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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Breakfast

TIP OF THE DAY: Try Baked Oatmeal

If you love oatmeal—or if porridge isn’t your thing—here’s a new way to try it: baked oatmeal!

Simple yet delicious, kids can help measure and stir ingredients. The recipe finishes in the oven while you’re brewing the coffee.

Prep time is five minutes, cook time is 40 minutes.

Thanks to Driscoll’s and recipe developer and blogger, Maria Lichty from Two Peas and Their Pod, for this delicious idea. Here are more berry recipes from Driscoll’s.

RECIPE: STRAWBERRIES & CREAM BAKED OATMEAL

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats/rolled oats (the different types of oats/oatmeal)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  

    baked-oatmeal-driscolls-230sq

    For a treat, bake oatmeal like a casserole. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced hulled strawberries or other berries (we used a combination of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
  •  

    Nutritious rolled oats in a rustic setting.  Shallow dof

    Old-fashioned oats. Photo by Kelly Cline |
    IST.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan and set aside.

    2. STIR together oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

    3. WHISK together heavy cream, egg, butter and vanilla in a separate bowl. Pour heavy cream mixture over oat mixture and stir until combined. Add 1 cup sliced strawberries.

    4. POUR into prepared baking dish. Gently pound baking dish on the countertop to make sure cream moves through oats. Scatter remaining strawberries over top of the oatmeal.

    5. BAKE 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and oat mixture has set. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Serve warm.
     
    WHY IS OATMEAL SO GOOD FOR YOU?

    Check out these oatmeal health benefits.

     
    WHAT IS PORRIDGE?

    Porridge is a dish made by boiling ground, crushed, or chopped cereal grains in water or milk. Optional flavorings can be added, from spices to fruits or cheese.

    Porridge is usually served hot in a bowl or dish. It may be sweetened with sugar or served as a savory dish (cheese grits is an example).

    Any cereal grain can be turned into porridge. Buckwheat, oats, wheat (Cream of Wheat, Wheatena) and rice (Cream of Rice) are most popular in the U.S. Worldwide, barley, fonio, maize, millet, rice, rye, sorghum, triticale and quinoa are also made into porridge.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Gnocchi For Breakfast

    pan-fried-gnocchi-fried-egg-giovannirana-230

    Pasta for breakfast! Photo and recipe
    courtesy Giovanni Rana.

     

    Here’s a fun idea for breakfast or brunch: “Gnocchi Homefries,” made with potato gnocchi instead of sliced potatoes, in yummy sage brown butter.

    Sauté with pancetta, onions and rosemary; or add sausage, and freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Or add it all, topped with a poached or fried egg.

    This recipe is courtesy of Giovanni Rana, which used its delicious Gnocchi di Patate (potato gnocchi) Home Fries with Pancetta and Sage Brown Butter Fried Eggs for a romantic brunch. Find more recipes on the website.

    RECIPE: POTATO GNOCCHI HOME FRIES

    Ingredients

    For The Home Fries

  • ½ – 8.8-ounce package Giovanni Rana Gnocchi di Patate
  • 2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce pancetta or bacon, cut into ¼” strips (easier to cut when frozen)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary or sage
  • 2 teaspoon vegetable oil, such as canola
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  •  
    For The Eggs

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 leaves fresh sage
  • 2 eggs
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SAUTÉ pancetta or bacon over medium/low heat with extra virgin olive oil in a nonstick pan. When crispy, remove to a paper towel to drain. Add onions and chopped rosemary and sauté over medium heat until tender and starting to brown; about 7-9 minutes. Remove to a bowl and wipe pan clean.

    2. HEAT 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in the nonstick pan over high heat until almost smoking. Add the gnocchi and sauté, constantly tossing to prevent burning, until they are golden brown. Turn off heat.

    3. RETURN onions and pancetta to the pan. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and toss until butter is melted. Empty contents of pan into a bowl. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss.

    4. MELT 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Add fresh sage leaves and swirl pan until the butter begins to brown. Turn heat off and allow the pan to cool slightly; about 1 minute. Add the eggs and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fry the eggs on medium/low heat to desired doneness, spooning some of the brown butter over top of them a few times; about 2-1/2 minutes for sunny side up.

     

    sauce-pasta-bag-230

    Giovanni Rana’s potato gnocchi are just one of the company’s delicious fresh pastas and sauces. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    5. PLATE the home fries and top with fried eggs.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Poached Egg With Lentils & Arugula

    lentils-poached-egg-theculinarychronicles-230

    A delicious trio of tastes: poached eggs,
    lentils and arugula. Photo courtesy
    CulinaryChronicles.com.

     

    We love to discover new food blogs and introduce our readers to their bounty. Today, we’d like to present a recipe from Nam of Culinary Chronicles. We encourage you to visit her blog for more.

    Nam used Safest Choice pasteurized eggs in this recipe. Pasteurized eggs are recommended in dishes that use raw eggs without further cooking (Caesar salad, mousse and steak tartare, for example). In this recipe the eggs are fully cooked, so pasteurized eggs are a nice luxury.

    Consider this tasty trio of protein, legume and green, leafy vegetable for weekend brunch or lunch, and a celebration of National Egg Month (see all the May food holidays).

    RECIPE: POACHED EGGS OVER LENTILS &
    ARUGULA

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, thoroughly washed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup lentils
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh arugula leaves
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese shavings
  • Quality extra virgin olive oil
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter with the olive oil in a heavy bottom pot, over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, leeks and garlic. Sauté until softened but not browned—about 5-7 minutes.

    2. ADD the red chili flakes, thyme sprigs, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the lentils and then pour in the wine. Continue simmering until the wine has reduced and is nearly evaporated.

    3. ADD the vegetable stock and bay leaf and bring the liquids to a boil. Partially cover the pot and reduce to a simmer. Cook the lentils for about 25-30 minutes or until tender. While the lentils cook…

    4. BEGIN POACHING the eggs. Fill a separate pot 3/4 full of water and bring to a rolling boil. Pour in the vinegar and slightly lower the heat. Crack one egg into a small bowl. Take a spoon and swirl it around quickly in the pot to make a whirlpool in the water. Slowly pour the egg into the center of the whirlpool. The movement of the whirlpool will help the egg form but you can also use a spoon to help it along.

     

    arugula-salvatica-wild-burpee-230

    There are different varieties of arugula available. We prefer baby arugula, which has just enough pepperiness and none of the bitterness of some other varieties. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     

    After about 2 minutes…

    5. USE a slotted spoon to remove the egg and set aside in a warm bowl of water. Cook the eggs just under of how you’d normally like your eggs. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Once done, cover the pot and turn the heat down to low to keep the water hot.

    When the lentils are tender…

    6. REMOVE the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Drain any excess stock that may remain. Season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Toss the lentils with the arugula leaves and use a slotted spoon to plate into 4 dishes. Using the slotted spoon…

    7. DIP each poached egg into the pot of hot water to rewarm it. Gently blot them dry with a paper towel and place on top of each lentil mound. Place Parmesan cheese shards over plate and drizzle the tops with a bit of the olive oil. Garnish with additional thyme sprigs and serve immediately.

     
    FOOD TRIVIA: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARMESAN AND PARMIGIANO REGGIANO

    In the European Union, Parmigiano-Reggiano is a D.O.P.-protected term that can only be used by members of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano, which approves each and every wheel of cheese as meeting the highest Consorzio standards (substandard cheeses are removed from the process before aging concludes).

    However, in 2008 the E.U. also defined the term “Parmesan” to refer to the genuine Consorzio cheeses. Prior to then, Parmesan referred to Parmigiano-Reggiano-style cheeses made outside the D.O.P.-designated regions of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy. Thus, within the E.U., Parmesan and Parmigiano-Reggiano are the same cheese. (Why ask why?)

    In the U.S. and other parts of the world, the word “Parmesan” is not regulated. A cheese labeled as Parmesan in the U.S. is a domestic cheese approximating Parmigiano-Reggiano.

    Why is the word capitalized? It’s an editorial choice. Both Parmesan and Parmigiano are adjectival forms of Parma, the city in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna where the cheese originated. We would apply the same style, for example, to an Iowan cheese or a Chicagoan cheese (as opposed to an iowan cheese or chicagoan cheese).

    Here’s more about Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Egg-Stuffed Peppers

    We’re always looking for new brunch recipes. This one, a different take on stuffed peppers from Heidi of FoodieCrush.com, lets you prep ahead and let the oven finish the dish.

    “Colorful, sweet bell peppers are the mainstay of the show,” says Heidi, “but the flavor melds of butternut squash with thyme and sweet hint of brandy are what makes this meal memorable.”

    RECIPE: BAKED EGGS IN STUFFED PEPPERS

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 3 sweet bell peppers, red, orange or yellow
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  •  

    Baked-Eggs-Peppers-FoodieCrush-GoBoldwithbutter-230

    A refreshing variation on stuffed peppers. Photo courtesy FoodieCrush.com | Go Bold With Butter.

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into a large dice, about 2 cups
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.

    2. CUT peppers in half and remove ribs and seeds. Place cut side up in shallow microwave safe bowl or dish. Add 1/3 cup water to bowl. Sprinkle peppers with kosher salt and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

    3. HEAT large skillet over medium high heat and melt butter and olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add butternut squash, thyme leaves and kosher salt and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add brandy.

    4. RETURN to heat and cook for 4-5 more minutes until brandy has cooked down and squash has softened and is easily pierced with a fork. Keep warm and add Ricotta and Feta cheese. Taste and season with more salt if desired.

    5. POUR marinara sauce in bottom of 9 x 12 inch baking dish. Place peppers cut side up and spoon 1/2 to 3/4 cup of butternut squash mixture into each pepper, creating a hollow for egg. Bake peppers and squash mixture for 10 minutes or until warmed through. Remove from oven.

    6. CAREFULLY BREAK egg into small ramekin or measuring cup and slowly pour into each pepper taking care not to overflow egg. Repeat until each pepper is filled. Season with freshly ground black pepper and bake peppers for 10-12 minutes or until whites of eggs are set. Serve each pepper with marinara sauce and extra feta cheese as desired.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: The Best French Toast

    Our Mom didn’t have to be convinced to whip up a batch of French toast, one of her favorite weekend breakfast foods.

    While she used challah, eggs and cream to rich effect, here’s an even richer recipe—a signature brunch dish at the Sushi Samba restaurants in New York City (there are other locations nationwide).

    If you’re in New York City for a brunch, head to Sushi Samba’s Gramercy or West Village locations. The French toast is on the $30 pre-fixe menu; bottomless Prosecco can be added for an additional $25.

    Everyone else: Make it yourself at home!

    You may notice that there’s no dulce de leche in the recipe below. That’s because dulce de leche is made by heating sweetened condensed milk until it caramelizes. Soaking the bread in sweetened condensed milk embeds the flavor of dulce de leche in it.

     

    dulce-de-leche-brioche-sushisamba-230

    It doesn’t get richer than this! Photo courtesy Sushi Samba | NYC.

     

    morning breakfast on serving tray french Brioche and white cup o

    A brioche roll—specifically, brioche à tête,
    with a “head.” Photo by Elena Moiseeva | IST.

     

    RECIPE: DULCE DE LECHE* BRIOCHE FRENCH TOAST

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 5 slices brioche, cut in half into 2-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • Garnishes: fruits of choice, powdered sugar
  • Optional: maple or other syrup
  •  
    *Sushi Samba, which has a Brazilian flair, uses the Portuguese term, doce de leite, instead of the Spanish dulce de leche.
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE brioche in a 275°F oven for 5-10 minutes to dry.

    2. COMBINE all the liquid ingredients and add the bread. Allow the brioche to soak for 1-2 minutes.

     

    3. COOK on a flat top or in a nonstick sauté pan for 2 minutes per side and finish in a 350°F oven for an additional 3 minutes, or just until the center has firmed.

    4. GARNISH with the fruits of your choice and powdered sugar.

     
    WHAT IS BRIOCHE

    Brioche (bree-OASH) is light, slightly sweet bread made with eggs, yeast and butter, and glazed with an egg wash. Richer than a standard loaf of bread, brioche is used as a breakfast bread, for French toast and in combination with luxurious first courses such as foie gras and smoked salmon.

  • A standard brioche loaf is called brioche Nanterre, after the commune in the western suburbs of Paris.
  • The style of rolls baked in fluted tins with a small ball of dough crowning the top are called brioche à tête—brioche with a head (see photo above).
  • Almond brioche is sliced from a loaf of brioche, cooked so it looks like French toast, and topped with frangipane (crème pâtissière flavored with ground almonds), sliced almonds and powdered sugar.
  • Orange brioche is filled with orange cream an topped with sugar.
  • Brioche is made in rolls and loaves, and also in gingerbread men-type shapes topped with sugar.
  •  
    The word comes from Old French, broyer, to knead. The expression, “If they have no bread, let them eat cake,” commonly misattributed to Marie-Antoinette*, is a translation of the phrase, “S’ils n’ont plus de pain, qu’ils mangent de la brioche.” The quotation was attributed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau to “a great princess,” possibly Maria Theresa of Spain—who most certainly would have enjoyed this delicious recipe!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Breakfast Pizza

    Still pondering what to make for Mother’s Day breakfast? Perhaps this is the year to skip the bagels and lox, pancakes, quiche and waffles and opt instead for a glamorous breakfast pizza.

    Just plan ahead and make the dough one day in advance; it needs to be refrigerated overnight (it can be made up to 2 days ahead). Keep it chilled until ready to use.

    This recipe, sent to us by Savor California, is by cookbook writer Jill Silverman Hough.

    You can turn it into bacon-, ham- or sausage-and-eggs pizza by adding your favorite breakfast meat.

    RECIPE: BREAKFAST PIZZA WITH EGGS,
    ROASTED PEPPERS, OLIVES & ARUGULA

    Ingredients For 4 Servings
     
    For The Dough

  • 2 tablespoons warm water (115°F)
  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup cool water (65° to 70°F)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse/kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  •  

    Egg-Olive-Pizza-mishagravenorphotography-savorcalifornia

    A special breakfast for a special day. Photo by Misha Gravenor Photography.

     

    For The Topping

  • Cornmeal for sprinkling
  • Olive oil
  • ¾ cup drained roasted red peppers, cut into 1/3-inch strips
  • 1/3 cup black olives, pitted and quartered*
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese shavings
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 large red onion rings, each 3-1/2 to 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups arugula, lightly packed
  •  
    *Jill used Olivos del Mar Organic Honey Balsamic Olives that have been flashed brined overnight in a mixture of organic lemongrass rice vinegar, organic balsamic vinegar, and a mixture of Italian herbs. You can similarly brine your olives overnight.

     

    bacon-strip-igourmet-230

    Add some bacon or other breakfast meat to
    your pie. Photo courtesy iGourmet.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dough. Pour 2 tablespoons warm water into large bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook; sprinkle yeast over. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 15 minutes (mixture will not be foamy).

    2. ADD both flours, 1/2 cup cool water and 1 teaspoon coarse salt; mix on medium-low speed 4 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then mix on medium speed until dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky, about 3 minutes.

    3. LIGHTLY OIL a medium bowl. Gather dough into ball and transfer to prepared bowl; turn to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature 30 minutes. Chill dough overnight. When ready to bake…

    4. TRANSFER bowl to warm, draft-free area and let dough rise, covered, until very slightly puffy, at least 2 hours. Place a pizza stone or rimless baking sheet in oven; preheat to 500°F.

     

    5. SPRINKLE pizza paddle or another baking sheet generously with cornmeal. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round; transfer to paddle.

    6. BRUSH dough with oil; scatter peppers, then olives, over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and rosemary. Arrange onion rings atop pizza, spacing apart. Slide pizza onto stone or baking sheet in oven. Bake until lightly browned but not crisp, about 7 minutes.

    7. REMOVE pizza from oven and gently crack 1 egg into each onion ring. Return pizza to oven and continue to bake until eggs are softly set and crust is golden, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle pizza with salt and pepper. Scatter arugula over top and serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Almond Pancakes

    almond_pancakes_giada-abullseyeview.com-230sq

    Marzipan-like almond pancakes. Photo
    courtesy Target.

     

    Does Mom like marzipan? Whip up some of Giada De Laurentiis’ mouth-watering almond pancakes for Mother’s Day. There’s no marzipan in the recipe, but the almond extract evokes the flavor. And you can garnish the stack with a small piece of marzipan.

    Light and fluffy, sweet and nutty, this is a stack for special celebrations.

    The recipe comes from Target’s website, A Bulls Eye View. You can see step-by-step photos here.

    RECIPE: GIADA DE LAURENTIIS’ ALMOND
    PANCAKES

    Ingredients For 16 Pancakes

  • ½ cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk pancake mix (Giada uses Kruteaz)
  • 4 ounces almost paste, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Optional garnish: maple syrup
  • Optional garnish: fresh raspberries
  • Optional garnish: whole almonds
  • Optional garnish: a small piece of marzipan
  •  

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the mascarpone, water, sugar, almond extract and vanilla extract in a food processor. Process until mixture is smooth.

    2. ADD the pancake mix and pulse until just combined. Add the almond paste and pulse once to incorporate.

    3. PREHEAT a griddle or large, non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Grease griddle or skillet with 1 tablespoon butter.

    4. WORKING in batches, pour ¼ cup of batter per pancake onto griddle. Cook for about 1½ minutes each side, or until golden. Repeat with remaining butter and batter.

    5. ARRANGE pancakes on a platter. Serve with maple syrup and fresh raspberries.

     

    marzipan-stack-neuhaus-230

    Marzipan is a popular confection in Europe. Photo courtesy Neuhaus.

     

    WHAT IS MARZIPAN?

    A paste of sugar and ground almonds, marzipan originated in Asia some 1,000 years ago. It is believed to have reached Europe via Spain, brought by Arab traders.

    Marzipan grew quickly in popularity with royalty and the wealthy. It was only at the beginning of the 19th century that sugar became affordable and many more people could enjoy marzipan (as well as other sweet treats).

    Marzipan is used as a pastry filling and was traditionally popular in wedding cakes as a layer on top of the cake and under the fondant. Marzipan is sweeter than almond paste, another ground almond-sugar product: It has more sugar and can be eaten directly as a confection, while almond paste is not be eaten directly but is used as an ingredient.

    Marzipan is also molded and tinted to resemble fruits, animals, and other fanciful shapes.

    It’s not only about almonds: Pistachio marzipan is another popular form, most often used to fill chocolates.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Create A Signature Breakfast Sandwich

    breakfast-sandwich-goat-cheese-melissas-230

    Go beyond the Egg McMuffin and create your
    fantasy breakfast sandwich like this one
    (recipe below). Photo courtesy Melissa’s.

     

    Ask an American to name a breakfast sandwich and you might hear “bagel and lox”; but “Egg McMuffin” is more likely to be the answer. It was invented by a McDonald’s franchisee, Herb Peterson, in the late 1960s and introduced nationwide in 1972.

    Popular as it is, the Egg McMuffin has not exactly spawned a major food trend in breakfast sandwiches.

    So today’s tip is: Create a signature breakfast sandwich and get your friends to do the same. Then, you can get together for breakfast sandwich brunches. We can’t wait!

    Peruse this list to put together your dream ingredients.

    BREAKFAST SANDWICH INGREDIENTS

  • Bread: bagel, baguette, biscuits, brioche, challah, focaccia, toast of choice (rye, sourdough, whole wheat, etc.), roll of choice (note that we’ve deliberately excluded donuts and pancakes)
  • Eggs: fried, poached, scrambled, soft boiled, sliced hard boiled
  • Cheese: blue, Cheddar, goat, Gruyère, mozzarella, pepperjack or other favorite
  • Meat: bacon types (including Canadian bacon and pancetta), chicken breast, chorizo or other sausage, ham, pork
  • Veggies: avocado, bell peppers (sautéed, grilled, diced fresh), fresh herbs, greens (sautéed arugula, broccoli rabe, kale, etc.), hash browns, jalapeños, onion (red or sweet), roasted poblanos, sprouts, tomato (fresh, sundried)
  • Condiments: aïoli, caramelized onions, chutney, extra virgin olive oil, gravy, honey, horseradish sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard-yogurt spread, pesto, salsa, sautéed peaches or other fruit, tomato sauce, vinaigrette
  •  
    You don’t need to include eggs or meat, as this recipe demonstrates:
     
    RECIPE: OPEN-FACED BREAKFAST SANDWICHES

    This sandwich (photo above) will wake you up sweetly, with chile-infused honey.

    If you don’t want the heat of the chiles, substitute a bit of fresh-ground black pepper for the ground cayenne, and don’t use the final chile garnish.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, plus 4 hours to infuse the honey.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 8 ounces honey
  • 2 fresh cayenne chiles, stems and seeds removed, finely diced, divided
    (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 thick slices whole-wheat French bread
  • 2 tablesppoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup creamy goat cheese (4 ounces)
  • 4 large eggs
  • Salt
  • Ground cayenne pepper or black pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE honey and half of the cayenne chile in a glas container. Seal tightly and let sit 4 hours or overnight. Wrap and reserve remaining chiles in the fridge.

    2. TOAST bread; spread each slice with 1 teaspoon butter and 2 tablespoons goat cheese.

    3. HEAT the remaining 2 teaspoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Crack eggs into skillet; cook until yolks are set, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

    4. DRIZZLE each slice of toast with 2 tablespoons cayenne honey. Top with a fried egg; drizzle evenly with the remaining honey and garnish with the remaining fresh cayenne chiles.

     

    toad-in-the-hole-melissas-230

    Toad In The Hole is a British favorite. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy Melissa’s.

     

    A related recipe is Toad In The Hole (photo above), a British specialty that pan-fried day-old bead with an egg in the middle. The recipe’s colorful name no doubt appealed to children.

    With the added crushed chiles, this toad sure is hoppin’! If you don’t like the heat, leave off the chiles.

    RECIPE: HOPPIN’ TOAD IN THE HOLE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 6 one-inch-thick slices sourdough bread, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 dried de arbol chiles, stems and seeds removed, finely crushed
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded pepperjack cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT a 1-1/2-inch hole in the center of each slice of bread, using a small round cookie cutter or a juice glass.

    2. MELT 2 tablespoons butter over low heat in a large skillet. Add half of the crushed chile and cook until fragrant, stirring often, about 1 to 2 minutes.

    3. INCREASE heat to medium; arrange 3 bread slices in the skillet. Crack 1 egg into the hole of each slice, taking care not to break the yolks. Cook until eggs are just firm but the yolk is slightly runny, about 5 to 8 minutes.

    4. SPRINKLE evenly with cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat procedure for the next three slices of bread.

    5. SPRINKLE with salt, pepper an paprika to taste. Serve.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: International Waffle Day

    International Waffle Day, which originated in Sweden, is celebrated in the U.S. on March 25th. There is a separate National Waffle Day, celebrated on August 24th, that was originally created to honor the waffle iron.

    The net of it is, you can celebrate a waffle holiday twice a year! Prepared sweet or savory, they can be served at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    In different parts of the world, waffles are topped with confectioners’ sugar, honey, jam, even peanut butter. But in the U.S., what are waffles without maple syrup?

    And what’s with the different types of maple syrup?

    GRADES (VARIETIES) OF MAPLE SYRUP

    Because maple syrup is tapped in the winter, it has traditionally been seen as a winter flavor. But just like honey and sugar, it can be enjoyed year-round in recipes from cocktails to salad dressings and marinades to desserts.

    If you’re confused by the four grades of maple syrup (A Light Amber, A Medium Amber, A Dark Amber and B) here’s an explanation of the different types.

     

    chicken-waffles-2-sweetchickbklyn-230

    Chicken and waffles. Photo courtesy Daniel Krieger | Sweet Chick | Brooklyn.

     
    In brief, at the beginning of the season, the syrup runs light in both color and flavor, and is called Grade A Light Amber. By mid-season it’s Grade A Medium Amber, followed by Grade A Dark Amber and Grade B. At the end of the season, it’s the strongest in flavor and color, commercial grade syrup.

    CROWN PREMIUM MAPLE SYRUP

    We recently received a bottle of Crown Maple syrup, certified organic. It is produced by Madava Farms, a family business in the historic Hudson River Valley of New York (Dutchess County).

    There, 800 acres of century-old, sustainably managed groves of sugar and red maples enjoy perfect soil and ideal seasonal weather conditions to produce a superior sap for maple sugaring.

    But production is a key determinant of quality. Far from the old primitive sugar house, Crown premium maple syrup is made at the most advanced maple syrup production facility in the country. The pristine sap collected from the maples is cooked using the latest in green, organic production techniques to produce syrups of exceptional quality.

     
    CROWN SYRUP VARIETIES

    As you can see from these tasting notes, different grades pair better with specific recipes.

    Light Amber Syrup

  • Tasting Notes: Flavors of popcorn, vanilla bean, roasted nuts, salted caramel and brown butter. Although light in color, the body has a pleasing weight and depth, with a sweetness and finish that lingers.
  • Uses: Pair with salty flavors, for example glazing pork belly or bacon. Try it in cocktails with whiskey as a base: Replace the muddled sugar cubes in an Old Fashioned. Use it as a substitute for palm sugar in Thai recipes.
  •  
    Medium Amber Syrup

  • Tasting Notes: Aromas of gingerbread and roasted chestnut with flavors of rye, butterscotch and spice.
  • Uses: Pair with baked breads, chocolate and ginger cookies and heavier spirits—barrel-aged bourbons or peaty, smoky Scotch. Use as a topping for chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
  •  

    light-amber-crown-230

    The handsome bottles are nicely boxed for
    gift giving. Photo courtesy Madava Farms.

     

    Dark Amber Syrup

  • Tasting Notes: The flavor and aroma are similar to Medium Amber, but the syrup has more weight, depth and concentration. Aromas of coffee and cocoa beans are present, along with flavors of brown sugar and toasted almond.
  • Uses: Use instead of other sweeteners in coffee, and as an alternative to honey as a condiment for cheeses.
  •  
    Crown Maple Extra Dark for Cooking

  • Tasting Notes: A robust maple syrup with a great depth of flavor, richness and a bright finish.
  • Uses: For cooking and baking. The richness shines through even the boldest of food pairings.
  •  
    Where To Purchase

    A 12-ounce bottle, gift boxed, is $16.95; a samplers of all three is $59.95; and a “petite trio” of three small bottles (1.7 ounces each) is $15.95. An 12-ounce bottle of Extra Dark Syrup for Cooking is $27.95.

    A 10-ounce bag of maple sugar (see below) is 10.95.

    Buy them online at CrownMaple.com.

     
    MORE ABOUT WAFFLES

    The Ur-Waffle. Before there were modern waffles, there were the rustic hotcakes of the Neolithic Age (ca. 6000 B.C.E. to ca. 2000 B.C.E.). Made of cereal pulps, they were cooked on heated stones. Honey is as old as written history, dating back to 2100 B.C.E., where it was mentioned in Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Hittite code and the sacred writings of India and Egypt. We don’t know when man first decided to unite honey and hotcakes, but here’s the honey history.

    The Waffle Iron. The waffle iron—enabling pancake-type foods to be turned into textured waffles—was created in the 1200s, when a [presumably] pancake-loving craftsman combined cooking plates that reproduced a pattern of honeycombs.

    The Electric Waffle Iron. The electric waffle iron was introduced in 1911 by General Electric.

    Types Of Waffles. There are at least 11 varieties of waffles: American, Belgian/Brussels, Liège, Hong Kong Waffle, Krumcake, Malt, Pizzelle, Potato, Soft, Stroopwafel and, yes, Toaster. Take a look at the types of waffles.

    Here’s the complete history of waffles.

    The Center Of Syrup. Canada produces more than 80% of the world’s maple syrup, the vast majority in Quebec. Vermont is the biggest U.S. producer, followed by New York and Maine. But no matter how much is produced in the U.S., we need to import the majority of our syrup from Canada. (We have the trees to produce more syrup, but not the people who want to tap them.)

     
    RECIPE: HOMEMADE WAFFLES WITH A TWIST

    Here’s a recipe from Crown that uses maple sugar instead of table sugar for even more maple flavor.

    Ingredients For 6 Large Waffles

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple sugar (see note below
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups warm milk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT waffle iron to desired temperature.

    2. COMBINE all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl and set aside.

    3. BEAT eggs in a separate bowl; stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Pour milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended.

    4. LADLE batter into heated waffle iron and cook until golden brown; serve immediately with maple syrup.

     

    WHAT IS MAPLE SUGAR

    Maple sugar is made from the sap from the maple tree, as opposed to the juice of sugar cane, from which table sugar is made. It has the same strong maple flavor and aroma as maple syrup.

    The sap is boiled until almost all of the water has been evaporated; the remaining product has crystallized. The sugar can be sold in large blocks, molded into small shapes or simply ground into a granulated version that can be used like regular sugar.

    Maple sugar can be used in the same way as cane sugar: in coffee, tea, baked goods and cocktails. It adds more complexity and richness than cane sugar.

    However, is almost twice as sweet as regular sugar, so when replacing cane sugar, you need to reduce the amount. Try using one-third less, and adjust to taste.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Avocado & Sour Cream On Toast

    Avocado and sour cream on toast is a favorite breakfast of Chef Lorena Garcia.

    It looks like poached eggs, but it’s sour cream atop the chopped avocado.

    And while it’s a south-of-the-border concept, it’s a great green dish for St. Patrick’s Day. Not everything has to be corned beef, cabbage and soda bread.

    RECIPE: AVOCADO ON TOAST

    Ingredients

  • Toasted peasant bread or rye bread
  • Avocado, sliced, cubed or otherwise cut up
  • Sour cream
  • Garnish: minced chives, chile flakes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TOAST bread. Top with avocado slices.

     

    avocado-toast-cheflorenagarcia-230

    Delicious anytime, try it for breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy Chef Lorena Garcia.

     

    2. GARNISH with sour cream, minced chives and chili flakes.

      

    Comments

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