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Archive for Breakfast

TIP OF THE DAY: Quick Microwaved Mug-Scrambled Eggs

Mug Scrambled Eggs

Mug-scrambled eggs, ready in less than three minutes. Photo courtesy American
Egg Board.

 

You should start the day off with a protein-based breakfast. Many of us don’t, opting for toast, a bagel or a bowl of Corn Flakes. Yet, you can have a better-for-you breakfast of scrambled eggs, without turning on the stove.

For a quick and easy breakfast in less than 3 minutes, try this microwave egg scramble from the American Egg Board, IncredibleEgg.org.

Just toss the ingredients into a mug! Prep time is 1 minute, cook time is 2 minutes. You can even prepare the mixture the night before, cutting your morning time to

To blend the ingredients, you’ll need a mini whisk or an Aerolatte or other milk frother. However, in a pinch, a fork will do.

RECIPE: MICROWAVED MUG SCRAMBLED EGGS

Ingredients Per Serving

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Optional: minced fresh or dried herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnishes: 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
    or salsa
  • Preparation

    1. COAT a 12-ounce, microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray. Add the eggs, milk, herbs and salt and pepper to taste; beat or whisk until blended.

    2. MICROWAVE on HIGH 45 seconds; stir. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer. Note: Microwave ovens vary. Cooking times may need to be adjusted.

    3. TOP with cheese and/or salsa; season with salt and pepper.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: A Delicious Vegetable Mix At Breakfast (Ratatouille)

    Fried Egg Ratatouille

    ratatouille-theformerchef-230r

    You can dice your ratatouille fine or chunky.
    A fine dice is a better base for the egg,
    crostini, etc.; a larger dice is better as a side
    dish. Top photo courtesy Elegant Affairs
    Caterers. Bottom photo courtesy
    TheFormerChef.com.

     

    Nutritionists expend lots of effort to get their clients to achieve nutrition goals. Americans are major under-consumers of vegetables.

    There are numerous ways to add good vegetables into every meal (fried onion rings don’t count!) You don’t have to twist our arm to adopt this one: ratatouille at breakfast.

    WHAT IS RATATOUILLE

    Ratatouille (rah-tah-TOO-ee) is a vegetable side dish that originated in the Provence region of France. The classic recipe consists of sautéed eggplant, onions, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini plus garlic and herbs.

    Sometimes, each vegetable is sautéed separately, then layered into a baking dish and baked. Modern recipes make it easier: We fully sauté groups of vegetables with similar densities, combine them and don’t bake them. can customize the dish as you like—for example, with bell peppers, celery, fennel, olives, onions and yellow squash.

    There are similar dishes in other Mediterranean countries, including tourlou or briami in Greek cuisine, türlü in Turkish cuisine, samfaina in Catalonia and in ciambotta in southern Italy.

    OUR FAVORITE RATATOUILLE RECIPE

    We misplaced our nana’s ratatouille recipe card; but the recipe below, adapted from TheFormerChef.com, looks almost identical.

    Ratatouille is delightfully colorful when you use red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers and tomatoes/cherry tomatoes.

    Regarding the tomatoes: Ratatouille has traditionally been a summer dish, when tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash are plentiful. While you can find decent squash in the off season, imported tomatoes can be both pricey and lacking in flavor. You can substitute cherry, grape or sundried tomatoes; or use diced canned San Marzano tomatoes. Canned tomatoes don’t need to be sautéed; just drain them and add them to the final heating.

     
    TIP: Don’t throw away the liquid you drain off. You can freeze it into ice cubes for Bloody Marys, or add a bit of gin, tequila or vodka for a mini cocktail treat.
     
    RECIPE: RATATOUILLE

    We make double recipes and microwave the ratatouille (or other sautéed vegetables) from the fridge while the eggs are cooking.

    Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onions diced (about 1.5 large onions)
  • 1 6 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
  • 3 cups bell peppers (1 each, red, yellow, green), diced
  • 8 cups zucchini and yellow squash, large diced
  • 6 cups eggplant (about 1.5 lbs), diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped and seeded as necessary
  • 3 6 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, basil, thyme)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ground coriander fennel seeds
  • Optional garnish: capers or caperberries (the difference*)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet†, over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

    2. RETURN the pan to the heat and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add them to the onions and bell peppers.

    3. Return the pan to the heat and add the final 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the eggplant and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of water; the eggplant will absorb all the oil very quickly and the water will help it cook before it burns. When the water is absorbed and the eggplant begins to soften (about 5 more minutes), add the chopped tomatoes to the eggplant.

    4. COOK the tomatoes until they start to break down and the eggplant is soft, but not mushy. Add the rest of the vegetables back into the pan, folding it all together with a large spoon.

    5. Cook for another 5 minutes and add the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Don’t overcook; you want the flavors to remain fresh and distinct. Plus, if you plan to reheat the ratatouille at a later time, it will cook more then.
     
    __________________________________________
    *Capers are the flower bud of the caper bush, Capparis spinosa. Caperberries are the fruit with seeds inside. Both are brined and thus contribute saltiness as well as flavor to dishes. They are members of the same botanical order as cruciferous vegetables, Brassicales, but a different family.

    †While the pans can usually be used interchangeably, a skillet or frying pan has slanted sides and a sauté pan has straight sides. A skillet has a larger bottom surface area, and its straight sides are better for making an omelet or frittata—even though you may see slope-sided pans marketed as “omelet pans.”

     

    RECIPE VARIATIONS

  • Serve with a poached or soft-boiled egg instead of a fried egg.
  • Mix the vegetables into an omelet or scrambled eggs.
  • Add with cooked eggs to a breakfast burrito or pita breakfast sandwich.
  • Combine eggs and toast: Make ratatouille crostini (toast topped with ratatouille topped with the egg).
  •  
    SUBSTITUTES FOR RATATOUILLE

    Serve any of the following, and don’t hesitate to mix them together.

  • Any leafy green vegetable(s), such as kale, spinach and/or watercress.
  • Shredded Brussels sprouts.
  • Sautéed cherry or grape tomatoes, halved.
  • Cauliflower steak.
  • Sautéed mushrooms.
  • Sweet potato or purple potato hash with beets and leeks (or default to white potatoes).
  •  
    OTHER THINGS TO DO WITH RATATOUILLE

    Ratatouille is a side dish that’s great with grilled fish or seafood on Meatless Monday, or as a side anytime with grilled or roasted beef, chicken, lamb or pork. But you can also:

  • Us it as a topping for pancakes or waffles—savory instead of sweet.
  • Serve it as a vegan main course with a whole grain, couscous‡, polenta, beans or legumes.
  • Use it to top bruschetta, crostini (the difference) or flatbread.
  • Use it instead of tomato sauce, chunky or puréed, on pasta, grains and other dishes.
  • Use as a topping for burgers, grilled cheese and other sandwiches.
  • Use the purée as a base for vegetable soup (add broth to desired consistency.
  •  

    Fried Egg On Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

    Fried Eggs On Toast

    Top photo: Go cruciferous: Place your egg atop sautéed Brussels sprouts, collards or mustard greens. At Olio e Piú | NYC, the Brussels sprouts are mixed with radicchio. Bottom photo: Combine the toast and eggs into ratatouille crostini, or as shown above, with asparagus in season. Photo courtesy Urban Accents.

     
    We’re off to make breakfast: ratatouille and fried eggs (no surprise).
    ___________________________________
    ‡You can find whole grain couscous; but most supermarket products are not whole grain.

      

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    RECIPE: Bacon & Sweet Potato Biscuits

    Bacon Biscuits

    Cooked & Raw Bacon

    TOP PHOTO: Bacon and sweet potato biscuits from PorkBeInspired.com. BOTTOM PHOTO: When you cook bacon for the biscuits, you can make extra for your eggs.

     

    Is there a better breakfast bread than warm biscuits? This recipe, from PorkBeInspired.com, seems especially right for Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings. If you want, you can use a biscuit mix instead of combining everything from scratch.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 45 minutes. Split leftover biscuits in half horizontally and add sliced ham or other sandwich fixings.

    RECIPE: BACON & SWEET POTATO BISCUITS WITH HONEY BUTTER

    Ingredients For 12 Biscuits
     
    For The Biscuits

  • 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium or 2 small orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (14 to 16 ounces total), peeled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder*
  • 1 tablespoon sugar*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda*
  • 1 teaspoon salt*
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
  • 1 cup buttermilk (regular or lowfat)
  •  
    For The Honey Butter

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt
  •  
    *You can substitute the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt for 3 cups of biscuit mix.
     
    Preparation

    1. WRAP the sweet potato with a damp paper towel and microwave on high until very soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, mash with a potato masher and set aside to cool. Meanwhile…

    2. COOK the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, then set aside to cool. Carefully set aside 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from the skillet.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    4. COMBINE the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and allspice in a food processor, and pulse a few times. Add the cubed butter and pulse to make a coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and gently mix in the bacon, buttermilk and 1 cup of the mashed sweet potato (save any remaining potato for another use—including folding into an omelet to go with the biscuits).

    5. TRANSFER the mixture to a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a dough. Pat the dough to about 1-inch thick, then gently fold in half. Gently repeat 4 more times. Roll the dough out to 3/4-inch thick, then use a floured 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut dough into biscuits, arranging them on the prepared baking sheet. Gather the scraps and repeat to make a total of 12 biscuits. Bake until the biscuits are browned and a tester comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. While the biscuits bake…

    6. COMBINE the softened butter, honey, and reserved bacon drippings, mixing until smooth. Add salt to taste. Serve the biscuits with the honey butter on the side.

     
      

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    INNOVATION: A New Way To Enjoy Breakfast Cereal

    What’s new in breakfast? How about some of America’s favorite breakfast cereals, served with spicy Chinese food? It’s a unique fusion experience, and it’s DEE-licious!

    The concept is a joint venture between Kellogg’s and innovative Chinese chef Danny Bowien.

    Chef Danny is a James Beard Rising Star Chef Award winner, chef/co-founder of the acclaimed restaurants Mission Chinese Food in New York and San Francisco and Mission Cantina in New York, and co-author of The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook.

    Danny worked with Kellogg’s to create original approaches to breakfast cereal, combining American cereal with popular Chinese dishes from his menu. We were lucky enough to be invited to taste his creations (just $6 each!). They’re a revelation, and an inspiration for all of us to create our own innovative cereal combinations.

    The result:

    The marriage of familiar and unexpected flavors, the sweet and crunchy Kellogg’s cereals with the soft and spicy Mission Chinese cuisine, is a winner! We loved every one.

    In fact, we went home and re-created Danny’s pairings as best we could, with the ingredients we had on hand. Since all the thinking had been done for us, it was pretty easy, although with a less refined result than the master’s.!

    The limited-time specialty breakfast menu is available from December 18th to 20th; proceeds (with a minimum donation of $25,000) will benefit The Bowery Mission, which provides meals to homeless men and women in New York City.

     
    THE BREAKFAST MENU: 5 NEW & NIFTY COMBINATIONS

    Each pairing is a conventional cereal course, accompanied by a Chinese dish.
     
    Corn Flakes + Westlake Rice Porridge

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, yogurt and berries.
    Paired With: Westlake Rice Porridge, essentially the wonderful Chinese dish of congee with chunks of oxtail meat, Dungeness crab and a soft-cooked egg.
    Our Home Version: Corn Flakes, yogurt, berries, Cream Of Rice cereal with a swirl of sriracha.
     
    Corn Pops + Thrice Cooked Bacon

     

    Westlake Rice Porridge With Corn Flakes

    Kellogg's Mini Wheats With Cashew Butter

    Frosted Flakes With Matcha Milk

    TOP PHOTO: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes with rice porridge (congee). MIDDLE PHOTO: Kellogg’s Mini Wheats with cashew butter and persimmon jelly. BOTTOM PHOTO: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes with matcha powder, matcha milk and matcha noodles. Photos courtesy Mission Chinese Food.

     
    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Corn Pops with bacon-infused soy milk, topped with a fried egg.
    Paired With: Thrice cooked bacon with stir-fried rice cakes, bitter melon and chili paste.
    Our Home Version: Corn Pops, bacon and eggs with chili paste-braised tofu (alas, we had no rice cakes).
     
    Frosted Flakes + Green Tea Noodles

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes dusted with matcha (green tea powder).
    Paired With: A carafe of matcha-infused milk and a side of matcha noodles.
    Our Home Version: Frosted Flakes dusted with matcha, green tea soy milk and angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil and matcha “pesto.”
     
    Frosted Mini Wheats & Beef Jerky Fried Rice

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats on a bed of cashew butter and persimmon jam.
    Paired With: Beef Jerky Fried Rice, peanut-infused milk and a scattering of roasted peanuts.
    Our Home Version: Mini Wheats with peanut butter and fig jam. Next time we’ll make cashew fried rice to go with it.
     
    Raisin Bran + Mapo Tofu

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran quickly braised in warm almond milk, agave and lime.
    Paired With: Spicy Mapo Tofu—tofu set in a spicy chili-based sauce.
    Our Home Version: Raisin Bran with more of the chili paste-braised tofu and a squeeze of lime juice.
     

    For more ideas on how you can innovate with cereal, visit the Kellogg’s site StirUpBreakfast.com.

    Our fondest wish: that this breakfast menu gets a regular gig.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Christmas Pancakes

    Orange Cranberry Pancakes

    Artisan Maple Syrup

    Top photo: These festive pancakes taste great even if you don’t stack them. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar. Bottom photo: Start with quality maple syrup and turn it into cranberry-maple syrup. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    We love this festive pancake recipe for the holidays, from Zulka Sugar. It incorporates an array of holiday flavors: cinnamon, cranberry, orange and maple.

    The pancakes and syrup are made from scratch, so it’s a weekend or vacation day recipe in our home.

    RECIPE: ORANGE CINNAMON PANCAKES WITH CRANBERRY MAPLE SYRUP

    Ingredients
     
    For the Pancakes

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Zest from 2 oranges (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cool
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    For the Cranberry Syrup

  • 1½ cups fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange zest in a large bowl; whisk to combine.

    2. WHISK the eggs in a small bowl, then add the buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla extract. Add the cooled melted butter and stir again to combine. Add the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes.

    3. MAKE the syrup: Combine 1 cup of the cranberries, the maple syrup, sugar, orange juice and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 2 minutes. When the cranberries start to pop open, use a spoon to smash some of them against the side of the pan.

    4. COMBINE the cornstarch and a little water in a small bowl, just enough water to make the cornstarch liquid. Pour this into the syrup and bring it back to a boil for one minute. Add the remaining cranberries, turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep warm.

     

    Cranberry Pancakes Stack

    A stack of festive pancakes for the holidays. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    5. PREHEAT a griddle and grease with butter or coconut oil. Pour 1/3 cup batter for each pancake and cook 2-3 minutes or until the pancakes are covered in bubbles and edges are starting to look done. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook another 1-2 minutes or until browned slightly. Keep the pancakes warm and repeat with remaining batter.

    6. SERVE: Place a few pancakes on a plate with 1/3 cup of the cranberry syrup. Serve hot.
     
    ABOUT ZULKA SUGAR

    Zulka sugars are minimally processed from freshly-harvested sugar cane. They are not refined, which helps preserve the fresh flavor and natural properties of the sugar cane. You can taste the difference in a cup of tea.

    Zulka makes granulated, confectioners’ (powdered/10x sugar) and brown sugars. Here’s more about Zulka.

      

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    FOOD FUN: A New Take On French Toast

    French Toast Nuggets

    Not the same old French Toast. Photo courtesy Fabrick | NYC.

     

    November 28th is National French Toast Day, so have fun with it.

    At Fabrick, a fine restaurant restaurant in New York City, part of the culinary journey is food fun. Almost everything on the menu offers a new take on the traditional.

    For French Toast, it’s nuggets.

    The French Toast is cooked and cut into squares, which are:

  • Served with maple caramel (plain maple syrup is not fun)
  • In a bamboo steamer, usually used to steam and serve Chinese dumplings (a plain plate is no fun)
  • With fresh berries (little bites of fun?)
  •  
    How would you turn French Toast into fun?
     
    MORE FOR NATIONAL FRENCH TOAST DAY

  • The history of French Toast.
  • Savory French Toast recipes: It’s not all maple syrup and berries.
  •  

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies From Quaker Oats

    Original Quaker Canister

    Quaker Old Fashioned Oats Canister

    TOP PHOTO: What Great-Great Grandmother
    would have purchased. BOTTOM PHOTO:
    Today’s canister reminds us that oatmeal is a
    heart-healthy food. Photos courtesy Quaker
    Oats.

     

    One hundred years ago, Quaker introduced the now-iconic cylinder package for Old Fashioned Quaker Oats. The cylindrical package was a first in the industry. While the packaging design has been updated, the round canister can still be found on store shelves today.

    The Quaker Mill Company of Ravenna, Ohio, was founded in 1877 by Henry Parsons Crowell, who purchased the bankrupt Quaker Oat Mill Company there.

    Canned foods were a hot new trend in 1915, and Crowell noticed the public’s growing appetite for colorful, conveniently sized packaging. He began to sell his oats in distinctive round cardboard cartons. At the time, many groceries, including cereal grains, were sold in bulk from barrels.

    Today the The Quaker Oats Company sells more than 350 million pounds of oatmeal annually, and some 120 million canisters are produced at its Cedar Rapids plant.

    Quaker also lays claim as the first to feature a recipe on packaging: Oatmeal Bread, in 1891. In 1908, the brand introduced the first cookie recipe on a package: Oat Cakes.

    In 1922, the company introduced Quaker Quick Oats, one of America’s first convenience products. It can be swapped for Quaker Old Fashioned Oats in baking recipes.

    In 1966, Quaker Instant Oatmeal pouches debuted to help people keep pace with a busy, on-the-go lifestyle. Cup packaging debuted in 2000, to portable eating even easier. Earlier this year, Quaker launched Quick 3-Minute Steel Cut Oats.

    Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies recipe remains a consumer favorite. As of 2015, it’s been on the Old Fashioned Oats canister for 20 years. The recipe is below.

    A food conglomerate headquartered in Chicago, it has been owned by PepsiCo since 2001.

     
    RECIPE: QUAKER VANISHING OATMEAL COOKIES

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 8 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Dozen Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups Quaker Oats (Old Fashioned or Quick Oats, uncooked)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts
  • Raisins substitute: 1 cup dried cherries, cranberries or diced mixed fruit
  • Raisins substitute: 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips; omit the cinnamon
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add the combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add the oats and raisins; mix well.

    2. DROP the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to a wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

    3. HIGH ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Increase the flour to 1-3/4 cups and bake as directed.
     
    For Bar Cookies

    1. PRESS the dough onto bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

     

    Quaker Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    For 20 years, the recipe for these Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies has been on the box of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats. Photo courtesy Quaker.

     
    2. CUT into bars. Store tightly covered. Yield: 24 bars.
     
    TIPS FROM QUAKER

  • Use an empty Quaker Oats canister as the “gift box” for cookie gifting.
  • For the holidays, consider Oatmeal Gingerbread Cookies.
  •   

    Comments

    BEST BRUNCH: UrbanSpace Vanderbilt

    Head to UrbanSpace Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Avenue and 45th Street in Manhattan. It’s the block north of Grand Central Terminal, and our new favorite food hall.

    Its parent company, Urbanspace, “cultivates creatively rich environments, places where local makers collaborate, exchange ideas, and showcase their wares.”

    Why run all over New York City to find what’s hot and trending when here, in one space, some 20 food artisans sell their wares?

    We were one of a group of lucky food writers who were invited to taste a sample from every boutique for weekend brunch.

    And what a brunch it was: a memorable buffet of delicious, modern casual fare that can accommodate almost anyone’s diet (mainstream, Paleo, vegan and vegetarian).

    In fact, if we were planning a wedding or other big party, we’d rent out the entire space and let our guests go from bay to bay, assembling their ideal feast.

    Here’s what we had. We’re leaving out the adjectives because everything listed would get a superlative. Alas, we filled up to bursting before we could taste everything that was served, so apologies to those we didn’t get to. We shall return.
     
    WHAT WE ATE…AND ATE…AND ATE

  • Asia Dog, hot dogs with Asian-inspired toppings, which also has stands at Brooklyn Flea, Madison Square Eats and Smorgasburg. For breakfast, though, they substituted banana yogurt with fresh fruit, gluten-free granola and almonds for a kimchi-topped dog.
  • Hong Kong Street Cart: assorted dumplings. These are a nice warm-up (no pun intended) to anything else you have.
  • La Palapa Taco, an outpost of a Mexican restaurant in the West Village. Hibiscus Rose Sangria Slushy and a Chilquiles Verdes Taco with grilled steak, tomatillo salsa, queso fresco and crema.
  • Maiden Lane from the East Village, specializing in creative casual fare with fine European tinned seafood. For breakfast/brunch we had the Lower Eastsider: cured salmon, cream cheese, pickled red onion and fresh dill on an “everything” bagel. We can’t wait to go back for the whitefish salad and the rest.
  •  
    AND MORE

       

    Currant Rosemary Scones From Ovenly

    Tomato, Sausage & Sage Pizza

    TOP PHOTO: Scones from Ovenly. BOTTOM PHOTO: Tomato, Sausage & Sage Pizza from Roberta’s. Photo by Deirdre Schoo.

  • Mayhem & Stout, a sandwich spot in Murray Hill that specializes in creative braised meat combinations with house-made condiments. We had the Apple Cider Mimosa and the Featured Mashup (see below).
  • Ovenly, a coffee shop and bakery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that we’ve always wanted to go to. We had Currant-Rosemary and Cheddar-Mustard Scones with butter and jam; and gluten-free honey granola with local-made yogurt. We bought a piece of Blackout Cake to take home.
  • Red Hook Lobster Pound, a casual seafood restaurant in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, with other locations plus food truck. We downed the Lobster Bloody Mary, garnished with a ready-to-eat lobster claw; but by the time the Lobster Cheese Fries arrived, we couldn’t eat another bite of anything. We’ll go back for them, along with a lobster roll.
  • Roberta’s Pizza, headquartered in East Williamsburg, served a Speck & Egg Pizza with mozzarella, mushrooms, speck (a type of prosciutto), onions and oregano; the egg was baked on top. We’ll be back for the L’il Stinker and the Cheeses Christ pizzas.
  • Sips & Bites, a Brooklyn café that serves American favorites with flare, dished up a Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich with fresh ricotta, truffle honey, bacon and pink peppercorns.
  • Takumi Taco, Japanese-inspired Mexican food in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, served a breakfast burrito: scrambled eggs, black and pinto beans, chorizo, avocado, cheese and tomatillo salsa. We can’t wait to go back for the spicy tuna tacos.
  • Toby’s Estate, a coffee boutique in the West Village and Brooklyn, served up the best cup of coffee I’ve had in a long time: Single Origin Kenya Chania, brewed to order. Other single origins and blends are available, including decaf.
  • Two Tbsp, a vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free street food vendor currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to fund its first permanent location.
  •  
    AND MORE
    There’s also a Featured Mashup, when two vendors collaborate on a dish. This month, Dough Donuts and Mayhem & Stout created a Pulled Pork Glazed Doughnut, the hefty glazed donut generously topped with pulled pork and served with a house-made barbecue sauce and maple brown sugar hot sauce.

    Here we have to use an adjective: memorable.

     

    Pulled Pork Glazed Donut

    Deconstructed Nicoise Salad

    TOP PHOTO: Pulled Pork Glazed Donut. Photo
    courtesy Mayhem & Stout. BOTTOM PHOTO:
    Deconstructed Niçoise Salad. Photo courtesy
    Maiden Lane.

     

    WHERE & WHEN TO GO

    UrbanSpace Vanderbilt is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily:

  • 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • 11 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  •  
    The address is 230 Park Avenue (the Helmsley Building), but don’t look for an entrance there. The entrance is on Vanderbilt Avenue between 45th and 46th Street.

    Go to 45th or 46th Street and head to Vanderbilt, which is east of Madison Avenue and west of Lexington Avenue. Lost? Call 212-529-9262.

    This is part of the annoying New York real estate developer habit of using the most prestigious address allowable by the Buildings Department, even though there’s no entrance at that address (it’s around the corner on a less-prestigiously-named street). You won’t find any door to the Helmsley Building on Park Avenue, either. The entrance is on East 45th Street.

    In a neighborhood where premium casual fare is hard to find, UrbanSpace Vanderbilt is a welcome addition:

  • For everyone who works in the area.
  • For people who need to meet around Grand Central.
  • For guests at all the local hotels.
  • For foodies looking for a cornucopia of riches.
  •  
    The place was packed!

     

      

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    RECIPE: Pumpkin-Apple French Toast

    For seasonal brunching, we like this Pumpkin-Apple French Toast by Serena Wolf of the blog Domesticate-Me, sent to us by grocery delivery service Peapod.com.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.

    This recipe works best with slightly stale (day-old) bread.For a richer French toast, replace half of the milk with half-and-half. If you don’t want to use butter, substitute coconut milk.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN-APPLE FRENCH TOAST

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The French Toast

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin purée (unseasoned)
  • 1 cup milk (substitute unsweetened almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 4 1¼-inch slices brioche or challah
  • Butter for frying
  •    

    Apple French Toast

    Pumpkin French toast topped with sautéed cinnamon apples. Photo courtesy Domesticate Me | Peapod.

     

    For The Apple Topping

  • 1 tablespoon or butter
  • 3 apples (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp or mix), peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  •  

    Honeycrisp Apple

    A Honeycrisp apple. Photo courtesy Rainier Fruit.

     

    Preparation

    1. COOK the apples. Heat the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the apples, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-6 minutes until tender, and then stir in the maple syrup. Cook for 1 minute. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. (If you prefer very soft apples, cook them for 10-12 minutes before adding the maple syrup.)

    2. WHISK together the eggs, pumpkin purée, milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract and spices in a large baking dish (at least 9”x13”).

    3. PLACE the slices of bread in the custard mixture and let soak for 5 minutes, turning over the slices halfway through, until most of the liquid has been absorbed into the bread. Gently press on the bread a few times during the soaking process to help it absorb the custard. Meanwhile…

     

    4. HEAT a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Add a butter to the griddle/skillet. When melted, carefully remove the bread from the custard and place on the griddle/skillet. You’ll probably need to do this in two batches. Cook for about 3 minutes until golden brown. Add another bit of butter, flip the French toast, and cook for another 3 minutes or until golden brown.

    5. TRANSFER the French toast to plates and top with the warm apples. Serve with a pitcher of maple syrup on the side.

      

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    RECIPE: Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

    With their seasonal orange color, moist texture and delightful pumpkin flavor, these baked doughnuts are better-for-you, with less sugar and no hot-oil frying. Make them for breakfast, snacking or dessert, with a scoop of ice cream.

    They also freeze nicely. The batter also keeps well in the fridge, in case you want to make a double batch, or prepare the day before to bake in the morning. They are not too pumpkiny—more pumpkin latte than pumpkin pie—so people who don’t like pumpkin can enjoy them, too.

    All you need besides the recipe ingredients are doughnut baking pans. Or, you can make pumpkin muffins in your muffin pan.

  • Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Doughnut Pan
  • Fox Run Mini Doughnut Pan (buy 2)
  • Prep time is 15 to 20 minutes, baking time is 30 to 38 minutes.

    For step by step photos, check out the King Arthur Blog.

    RECIPE: BAKED PUMPKIN DONUTS

    Ingredients For 12 Doughnuts, 24 Mini Doughnuts Or
    15 Muffins

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar*
  • 1-1/2 cups pumpkin purée (plain canned pumpkin)
  •    

    Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

    Make the batter the night before, then serve warm muffins at breakfast or brunch. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour†
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar or pumpkin-spice sugar
  •  
    Variations

  • For spicier doughnuts, add more pumpkin pie spice or allspice, cinnamon, ginger/or and cloves.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 12-cavity doughnut pans or substitute (mini doughnut pans, muffin pans).

    2. BEAT together until smooth the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

    3. FILL the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well. If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15 muffins, so you’ll need to use two muffin pans or bake them in two batches.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pumpkin donuts kingarthur 230

    Baked pumpkin doughnuts, close up and delicious. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    4. BAKE the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you’re making muffins, bake for 23 to 25 minutes. While the donuts are baking, make the cinnamon sugar or pumpkin spice sugar, by mixing half spice with half superfine sugar. (You can pulse table sugar in the food processor to a superfine consistency.)

    5. REMOVE the doughnuts from the oven. After about 5 minutes, loosen their edges with a knife or spatula and transfer them to a rack to cool. If you plan to eat them shortly: While the doughnuts are still warm, but no longer fragile…

    6. GENTLY SHAKE them in a bag with the cinnamon-sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops heavily with cinnamon-sugar. NOTE that for the best appearance, it’s important to hold the cinnamon-sugar until you’re ready to serve the doughnuts. Store the rest without the cinnamon sugar (see the next step) and add it just before serving.

    7. COOL the doughnuts completely and store at room temperature for several days. Do not wrap them tightly or enclose them in a plastic bag: Because these doughnuts are so moist, they will become soggy. We put ours in a plastic storage container, which allows air to circulate. You can also use a cake dome or a plate with an upended bowl; or use a baking pan covered with wax paper.

     

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    *The original recipe used 1-1/2 cups sugar, but cutting back to 1 cup is just as delicious (although slightly less tender—no big deal).

    †To use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour (e.g. King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour), reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon; omit the baking powder, and substitute 2 cups (8 ounces) of self-rising flour. Bake the doughnuts for about 18 minutes.

      

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