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Archive for Breakfast

TIP OF THE DAY: Overnight Breakfast & Brunch Casseroles

Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns were the biggest treat of our childhood breakfasts: Better than waffles or pancakes.

The Horn & Hardart Automat, Americas’s first fast food chain, had such popular items that customers clamored to take them home. They set up a retail arm to package and sell some of them in retail stores.

Our family devoured many boxes of the honey buns. Today, they’d be called pecan sticky buns.

Cinnamon Vs. Sticky Buns: The Difference

The terms are often used interchangeably, but there are two categories of sweet yeast buns: cinnamon buns and honey (now called sticky) buns. Other terms include cinnamon rolls, cinnamon swirls, honey buns and sticky buns, among others (cinnamon pecan rolls, e.g.).

All are made with a cinnamon swirl inside; all may have raisins as well.

But a honey bun or sticky bun needs to have a sticky topping: caramel, honey, maple syrup or sugar syrup). These typically have a garnish of nuts. Those topped with white icing fall into the cinnamon bun category.

And only the sticky bun has its own holiday: National Sticky Bun Day is February 21st.

Now: What if you could bake a pan of sticky buns or cinnamon buns with ease, and bring them to the table warm and fragrant?

If this sounds like your kind of good time, McCormick has created the easiest recipe, an “overnight” casserole (plus another for blueberry muffins, below).
 
The Easiest Way To Make “Cinnamon Buns”

You mix five ingredients together the night before—bread, milk, cinnamon and vanilla—just 10 minutes of prep time.

The next morning, just bake the casserole for 25 minutes until golden brown. It then gets a drizzle of cream cheese frosting: 30 minutes total.

We served it yesterday, and a very good time was had by all—with some leftover for today.

While the recipe is a casserole, you slice it into square, bun-size pieces. The difference:

  • Conventional buns are individually shaped and then baked together side-by-side in a pan, and then pulled apart.
  • The casserole has bread cubes like a bread pudding. It bakes as whole and is then cut into pieces.
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    RECIPE #1: OVERNIGHT CINNAMON ROLLS

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 12 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 loaf brioche or challah bread, cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the eggs, 1-1/2 cups of the milk, 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon, 3 teaspoons of the vanilla and the baking powder in large bowl until well blended. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat well.

    2. GENTLY POUR into a 13″ x 9″ baking dish, sprayed with no stick cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Remove casserole from refrigerator. Mix the melted butter, brown sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon of cinnamon in small bowl until well blended. Drizzle the over casserole. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes.

    4. BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile…

    5. MAKE the cream cheese topping. Mix the cream cheese, confectioners sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla in small bowl until smooth. Slowly stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons milk.

    6. REMOVE the casserole from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Drizzle over the casserole before serving.

       

    Cinnamon Roll Casserole

    Cinnamon Roll Casserole

    Sticky Buns

    Cinnamon Rolls

    [1] and [2] Overnight Cinnamon Roll Casserole. See the process step by step, from Gimme Some Oven. [3] Side-by-side cinnamon rolls (white icing) and sticky buns (with nuts, photo courtesy Wolferman’s). [4] Conventional: Individual cinnamon buns are placed side-by-side in the pan (here’s the recipe from The Baker Chick).

     
    ROLL OR BUN: THE DIFFERENCE

    There are many Standards Of Identity defined by the USDA and the FDA, but buns and rolls are not among them.

    Thus, there is no official answer. According to the American Institute of Baking:

  • A roll is usually a hard-crusted small bread, such as French rolls and Kaiser-rolls. However, some hard-crusted individual breads are soft, like hot dog rolls.
  • A roll can also contain a filling, such as cinnamon rolls (which, in many areas, are sold as cinnamon buns) and Danish rolls.
  • A bun is generally more bread-like in shape (round or elongated) and soft. It typically does not contain a filling. An exception to this is hot-cross buns.
  •  
    So the answer is, there is no answer. Historic, regional and family traditions often determine what is a bun and what is a roll.

    You may buy hot dog and hamburger rolls, for example; we buy buns.

     

    McCormick Blueberry Muffin Casserole

    Blueberry Muffin Casserole

    [5] Lemon Blueberry Muffin Casserole (photo courtesy McCormick). [6] A conventional blueberry muffin (here’s the recipe from Unwritten Recipes).

     

    RECIPE #2: OVERNIGHT LEMON BLUEBERRY MUFFIN CASSEROLE

    If you prefer blueberry muffins to cinnamon buns, McCormick adapted the muffin concept as well.

    Prep time is 15 minutes the night before, and cook time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

    For The Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into chunks
  •  
    For The Casserole

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon pure lemon extract*
  • 2 cups blueberries, divided
  • ________________
    *You can substitute twice as much lemon zest (2 tablespoons) for the lemon extract. You can also make your own lemon extract by soaking lemon zest in vodka for two weeks, and then straining out the zest.
    ________________
     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the streusel: Mix the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in medium bowl. Cover and set aside until ready to assemble in the morning.

     
    2. MAKE the casserole: Whisk together the eggs, 1 cup of the milk, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and the cinnamon in a large bowl until well blended. Add bread cubes and toss gently to coat.

    3. POUR evenly into 13″ x 9″ baking dish sprayed with no stick cooking spray.

    4. MIX the cream cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons each of milk and sugar, and the lemon extract in a medium bowl, until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the blueberries. Spread evenly on top of bread cubes. Top with the remaining 1 cup of blueberries. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    5. PREHEAT the ooven to 350°F. Remove the casserole from refrigerator and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile…

    6. CUT the butter into the streusel mixture with a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easier Soft Boiled Eggs & Easter Breakfast

    Some people have never had a hot, runny, seductive soft boiled egg.

    That’s because they’re such a pain to peel when hot that even most restaurants don’t offer them.

    Soft boiled eggs were popular in our family. Nana had a set of vintage silver-plated egg cups; Mom had ceramic cups.

    The eggs were served with “toast soldiers” (photo #2): slices of toasted bread cut into half-inch vertical strips, for dipping into the yolk. (In the photo, the soldiers are topped with lots of yummy salmon caviar.)

    Soft boiled eggs have long been popular among those who could afford the egg cups: Egg cups were found in the ruins of Pompeii.

    No egg cups? Small ramekins, juice glasses and even some cocktail glasses will work. You can also nestle the egg in rock salt (photo #3) or small pebbles.

    You can even make origami egg cups (photo #5). Just follow the video below or this visual from Gathering Beauty.

    TAKING THE TOP OFF THE EGG

  • Nana’s Spoon Method: With a teaspoon tap the top of the cooked egg several time to crack the top of the shell. Place the tip of the spoon under a crack and slice through the egg, lifting the top half inch off as work around.
  • Mom’s Knife Method: With a regular flatware knife, whack the top of the egg as if the knife were a guillotine. For a more pleasant visual, then, as if you were one of Napoleon’s Hussars, whacking the neck off a Champagne bottle with your saber [the technique is called sabotage]). This should cut through the shell and most of the egg. Use the knife to lift off the top of the egg.
  •  
    We are incapable of doing either of these correctly. With the spoon, we end up with fragmented pieces of shell. With the knife, the force can end up spilling yolk.

    Practice makes perfect, but we found a better solution: an egg cutter, also known as an egg topper. It’s an inexpensive gadget and takes up very little room in the gadget drawer.

  • Our Egg Cutter Method: Place the egg cutter (photo #4) around the top half inch of the egg. Squeeze to cut. Remove the top.
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    EASTER EGGS

    Dye The Eggs: Photo #1 shows how they do it at Petrossian.

    Top With Caviar: For Easter or other festive occasion, top your eggs with affordable caviar: capelin, lumpfish, salmon, tobiko, trout or whitefish roe.

    For bright colors, we’re partial to salmon caviar or colored and flavored whitefish roe. (For sturgeon caviar, we waive this suggestion.)

    Check out the different types of caviar and roe* in our Caviar Glossary.

    FOR SCRAMBLED EGGS

    If you want to fill the egg shells with scrambled eggs, you need to sterilize the insides of the shells or else (far easier) buy pasteurized eggs, such as Davidson’s Safest Choice.

    Here are instructions to sterilize the shells from Rem Cooks.

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    *The Difference Between Roe And Caviar

    All caviar is roe, the uncooked eggs of any fish. While caviar has traditionally referred only to sturgeon roe, the roe of many (or any) fish is now commonly called caviar. In the U.S., it is legally permissible to call any roe caviar as long as the fish is identified, e.g. salmon caviar.

    As food writers, we prefer to use the latter with the fish identified, even if it is sturgeon caviar. There are enough different kinds of sturgeon caviar, that even confining the word to sturgeon requires a modifier: beluga caviar, Black Sea caviar, Iranian osetra caviar, farmed white sturgeon caviar, etc.

    By the way, caviar is not a Russian word, nor is it used by Russian speakers. Khaviar, meaning eggs, is of Persian origin, found in the Iranian and Turkish languages. Russian speakers use the word ikroj (pronounced EEK-ruh, with a rolle “r”) for all roe, and use a modifier (beluga, salmon) to specify which type. Habitués of sushi bars will note that the Japanese adapted this word into ikura, salmon roe.

     

    caviar-easter-eggs-petrossian-230sq

    Salmon Caviar Egg

    Caviar Egg

    Egg Cutter

    Origami Egg Cups

    [1] For Easter, dye the eggs after you’ve cooked them (photo courtesy Petrossian). [2] Salmon caviar and toast “soldiers” (photo courtesy Le Coq Rico | NYC. [3] No egg cups? Use rock salt (photo courtesy Sturia Caviar). [4] Or make origami egg cups, with these instructions from Gathering Beauty. [5] How to cut the tops from the eggs (cutter from Amazon)..

     
    HOW TO MAKE ORIGAMI EGG CUPS

    There are several origami egg cup tutorials on YouTube. This one is the slowest (i.e., easiest to follow).
     
     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bone Broth For Breakfast

    Breakfast Soup With Hard Boiled Egg

    Chicken Bone Broth

    [1] A hot, hearty, nutritious breakfast (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [2] You can buy bone broth in multiple or individual serving sizes (photo courtesy Appetite For Health).

     

    Over the last couple of years, bone broth—made from the bones of beef or chicken—has become the nutrition du jour, for lunch, dinner, and for breaks during the day.

    How about for breakfast? In Asia, soup is a breakfast standard.

    It’s hot, hearty, nourishing comfort food.

    And you can make it with whatever you like.

    We adapted this recipe from one by Good Eggs.

    You can substitute whatever broth you prefer (miso, pho, etc.). You can buy the packaged broth, and even individual portions of it (such as with Nona Lim’s and Pacific brands).

    If you have other vegetables in the crisper, or a piece of leftover chicken, just cut or shred them and toss them in.

    If you’d like tofu instead of ramen, ditto.

    And if you’d like to have the broth for lunch or a snack, no one will question your judgment.
     
     
    RECIPE: BREAKFAST SOUP WITH BONE BROTH

    Ingredients For 3 Servings

  • 12 ounces broth
  • 5 ounces (one packet) ramen
  • 1 head bok choy or ½ head chard or kale, sliced into ½” ribbons
  • 3 scallions, green and white parts chopped roughly
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped roughly (substitute mint, basil, parsley, chervil)
  • Optional: hot sauce or other favorite seasoning
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the broth, diluting with water as desired. When the broth boils, add the ramen and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the greens and scallions, and any extra vegetables or proteins.

    2. SIMMER for another 3-5 minutes, until the greens are bright and tender but still have texture.

    3. BOIL a small pot of water, add the eggs and simmer for 7 minutes and 20 seconds. Remove from the water and place in an ice bath. Peel them when they are touchable.

    4. PORTION the broth into bowls, along with halved egg. Garnish with herbs as desired.
     
      

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    RECIPE: Peanut Butter & Jelly Waffles

    Peanut Butter & Jelly Waffle Sandwich

    Smooth Operator Peanut Butter

    Fancy Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

    [1] A different kind of peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Photo courtesy Cait’s Plate. [2] You can also celebrate with peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies. Here’s the recipe from Chef de Home. [3] Don’t want waffles? Here’s a special way to celebrate with a sandwich (photo courtesy Jif).

     

    April 2nd is National Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich. It’s easy to whip up a sandwich; but more special to make a waffle sandwich.

    We’re making waffle sandwiches, inspired by a recipe from Cait’s Plate.

    We used Peanut Butter & Co.’s Smooth Operator, but you can use any flavor of any brand you like.

    Peanut Butter & Co.’s other peanut butter flavors include The Bee’s Knees (honey), Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, Crunch Time, Dark Chocolate Dreams, The Heat Is On, Mighty Maple, Old Fashioned Crunchy, Old Fashioned Smooth and White Chocolate Wonderful.

    We used Smooth Operator and Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Spread in Strawberry. We made our own waffles from scratch. Frozen just doesn’t do it for us.

    But if you use store-bought waffles, you’ll be ready to eat in five minutes.

    RECIPE: PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY WAFFLES

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • Waffles of choice
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons jelly or jam of choice, or more to taste
  • Optional layer: sliced bananas
  • Optional garnish: berries or other fruit
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the waffles. Spread with peanut butter and jelly, add the optional bananas and stack into a “sandwich.”
     
    P.B. & J. IN THE U.S.A.

    Last year, Smucker’s conducted a study on America’s favorite comfort foods. The winner was PB&J.

    Comforting America through thick and thin, rich and poor, crunchy and creamy, the survey revealed that PB&J is beloved across all generations.

  • 30% of Americans say a PB&J sandwich is their number one choice for comfort food, followed by macaroni and cheese (21%) and grilled cheese (19%)
  • 30% of Americans are most likely to eat a PB&J sandwich when packing/making one for their child.
  • 60% of Moms say a PB&J sandwich is the easiest lunch to make.
  • 57% of Dads say a PB&J sandwich is the easiest lunch to make.
  • 48% of millennials say a PB&J sandwich is their go-to lunch item.
  • 37% of millennials eat a PB&J sandwich about two or more times per week.
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    HOW PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY CAME TO BE

    Jelled, crushed fruits have been around since ancient times. It took a couple of additional millennia for peanut butter to appear.

    Peanut butter was developed in 1880 by a St. Louis doctor, to provide a protein food for people who had lost their chewing teeth. In those days, peanut butter was scooped out of barrels by the corner grocer.

     
    Thanks to the proselytizing of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who owned a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, peanut butter became popular at health spas (sanitariums).

    It was lapped up by the rich and famous who populated the spas, and the recipe returned home with them. Peanut butter was the fad food of the elite. It moved into the mainstream only after the elite market was saturated.

    According to Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea by Andrew F. Smith

    Peanut butter became a trend (in the old days, a “fad”). According to sources in The Story Behind The Dish, peanut butter was originally paired [on crackers or tea sandwiches] with celery, cheese, nasturtium, pimento and watercress.

    Here’s more on the history of peanut butter.

    In a Good Housekeeping article published in May 1896, a recipe “urged homemakers to use a meat grinder to make peanut butter and spread the result on bread.” The following month, the culinary magazine Table Talk published a “peanut butter sandwich recipe.”

    The History Of The Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

    According to The Story Behind The Dish: Classic American Foods by Mark McWilliams, the first published recipe for peanut butter and jelly on bread was from Julia Davis Chandler in 1901.

    The recipe also appeared in the 1901 Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics, edited by Fanny Farmer.

    It helped that peanut butter became popular around the time that sandwiches were becoming common lunch food in the U.S. According to McWilliams, they really “burst onto the scene in 1920s.”

    Check out the history of peanut butter and the history of jelly

    For the rest of PB&J sandwich, here are the history of bread, and the history of waffles.

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Easter Toast

    Easter Toast

    Arla Blueberry Cream Cheese

    Easter egg toast. Use the same concept for Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine and other “holiday toast” (photos courtesy Arla USA).

     

    Make Easter egg toast as a holiday treat.

    These were made with blueberry cream cheese from Arla USA, maker of cream cheese spreads in blueberry, herbs & spices, peppercorn, original and lite.

    You can bring these toasts ready-made to the table, or bring the individual ingredients for an assemble-your-own activity.

    Use the same concept for Christmas toast, Independence Day Toast, St. Patrick’s Day toast, Valentine toast, and so on.
     
    RECIPE: EASTER TOAST

    Ingredients

  • Toasted bread of choice*
  • Cream cheese(s) of choice, e.g. plain and flavored, room temperature
  • Fruits of choice, e.g. apple slices, blueberries, grapes, raspberries
  • Vegetables of choice, e.g. bell pepper strips, chives/scallions, grape tomatoes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the fruits and vegetables into halves, coins or matchsticks, as desired.

    2. CUT the toast into ovals using a large, sharp scissors. You can buy oval cookie cutters, but we printed out an oval template, cut out and placed over the toast as a guideline.

    3. ASSEMBLE and serve.

     
    USES FOR THE TOAST TRIMMINGS

    Don’t toss the toast trimmings. If you’re not the type to nibble as you cook, then:

  • Pulse them into breadcrumbs.
  • Use as croutons to top soups and salads.
  • Toss into omelets or garnish scrambles.
  • Make a savory parfait: cottage cheese and/or plain yogurt layered with toast bits and herbs.
  • Top an open-face sandwich.
  • Feed birds.
  •  

    ________________

    *Avoid thick slices or dense breads stuffed with dried fruits and nuts. They’re not as easy to cut into neat ovals.

     
      

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