THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for Breakfast

TOP PICKS OF THE WEEK: Muuna Cottage Cheese, Oui Yogurt & More

Muuna Strawberry Cottage Cheese
[1] Muuna’s cottage cheese cups with fruit on the bottom come in 6 fruit flavors (photo courtesy Muuna).

Oui By Yoplait - Strawberry
Yoplait’s new French-style yogurt line will have you saying “Oui!” (photo courtesy Oui By Yoplait).

Reuse-a-Pop

[3] Reuse-A-Pop is a mess-free opportunity for you to make your favorite flavor push-up ice pops (photo courtesy Russbe).

 

1. MUUNA COTTAGE CHEESE WITH FRUIT

We were probably the last person in New York to buy Breakstone Pineapple Cottage Cheese before they discontinued it. It was the Ascension Of Yogurt Era, and grocers eliminated slower-moving SKUs to give the space to the hot ones.

Now, a new brand called Muuna is offering all the fruited cottage cheese our heart desires (photo #1). The line is lowfat and creamy, with the fruit on the bottom that you mix up, like a carton of sundae-style yogurt.

It’s also rich in protein: 15g of protein per 5.3-ounce cup.

The fruit is not the typical preserves at the bottom of of the cup but actual chopped fruit, in your choice of:

  • Blueberry
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberry
  •  
    There are also two plain options: 2% and 4% milkfat.

    The line is all natural, non-GMO, rBST-free and certified kosher by cRc.

    Welcome back, pineapple cottage cheese—and hello to you other flavors. You’re our Top Pick Of The Week.
    ________________

    *See the different types of yogurt.
     
     
    2. OUI BY YOPLAIT YOGURT

    Our co-Top Pick is the new Oui by Yoplait line of yogurt (photo #2). It’s different from every other container of Yoplait you’ve had.

    Eating yogurt from the perky glass jar, you could imagine you’re in France. The jar (repurposeable or recyclable) makes you look cool and in-the-know. And the yogurt does not disappoint.

    The company calls it saveur d’autrefois, the taste of yesteryear.

    Yoplait’s foray into premium, French-style yogurt (also called custard-style and Swiss-style) is on point, hitting the trending consumer checklist for all natural, non-GMO and reduced sugar products. The eight flavors include:

  • Black Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Coconut
  • Lemon
  • Peach
  • Plain
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    A final endorsement comes from the secretary of our building, with whom we shared our samples. She is a native of Greece who eats Greek yogurt every day. Her feedback: “Outstanding!”

    The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OK.
     
     
    3. RUSSBE REUSE-A-POP BAGS

    Russbe creates reusable lunch containers, but that’s not a product we have need for.

    What we do need, and love, are the Reuse-A-Pops bags for creating homemade frozen juice pops, puréed fruit, yogurt, and other frozen pops.

    The push-up bags (photo #3) with zipper seals ensures no messy leaks or spills. Freeze, enjoy, wash, reuse. At $6.99 for 12, you can’t go wrong.

    We just enjoyed our first batch: watermelon (from watermelon juice), cantaloupe (from puréed melon) and yogurt-garlic-dill (who says ice pops have to be sweet?). Yum!

     

    4. DI GIORNO CRISPY PAN PIZZA

    We live in a neighborhood where crisp, thin-crust pizza is what grown-ups eat. When people order from Pizza Hut, it’s for the kids.

    We have a reputation to uphold, and hesitate to be seen carrying a deep-dish pizza into the building, no matter how much we need that specific comfort food.

    But there’s a solution for our cravings: DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza, a frozen pizza from the supermarket in its own pan.

    The one-inch-plus-deep crispy crust pie, with extra cheese and plenty of toppings, comes in four flavors:

  • Pepperoni
  • Four Cheese
  • Supreme
  • Three Meat
  •  
    We like everything on our pie (or as much of it as we can get). We went for the Supreme: pepperoni, sausage, green and red peppers and black olives.

     

    DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza

    [3] Pan pizza in four flavors stays in the freezer. Twelve minutes in the oven delivers steaming, aromatic comfort food (photo courtesy DiGiorno).

     
    In just 12 minutes we pulled the pie—a crunchy outside and a soft inside— fragrant and bubbling from the oven.

    Now, we just have to clear out the freezer to make room for more DiGiorno boxes.

      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: Fried Green Tomatoes & Savory French Toast With Tomatoes

    We haven’t read the novel, Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Cafe.

    But in the film, while green tomatoes are fried up, we (a northerner and fan of heirloom tomatoes) missed a technical point.

    We didn’t realize that the green tomatoes were fried because they were not yet ripe. Plucked off the vine green (photo #2) and dredged in cornmeal, they were a treat.

    We initially thought that they were Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes (photo #1).

    So, tomato growers: Take some of your green guys and fry them up! (And those who want to know more about Green Zebra tomatoes: Here it is.)

    Fried green tomatoes are typically served as a side dish; in the South, with fried chicken. We enjoy them with grilled chicken and fish. We’ve been adding them to grilled cheese sandwiches, too, and highly recommend it.

    When fresh red tomatoes aren’t great—which is the case for much of the year—fry them up and add to green salads.

    McCormick serves fried green tomatoes with buttermilk chipotle dressing, or topped with lump crabmeat and Creole mustard—a nice first course.

    Ready to fry some green tomatoes?

    RECIPE #1: FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

    This is the classic southern recipe (photo #3): buttermilk, cornmeal and green tomatoes (photo #2).

    Use a heavy skillet. Some recipes we’ve read recommend the even heat of an electric skillet.

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
  • Vegetable oil*
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional garnish: minced fresh parsley or basil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the egg and buttermilk; set aside.

    2. COMBINE 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, the cornmeal, salt, and pepper, in a shallow bowl or pan.

    3. DREDGE the tomato slices in the remaining 1/4 cup flour. Dip in the egg mixture and dredge in cornmeal mixture.

    4. ADD the oil to a large cast-iron skillet, to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Heat it to 375°F.

    5. DROP the tomatoes, in batches, into the hot oil. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or on a rack.

    6. SPRINKLE the hot tomatoes with salt, if desired. (We served flaky salt on the table.)
    ________________

    *Some recipes add bacon grease. If you have it, substitute three tablespoons bacon grease for an equal amount of oil.
    ________________
     
     
    RECIPE #2: SAVORY FRENCH TOAST WITH TOMATO SALAD

    Don’t want to fry your tomatoes? Then treat yourself to the gourmet’s green tomatoes: Green Zebras (photos #1 and #6), in a tomato salad.

    And, use the salad as a garnish for French Toast. Save the maple syrup for post-tomato-season.

    Look for Green Zebras in farmers markets. The season is fleeting, so enjoy as many of these (and other heirloom tomatoes) as you can.

       

    Green Zebra Tomatoes
    [1] Heirloom Green Zebra tomatoes, which remain green when ripe, are not meant to be fried, but to be enjoyed raw (photo courtesy Rare Seeds).

    Green Tomato On Vine
    [2] Green tomatoes that have not yet ripened to red are used to make fried green tomatoes (photo courtesy Chrissi Nerantzi | SXC).

    Fried Green Tomatoes
    [3] Cornmeal + tomatoes + skillet = fried green tomatoes (photo and recipe courtesy McCormick).

    Fried Green Tomatoes With Crab Meat

    [4] A first course: fried green tomatoes with lump crab and mustard sauce. Here’s the recipe from McCormick.

     

    Savory French Toast Recipe
    [5] Top French Toast with a green tomato salad (photo courtesy Quinciple).

    Green Zebra Tomatoes
    [6] Use Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes for a salad…including atop French Toast.

    Monte Cristo Sandwich

    [7] Monte Cristo sandwich (photo courtesy Kikkoman).

     

    This recipe is actually a grilled cheese hybrid. Instead of brushing bread with butter before grilling, the bread is dipped in “French Toast” batter: eggs and milk. Serve it for breakfast or lunch.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: 3-4 dashes hot sauce
  • 4 thick slices bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices cheese (mozzarella, cheddar or any good melting cheese—we used gruyère)
  • 2 green or heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • ½ tablespoon chopped parsley
  • ½ tablespoon chopped chives
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot or red onion
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the eggs, milk, hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste in a shallow bowl. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture on both sides until fully coated and set aside.

    2. HEAT the butter in a large pan over medium heat and add the bread slices, cooking until golden brown. Flip the bread and cook on the other side until golden brown and cooked through.

    3. TURN off the heat and top each slice with some cheese; cover the pan to let the cheese melt. Meanwhile…

    4. TOSS together the tomatoes, parsley, chives, olive oil, vinegar, shallot and seasoning to taste. Divide the French Toast between two plates and top with the tomato salad.
     
    MORE SAVORY FRENCH TOAST RECIPES
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF FRENCH TOAST

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

    While the story evolved that French Toast was a food of the poor, trying to scrape together a meal from stale bread—and that may also be true—recipes from ancient and medieval times denote that it was fare for wealthy people.

     
    Recipes used white bread, a luxury affordable only by the rich, with the crusts cut off. Poor people ate brown bread, which was much cheaper because the wheat endosperm did not have to be milled and painstakingly hand-sifted through screens to create the vastly more expensive white flour.

    (That’s right: The more nutritious whole grain brown bread was looked down on as food for the poor. To the thinking of the time, white bread was more “pure” and “elegant.” The same pattern was true in Asia, with white rice for the rich and brown rice for the poor.)

    When the wealthy discovered how tasty the dish was, costly ingredients such as spices (cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg), sugar and almond milk appeared in the batter of numerous recipes. The cooked bread was topped with costly honey or sugar.

    Thus attests old cookbooks. Cookbooks themselves were the province of the privileged: Only wealthy people and the clergy learned to read.

    More recently, French Toast has evolved into a savory sandwich, the Monte Cristo. It is an evolution of the croque-monsieur, a crustless sandwich of ham and Gruyère cheese, buttered and lightly browned on both sides in a skillet or under a broiler.

    The Croque-Monsieur was invented in Paris in 1910. A variation with a baked egg on top is called a Croque-Madame. Neither sandwich was battered, like French Toast.

    The Monte Cristo sandwich (photo #7), a triple-decker sandwich, battered and pan-fried, was invented at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. According to the L.A. Times, the first recipe in print is in the Brown Derby Cookbook, published in 1949.

    Here’s the recipe so you can try it for lunch—although probably not on the same day you have French Toast for breakfast.

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Crostini For Breakfast & Lunch

    Burrata Bruschetta
    [1] Tomato and burrata crostini (recipe below—photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Avocado & Egg Crostini
    [2] Avocado and sliced egg crostini (photo courtesy Safest Choice).

    Crostini Fondue
    [3] Instead of breakfast grilled cheese, make skillet fondue (photo courtesy La Brea Bakery).

    Strawberry Goat Cheese Crostini

    [4] Diced strawberries atop goat cheese (photo courtesy Whole Foods Market).

     

    If you like to crunch on toast for breakfast, consider crostini: toast using Italian bread or a rustic loaf (peasant bread), topped with more interesting ingredients—or a combination of them—than American breakfast toast.

    For those who think of crostini only as an accompaniment to a glass of wine break or cocktails, nota bene that it can be the main dish for breakfast or brunch.

    It’s toast with toppings: cheeses, fruits, meats, seafood, spreads, vegetables.

  • Serve it with a side of fruit for breakfast.
  • Serve it with soup or salad for lunch.
  •  
    INGREDIENTS FOR BREAKFAST OR LUNCH CROSTINI

    You can choose sweet or savory…or one of each. Here are some ingredients that work for breakfast and lunch:

  • Cheese group: burrata or mozzarella, feta (crumbled, whipped), sliced cheese, spreadable cheese (Alouette, Boursin, cheddar, goat, ricotta); or mini grilled cheese tartines,
  • Fruit group: avocado (sliced or mashed), berries, citrus, fig, grapes, sliced drupes (stone fruits), watermelon (great with feta and basil),
  • Onion group: caramelized onions, onion relish, scallions, sweet onion.
  • Protein group: bacon, ham or prosciutto; scrambled or sliced eggs; sliced sausage.
  • Spreads: butter, cream cheese, hummus, jam, nut butter.
  • Vegetable group: cucumbers, radishes, sautéed mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes.
  • Garnishes: chile flakes, fresh herbs (basil is our favorite), granola, honey drizzle, lemon zest, maple syrup, nuts and seeds, olive oil drizzle, salsa.
  •  
    Here’s the difference between crostini and bruschetta.
     
    RECIPE: CROSTINI WITH BURRATA & SLOW-ROASTED TOMATOES

    You can make the tomatoes a day in advance. Then, put the ingredients together in a few minutes.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (preferably mixed colors)
  • Garlic cloves*
  • Good olive oil
  • Sliced rustic bread (with a good crust)
  • 8-ounce burrata (substitute mozzarella)
  • Fresh basil, torn or roughly chopped
  • Flake salt/coarse† sea salt, to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 225°F. Spread the tomatoes and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil.

    2. BAKE for 2½ to 3 hours, or until tomatoes just begin to shrivel.

    3. BRUSH the bread slices with oil, and toast or grill until golden brown. Rub with roasted garlic.

    4. DIVIDE the burrata over toasts and top with tomatoes, basil, flaky salt, and another drizzle of olive oil.
     
    __________________
    *Since you’ll be roasting the cloves, you can roast a whole bulb’s worth and use the extra roasted garlic with salads, potatoes, grains, or spreads.

    Coarse salt is a larger-grained sea salt crystal, with grains the size of kosher salt. The grains are crushed to make fine sea salt. Flake salt is naturally evaporated sea salt that forms snowflake- or pyramid-like grains. Examples include those from the Maldon River in England, Anglesey off the island of Wales, New Zealand, and Australia. When used as a garnish, coarse and flake salts provide a crunch. Check out the different types of salt.

    FOOD 101: FRUIT GROUPS

    Because we’re food geeks, we think of foods as part of their parent groups. We love to learn the relationships between plants, and how seemingly unrelated food plants can be close cousins.

    That’s why you’ll often see the Latin taxonomy after the English name; for example, basil (Ocimum, basilicum family Lamiaceae).

    The taxonomy of plants and animals was first developed by the great Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus and published in 1735 (the zoological component came later).

    The nomenclature comprises seven main “ranks”: kingdom, phylum or division, class, order, family, genus, species. You studied it in 7th-grade biology.

    To simplify the fruit category, here’s a chart of the main fruit groups—in English, as opposed to the Latin names.

    Not only can it deepen your understanding of food; it’s a fun game to play as you wheel down the supermarket fruit aisle. Point at apples and say “pome,” point at peaches and say “drupe,” etc.

    Well, it’s our idea of fun.

    Fruit Categories Chart

    Chart courtesy College of William and Mary.
     
      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Toast

    Summer Fruit Toast
    [1] Your toast should dress for summer, too. Here, fruit, honey and mascarpone cheese in a recipe from Wry Toast Eats.

    Summer Avocado Toast

    [2] Switch to savory with this pretty avocado toast from Bluestone Lane. a café in Hoboken, New Jersey.

     

    We love toast. We could eat it three times a day, with different toppings.

    Today’s tip: Go seasonal with your toast, be it for breakfast, snack or other nourishment.

    We like this idea (photo #1) from Christine of Wry Toast Eats so much that we’re planning a summer iced tea party, just so we can serve it.

    Christine, who makes everyday foods look so delicious, tops a conventional slice of toast with a fruit and cheese fantasy:

  • Berries
  • Grilled peaches
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Honey
  • Chopped pistachio nuts
  • Mint
  •  
    Here’s the recipe.

    If you prefer the savory to the sweet, try this avocado toast (photo #2) from Bluestone Lane, an Australian-style café “influenced by the renowned coffee culture hub of Melbourne, Australia.”

    Most locations are in greater New York City, but if you live in San Francisco or King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania you’re close to one, too.

    You might look at the photo and opine that avocado toast is a year-round recipe, and you’d be correct.

    The difference here is in the details: the flavor of summer cherry tomatoes over year-round hothouse tomatoes, the trio of colors that evoke summer flowers, and the microgreens garnish that does the same.

    But for the true summer touch, buy some freshly-picked summer corn and sprinkle the toast with sweet, raw kernels of corn. That’s summer!

    We eyeballed the photo and recreated the recipe with:

  • Toasted rustic bread
  • Diced avocado
  • Multicolor cherry tomatoes
  • Crumbled goat or feta cheese
  • A scoop of sour cream
  • A garnish of microgreens
  •  
     
    What would you like on your summer toast?

    Make it so!

      

    Comments off

    FOOD FUN: Breakfast Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Breakfast Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Time for breakfast: waffles, bacon and [frozen] yogurt (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

     

    This idea comes from the savvy bakers at King Arthur Flour: Breakfast Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches (as if you needed an excuse to have ice cream for breakfast!).

    Cook some waffles and bacon, and sandwich with frozen yogurt instead of topping them with an egg. We adapted the recipe by adding some bacon jam (buy it or make it) and maple syrup.

    RECIPE: BREAKFAST ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

    Ingredients Per Waffle Sandwich

  • 2 waffles
  • 1 cup frozen yogurt, slightly softened
  • 2-3 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
  • Optional: bacon jam (recipe)
  • Optional: maple syrup drizzle
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the waffles and let cool. When cool…

    2. SPREAD 1 cup of frozen yogurt over one waffle. If using bacon jam, spread it on the underside of the top waffle.

    3. COMBINE the two waffles into a sandwich, wrap in plastic and freeze for 20 minutes. When ready to serve…

     
    4. CUT the waffle into quarters, and roll the yogurt edge in the bacon.
     
     
    Take a look at more ice cream sandwich ideas from King Arthur Flour.
     
     
    HOW MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF WAFFLES HAVE YOU HAD?

    American, Belgian, Hong Kong, Liège and more: Here are the different types of waffles.
     

    THE HISTORY OF WAFFLES

    The waffle emerges in the Neolithic Age as a rustic hotcake. The ancient Greeks cooked them between two hot plates.

    But it took until the 1200s for a creative French craftsman to create the “honeycomb” pattern we use today.

    Check out the history of waffles.

     
      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.