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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

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

    PRODUCT: Modern Oats

    nuts-and-seeds-modernoats-230-border

    A better breakfast option than many, but still
    high in sugar. Photo courtesy Modern Oats.

     

    Modern Oats is a packaging concept that puts oatmeal in a grab-and-go mode.

    All you have to do is add hot water to cover the oats in the coated paper container, put the lid back on, wait 10 minutes and enjoy. No microwave is required, and the colorful packaging gives a boost to starting the day.

    The rolled oats are grown by family farmers in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They are minimally processed by steaming and flaking; you look into the carton and see what looks like “real oats,” instead of the small particles familiar to consumers of instant oatmeal. The oat flakes provide a textural differences that deliver a more solid bite (and, the company says, optimal absorption of nutrients).

    Modern Oats are produced in a 100% gluten free facility and are certified GF, Non-GMO, Halal, Kosher, Vegan and 100% Whole Grain. (Whew: There’s no more room left on the carton for any more certifications).

    Oats are naturally gluten free*, and are the only major grain proven to help blood cholesterol†.

     
    A MODERN BREAKFAST OPTION

    The containers were initially intended to be sold in coffee shops and other convenience locations, for a suggested retail of of $3.25 per cup. The brand’s parent company, Innovative Beverage Concepts Inc., develops products for cafés.

    While retail prices vary widely, we were surprised at the cost to buy them online:

  • On Amazon.com, a 12-pack is $44.00, or $3.67 per unit; in (individual flavors or a variety pack.
  • You can buy six-packs on the Modern Oats website for $21.00, or $3.50 per unit.
  •  
    Depending on how much you typically spend on breakfast, it could be a wash, a bargain or a convenience premium that’s worth it for the fiber grain infusion (one serving delivers 28% of the recommended Daily Value of whole grains).

    Or, you could cook up a weekly batch of steel-cut oats every Sunday, bring the portion to work and heat in the office microwave. If you enjoy your oats without sugar or with a noncaloric sweetener, you can also save the not-insignificant sugar calories in the various flavors:

  • Apple Walnut: 310 calories, 17g sugar
  • Chocolate Cherry: 310 calories, 20 g sugar, 9g protein, 7g fiber
  • 5 Berry: 250 calories, 46g sugar, 9g protein, 7g fiber
  • Goji Blueberry: 310 calories, 18g sugar, 9g protein, 8g fiber
  • Mango Blackberry: 300 calories, 20g sugar, 9g protein, 7g fiber
  • Nuts & Seeds: 280 calories, 14g sugar, 8g protein, 6g fiber
  •  
    But, there’s just as much—if not more—sugar in many of the foods we pick up for breakfast. Interestingly, a Pop Tart, though empty calories, has fewer calories and the same amount of sugar.

    And if you think you’re not getting sugar in that bagel and cream cheese, check again. According to Self nutrition data, a small plain bagel, half to one-third the size of today’s supersized bagels, has 6g of sugar.

    Is a cup of Modern Oats better than grabbing a bagel or a pastry? Absolutely!
     
    *In the milling and processing process, oats are susceptible to cross-contamination; so that not all oatmeal and other oat products are gluten free. /font>

    †Eating three grams of soluble fiber from oats each day, as part of a diet that’s low in fat and cholesterol, has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. This may reduce the risk of heart disease.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE FOOD: Heart Shaped Bagels

    When bagels are made, ropes of dough are twisted into the familiar circular shape.

    So why not twist them into heart shapes?

    That’s what the bagel makers at Einstein Bros. Bagels and Noah’s New York Bagels have done—and they’ve thrown in some dried cranberries to replace the raisins in a cinnamon-raisin bagel.

    The love-worthy bagels are available at select locations through February 14th.

    To go with your bagels, how about making cranberry, strawberry or raspberry cream cheese? Even if you only have conventional bagels, pink cream cheese will make your Valentine’s Day breakfast special.

     

    bagels-valentine-valentine-einsteinbros-230b

    Love thy cranberry bagel. Photo courtesy Einstein Bros.

     

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE

    Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup berries, hulled; or substitute 2 tablespoons cranberry, strawberry or raspberry preserves and omit the confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • Optional:1 tablespoon orange zest
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and well blended.

    2. REFRIGERATE until needed. Ideally make the day before to let flavors blend.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE FOOD: Strawberry Banana Pancake Stack

    Enjoy this special occasion pancake stack for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or other occasion when taking the extra step makes a big hit with family and guests. The pancake “cake” is sliced into six wedges.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes. Thanks to Hungry Jack Pancakes for the recipe.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY BANANA PANCAKE
    STACK

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 cups pancake mix
  • 1-1/3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • Butter flavor no-stick cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter*, divided
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced
  •  

    A pretty pancake stack to share. Photo
    courtesy Hungry Jack.

  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam, divided
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, divided
  • Whipped cream or whipped topping
  • Pancake syrup
  •  
    *This recipe used Jif Whips Whipped Creamy Peanut Butter. We wanted to add a touch of chocolate, so used the companion product, Jif Whipped Peanut Butter & Chocolate Flavored Spread.

     

    jif-whips-chocolate-spread-230

    Jif Whips is made in creamy peanut butter
    and this chocolate peanut butter spread.
    Photo courtesy Jif.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 375°F.

    2. STIR pancake mix, milk, oil and eggs in large bowl until smooth. Let stand 3 minutes.

    3. COAT a griddle or large skillet with no-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat (375°). Make 7 large pancakes, seven inches in diameter, in batches, by pouring a scant 1/2 cup batter for each pancake onto hot griddle to form 7-inch circle. Cook until bubbles appear and edges are dry, about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Turn and cook an additional 1 minute or until golden brown.

    4. PLACE 1 pancake on oven-safe serving plate; spread with 1/3 cup peanut butter. Top with another pancake. Completely cover surface with banana slices. Top with third pancake; spread with 1/4 cup strawberry jam. Completely cover surface with 1 cup sliced strawberries, mounding strawberries near outside edge. Repeat all layers. Top with remaining pancake. Cover with foil.

     

    5. BAKE 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through. Insert 6 decorative wooden skewers into stack-up, if desired, to secure each wedge. Cut into wedges. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired. Serve with syrup.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Breakfast Cupcakes

    What’s the difference between a cupcake and a muffin?

    Cupcakes have a finer crumb (from using cake flour versus all-purpose flour), a bit more sugar and are iced, adding even more sugar.

    While muffins do have somewhat less sugar, don’t let the name lull you into a sense of “better for you”: They are cake rather than bread.

    The line between cupcakes and muffins can be thin indeed, as you can see in these “breakfast cupcakes” from the blog Lovely Little Kitchen (photo at right; here’s the recipe).

    Both the frosting and the cupcake batter contain Greek yogurt, which delivers more protein and less fat. They cupcakes contain two cups of zucchini and are garnished with heart-healthy almonds.

    After you make the first batch, you can decide to lower the sugar, substitute agave or honey, use whole wheat flour, etc. (Look online for how to substitute—slight adjustments are necessary.)

    Here’s a fun breakfast idea:

     

    zucchini-almond-cupcakes-lovelylittlekitchen-230

    This a zucchini almond cupcake is the fraternal twin of a zucchini muffin. Photo courtesy Lovely Little Kitchen.

     

    Buy or bake carrot or zucchini muffins made with whole wheat or other whole grain flour (brown rice flour, cornmeal, whole oats, blends, etc.) Both the flour and the vegetables provide added fiber. Let everyone ice and garnish their own.

  • Icing options: nonfat versions of cream cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, plain or sweetened with agave, honey or a non-nutritive sweetener
  • Nuts: chopped, sliced or whole smaller nuts (pistachios and pine nuts, for example)
  • Seeds: chia, flax, hemp, pomegranate, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • Fruit: fresh or dried berries, dried cherries or cranberries, raisins or other favorites
  •  
    While you can’t call these cupcakes health food, the are a better alternative to conventional muffins and breakfast pastries—not to mention cupcakes.

    And they help you get some nutrition into the breakfast-resistant.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: MAKE A STRATA

    Looking at a lot of leftovers today? Make a strata!

    A strata is a layered casserole, related by eggs and cheese to a fritatta or quiche, made from a mixture of bread, eggs and cheese plus any vegetables and proteins you have on hand. You can serve it for any meal, from breakfast through dinner.

    Wile it sounds Italian, the strata is actually American in origin. The earliest recipe has been found in a 1902 book, Handbook of Household Science. That first recipe used white sauce instead eggs.

    Today’s variations include everything from sweet stratas like French Toast Strata to savory stratas, like the recipe below. A strata can make good use of leftovers:

  • Breads: baguette, brioche, challah, cornbread, panettone, whole grain, seasoned bread crumbs for topping, stuffing or any type of bread
  • Cheese: any type at all, from blue, goat and feta to cheddar, gruyère and mozzarella
  • Seasonings: chile, garlic, pesto, etc.
  • Fruits: apples, berries, dried fruits (including raisins), pineapple
  • Meats: Bacon, chicken, ham, sausage
  • Onions: caramelized onions, chives, leeks,
  • Crab, smoked salmon, tuna, any leftovers
  •  

    Yummy layers of eggs, bread and any leftovers you have. Photo courtesy National Pork Board.

  • Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, herbs, mushroom, spinach, potato, pumpkin, tomato, zucchini
  •  
    Here are hundreds of strata recipes.

    This recipe is from the National Pork Board, which has many delicious recipes at PorkBeInspired.com.

    RECIPE: PORK ROAST STRATA WITH GREEN CHILES & GOAT CHEESE

    The National Pork Board says: This recipe is wonderful for Christmas morning or New Year’s Day because it takes advantage of the previous night’s leftover roast. You can substitute cooked sausage—breakfast or Italian—or even diced ham for the pork. On the side, serve a citrus and avocado salad and cinnamon-laced coffee.

     

    Don’t like goat cheese? Bell peppers?
    Whatever? Substitute an ingredient you do
    like. Photo courtesy iGourmet.com.

     

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 12 ounces cooked roast pork, shredded or cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 5 cups)
  • Oil spray
  • 12 ounces crusty Italian or French bread, with crusts, cut or torn into 3/4-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
  • 1 7-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) spreadable goat cheese, crumbled*
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 7 large eggs
  • 3 cups milk (regular or lowfat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. SPRAY a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking oil. Arrange 1/2 of the bread in the dish. Top with 1/2 of the pork, 1/2 of the chiles, 1/2 of the cheese, and 1/2 of the sage. Repeat 1 time, making 2 layers. Set aside.

    3. WHISK the eggs in a large bowl; then whisk in the milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over casserole and set aside for 20 minutes, pressing on the bread occasionally to help it absorb the liquid.

    4. BAKE until browned and the center is set, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

     
    *Don’t buy pre-crumbled goat cheese; it doesn’t melt as well.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pandoro Star Shaped French Toast

    Turn star-shaped pandoro into holiday French
    toast. Photo courtesy Giovanni Rana
    Pastificio & Cucina | NYC.

     

    At least three famous Italian Christmas sweet breads are imported to the U.S.: panettone (a Milanese specialty), panforte (originally from Sienna) and pandoro (from Verona). Most regions have their own Christmas bread recipes.

    Panettone is a yeast loaf packed with candied fruits and raisins; panforte is a short, dense loaf with spices honey; and pandoro is an eggy yeast bread made in an eight-pointed star shape, topped with icing or confectioners’ sugar.

    All have become popular gift items—the equivalent of the English fruitcake.

    As with any prepared food, brands range from mediocre to magnificent. Chef Francesco Berardinelli of Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market prefers the Perbellini brand, which others also feel is the best brand in Italy. You can get it in the U.S. from A.G. Ferrari: sweet, light and delicate yet rich.

    Here’s his recipe for Pandoro French Toast, a lovely star-shaped breakfast treat; you can also serve the French toast with fried chicken, instead of waffles; or serve it à la mode or with whipped cream for dessert.

     

    RECIPE: PANDORO FRENCH TOAST

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 1 slice pandoro bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom honey, or to taste
  • 5 whole strawberries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. CUT a 1-inch thick slice of pandoro.

    2. MIX the eggs and cream in a bowl. Submerge both sides of the pandoro in the mix.

    3. MELT the butter in a hot sauté pan and sear the bread on both sides.

    4. GARNISH with confectioners’ sugar, orange honey and sliced strawberries.
     
    Variations

  • Substitute strawberry butter for the honey.
  • Add orange zest to the cream mix.
  • If you don’t have orange blossom honey, use the honey you do have.
  •  

    Pandoro is molded into an eight-point star and typically topped with confectioners’ sugar or icing. Photo courtesy Know.brrp.com.

    OTHER THINGS TO DO WITH PANDORO

  • Make breakfast toast, served with butter and marmalade.
  • Make baked French toast, which surrounds the pandoro with rich custard (here’s a recipe).
  • Slice it and layer with custard, fruit curd or icing into a stacked “Christmas tree.”
  • Eat for dessert with a glass of sweet wine; crème fraîche, mascarpone or whipped cream optional.
  • Make bread pudding or trifle.
  •  
    Other ideas? Let us know.

      

    Comments

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