    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.

  • 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.


    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…

  • 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.

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


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


    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 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.



    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!


    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.


    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

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


    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.



    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


    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


  • 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.


    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.

    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 Bottom: How about Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal? Here’s the recipe from

  • 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

    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)

    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.



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