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Archive for Breakfast

TRENDS: Breakfast For Dinner

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This idea, from Krusteaz, adds peanut butter
and jelly for a riff on the PB&J sandwich.
Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Krusteaz.

 

Can it be true that 9 out of 10 Americans enjoy Breakfast Night?

After a long day of tasting foods for THE NIBBLE, we often welcome a simple dinner of cereal, eggs or French toast. But we are not alone; we’re part of the 90 percent!

Krusteaz, maker of premium pancake, waffle and other baking mixes, has just released the results of its annual breakfast survey, a national poll conducted by an independent research firm*. Breakfast for Dinner continues to be a popular trend in the U.S.

  • More than half of the survey participants enjoy Breakfast Night dinners once a month or more, with nearly 25% eating Breakfast For Dinner once a week.
  • Those with children at home are somewhat more likely to eat breakfast for dinner (94% vs. 88% without kids in the house). For 30% of families, Breakfast Night is a weekly affair that’s either “very enjoyable” or their “absolute favorite.”
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    In a shift from 2014, more kids are helping out in the kitchen. Thirty-nine percent of responders said that Breakfast Night preparation is a “joint effort,” compared to just 17% of last year’s survey participants.

     
    What makes Breakfast Night so popular?

  • Thirty-eight percent of survey participants noted that having all the ingredients on hand is the main appeal.
  • Thirty-five percent cite the “love” of breakfast food (the comfort food factor?).
  • Thirty-one percent like that it is easier and faster than preparing a traditional dinner.
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    Families with children at home are more likely to use Breakfast Night as family night, when Dad’s in charge, and for celebratory occasions such as birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

    Krusteaz has selected Wednesday dinner to be Breakfast Night. Need recipes? Head to Krusteaz.com.

     
    *The Breakfast for Dinner survey was conducted by ORC International on behalf of Krusteaz. Findings are based on an online survey of 2,033 U.S. adults ages 18 and older in August 2015.
     
    THE HISTORY OF MEAL TIMES

    The history of meal times could fill a large book. The number of meals consumed per day differs greatly from culture to culture, by era and by socioeconomic status.

    In Europe alone, the name of the meal and time of day vary widely. Depending on the era, dinner could be in the morning or late afternoon. In the millennia before electricity, people lived differently than we do, typically retiring at nightfall. In the winter, that meant the last meal of the day was what we might call a late lunch.

    Thanks to FoodTimeline.org for most of this information:

  • In ancient Greece meal times were variable, but a midday meal was usually called ariston lunch… and an evening meal deipnon, dinner. The latter was typically the biggest meal of the day, and for some of the poor, the only meal.
  • In medieval times, the very poor ate when they could (as was true since the beginning of mankind), but the slightly better-off peasants ate three times a day: breakfast at a very early hour, dinner at about 9 a.m. and supper before it got dark, which could be as early as 3 p.m. in the winter.
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  • In Christian countries, the times and number of meals were originally derived from the hours of devotions of the Church. Monks ate their main meal after the celebration of nones, which was nine hours after daybreak—some time between midday and 3 p.m. The evening meal was after vespers, around sunset. For lay people, to break one’s fast after devotions was the general procedure.
  • Through the Renaissance, the larger meal was the prandium, or dinner, at ten or eleven in the morning. Supper, coena in Latin, was served around six in the evening. Most authors agreed that two meals a day were sufficient, although the English vehemently defended their custom of taking breakfast.
  • Breakfast was not a popular meal elsewhere. Writings suggest that it was only eaten by children and laborers. But by the 15th century it was commonly consumed by everyone. However, a 1478 household ordinance of Edward IV specified that only residents down to the rank of squires should be given breakfast, except by special order (sounds like budgeting).
  • At some point, there were four meals a day: breakfast, dinner, nuntions or nuncheons (eaten by workmen around noon) and late supper.
  • With the advent of oil lamps, the evening meal was served later in the day. In southern Europe, where the evening meal was the largest of the day, breakfast did not become important—merely coffee and perhaps a piece of bread or a pastry.
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    English Breakfast

    This is just part of an English breakfast,
    which can also include porridge, fruit,
    baked beans and other favorites. The practice of eating a large breakfast emerged in the 19th century. Photo © Indigolotos | 123rf.

  • In England and northern Europe, by the 18th century breakfast was the norm, eaten around 9 or 10 a.m. In the 19th century breakfast emerged as a full and sumptuous meal with bacon, eggs and even steaks for those who could afford them. Afternoon tea, as a snack between lunch and dinner, was created in 1840 by Anna, Seventh Duchess of Bedford (here’s the history of afternoon tea).
  • Thus, the three-meals-a-day practice is a relatively recent phenomenon—and of course only relates to those who could afford three meals a day.
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    FOOD FUN: Blueberry Yogurt Toast

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    Toast as modern art. Photo courtesy Martin’s Famous Pastry Shop.

     

    For Back To School or Back To Work, here’s a fun approach to morning toast from Martin’s Famous Pastry Shop, bakers of potato rolls and potato bread.

    Pick Your Bread

  • Crusty peasant bread
  • Potato bread
  • Raisin bread
  • Semolini bread
  • Whole grain bread (especially with seeds!)
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    Pick Your Spread*

  • Greek yogurt with fruit
  • Labneh (yogurt cheese*)
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Seasoned Greek yogurt or tzatziki
  • Non-yogurt substitute: cream cheese, goat cheese
  • For The Topping

  • Fresh blueberries
  • Dried blueberries or other dried fruit (cherries, cranberries)
  •  

    *Labneh is a thick, creamy, tangy fresh cheese, often called “yogurt cheese” in the U.S. It’s a mainstay for breakfast and snacking in the Middle East, and is available in supermarkets here.
      

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    RECIPE: Blueberry Smoothie With Almond Milk

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    A smoothie with our favorite fruits plus almond milk. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann.

     

    Having just published an article on why we love almond milk, we hasten to follow it up with an easy recipe.

    Your nutritionist would approve of this smoothie, from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann. She adds flaxseed meal for extra nutrition and enjoys it for breakfast. We enjoyed ours for mid-morning and mid- afternoon snacks.

    If you don’t have all the ingredients, just use what you have in proportion. Powdered ginger isn’t celestial like fresh ginger, but it will do.

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY BANANA MANGO SMOOTHIE

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 banana, quartered and frozen
  • ½ cup frozen mango cubes
  • ½ cup blueberries, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup nonfat plain kefir (drinkable yogurt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs for garnish
  • Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients except the mint in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour immediately into chilled tall glasses.

    2. GARNISH with a few berries and mint sprigs before serving.
     
     
    Find more delicious recipes at IngridHoffmann.com.
     
      

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    RECIPE: Fried Eggs On Rice

    Who needs toast? Serve this brunch idea from Gardenia restaurant in New York City.

    A fried or poached egg is served atop a bed of rice with roasted vegetables. It’s a yummy way to use up leftovers.

  • Use brown rice or other whole grain for more nutrition.
  • You can also use polenta or mashed potatoes for the bed.
  • If you don’t have any roasted vegetables—Gardenia used a mélange of beets, butternut squash, carrots and onions—do a quick microwave cook to soften, then sauté, what you do have.
  • A garnish of microgreens finishes the dish at Gardenia, but you can use chives, basil…or perhaps a crumbled bacon garnish?
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    A new way to enjoy fried eggs! Photo courtesy Gardenia Restaurant | NYC.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Frittata

    Making an omelet requires a bit of technique. If your omelets don’t look as lovely as you’d like, there’s an easy solution: Make a frittata!

    With an omelet, the filling ingredients are placed on the beaten eggs that are setting in the pan. As the omelet continues to cook, it is folded with a spatula to envelop the ingredients (that’s the part that requires practice, practice, practice).

    With a frittata—the name comes from the Italian friggere, to fry—the eggs and other ingredients are mixed together, then cooked more slowly than an omelet. The egg mixture completely fills a round skillet: no folding. The result looks like a crustless quiche. As with a quiche, a frittata can also be enjoyed at room temperature.

    Frittatas can be packed with vegetables, a sneaky way to get people to eat more of them. You can use the cookware you have, or consider a frittata pan (see photo below), ideal for stovetop cooking when you have to flip the frittata. Alternatively, you can bake it in the oven—no flipping needed.

       

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    Wouldn’t you like to wake up to a weekend brunch like this? It’s easy to make a frittata, watermelon and feta salad, and luscious summer tomatoes on goat cheese-topped toast.

    WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR FRITTATA

    Check the fridge: You may not have to buy anything else! Frittatas are a great receptacle for leftovers—even cooked pasta and grains.

    Vegetables: You can add almost any vegetable* to the beaten eggs, but take advantage of the summer’s specialties: bell pepper, chanterelle mushrooms, corn, eggplant, lima beans, okra, peas, sweet onion, tomatillo, tomato, yellow squash, Yukon Gold potatoes, zucchini.

    Cheese: melting cheeses like Emmenthal/“Swiss cheese,” mozzarella and Provolone; grating cheeses such as Asiago, Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano/Parmesan and Pecorino Romano; and soft cheeses including feta and goat cheese/chèvre.

    Fish/Seafood: clams, mussels, shrimp, smoked salmon.

    Meat: ham/prosciutto, roast chicken/turkey, salame, sausage. When you make chicken or ham, set some aside for the next night’s frittata.

    Accents: capers, chiles (fresh or dried), herbs, olives, red pepper flakes.

     
    *For starters, consider artichoke, asparagus, bell pepper, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, chard, eggplant, kale, mushrooms, onion/leek/green onion, potatoes (boiled/roasted), spinach, zucchini.

     

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    A frittata pan is actually two frying pans that hook together for easy flipping, and can be easily detached for regular use. This one is a Cuisinart Frittata Pan.

     

    RECIPE: OVEN FRITTATA

    With this recipe, you can go heavy on the vegetables—2 cups instead of one. Or, you can make a cheesy frittata by adding a cup of shredded cheese instead of the second cup of vegetables.

    Some cooks start the frittata in a fry pan on the stove, then finish it in the oven. Fritattas can be cooked only on the stove top, but this means they have to be flipped—not easy for some people. Some frittatas can be cooked entirely in the oven, like this one.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetables, diced or sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella or other
    favorite)—or 1 additional cup vegetables
  • One tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (basil, dill, chives,
    oregano, parsley, rosemary, etc.)
  • Olive oil
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. While the oven heats, cook the vegetables: sauté in olive oil until tender or steam in the microwave.

    2. BEAT the eggs, herbs, pepper, salt, and Parmesan cheese together. Put a tablespoon of oil in a heavy, oven-proof skillet. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and scatter the vegetables on top.

    3. BAKE for 15 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, which will melt.

    4. SLIDE the frittata onto a serving plate. It can be served hot or at room temperature.
     
    ANOTHER TIP

    There are thousands of frittata recipes online, with the oven, stove top or stove top/broiler cooking techniques. Try them all, and see which works best for you.

      

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    JULY 4TH BREAKFAST: Yogurt Parfait With Star-Shaped Toast

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    A spectacular breakfast parfait. Photo courtesy Smucker’s.

     

    What better way to celebrate July 4th, than to wake up to a red, white and blue yogurt parfait and star-shaped toast.

    Smucker’s uses its Natural Orange Marmalade Fruit Spread, Seedless Strawberry Jam and Blueberry Preserves to make the parfait. Prep time is 20 minute, cook time is 5 minutes.

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE PARFAIT

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries or fresh red raspberries
  • 1 medium ripe banana, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1-1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 loaf (16 ounces) presliced cinnamon swirl bread, frozen until firm
  • Blueberry or strawberry jam or preserves for the toast
  • Preparation

    1. HEAT the broiler to HIGH. Combine the strawberries, banana and blueberries in medium bowl. Combine the yogurt and marmalade in separate small bowl.

    2. DIVIDE half of the fruit mixture into 4 parfait glasses. Top each with half of the yogurt mixture. Repeat the layers.

    3. CUT out 4 (1-inch) and 8 (3-inch) star shapes from frozen sliced bread using 1-inch and 3-inch cookie cutters. Place on a baking sheet. Broil five inches from the heat for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, turning when lightly toasted.

    4. PLACE one small toasted star on top of each parfait. Spread the remaining toasted stars with jam and serve with the parfaits.

     
      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Artisan Bistro Beyond Breakfast

    Artisan Bistro wants to make it easy for everyone to eat delicious, nutrition-rich meals. The company makes lunch/dinner entrees, burritos and breakfasts—single-serving frozen meals made with the best lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables and healthy fats.

    We received samples of their Beyond Breakfast line, and it was eye-opening: delicious and only 170 to 200 calories per satisfying serving. And, the entrees are microwave-cooked in just four minutes. It will cook while you’re making a cup of coffee with a single-serve machine.

    The vegetarian breakfasts use egg whites only, but you’ll never notice the absence of the yolk because each preparation is so well seasoned and the egg whites are patties shaped like a poached egg.

    In five varieties, the Beyond Breakfast options include:

  • Country-Style Potatoes & Egg, a modern twist on a classic favorite made with an egg white patty, all-natural turkey, organic kale and red potatoes finished with spicy white pepper.
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    Breakfast in a box: satisfying, nutritious, calorie-friendly. Photo courtesy Artisan Bistro.

  • Huevos Rancheros Verde, a south-of-the-border-inspired mix of an egg white patty, organic black beans, bell peppers and creamy jack cheese.
  • Italian-Style Hash & Egg, a savory blend of an egg white patty, all-natural turkey, organic asparagus, white beans and bell peppers.
  • Mediterranean Breakfast Stack, a zesty offering with an egg white patty, organic polenta, eggplant and sharp romano cheese.
  • Veggie Chorizo Huevos Rancheros, all the flavor of traditional meat chorizo in a vegetarian version, with an egg whites patty, bell peppers and jack cheese.
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    All varieties are contain 70% or more organic ingredients, no GMOs and are gluten free.

    After a week of Artisan Bistro breakfasts, We’re hooked on the flavor, ease, better nutrition and lower calories than what we usually make.

    Learn more at TheArtisanBistro.com, including a store locator.

      

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    RECIPE: Burger Eggs Benedict

    Another good idea for Father’s Day brunch: this mashup of Eggs Benedict and a burger. that’s filling enough for lunch or dinner as well.

    The recipe is courtesy Gina of Running to the Kitchen, via Safest Choice pasteurized eggs. Gina used pasteurized eggs for the blender hollandaise sauce, which is not cooked. Pasteurized eggs ensure that there are no dangerous pathogens in the raw eggs.

    Gina serves the recipe open face; but we toasted both halves of the English muffins and served the top on the side. Alternatively, you can use the muffin tops for another meal.

    Prep and cook time is 20 minutes.

    Here’s the history of Eggs Benedict.

    Here’s a Surf & Turf Eggs Benedict Recipe with filet mignon and lobster.

    Here are substitutes for the English muffin.

    RECIPE: BURGER EGGS BENEDICT

    Ingredients For 4 Burgers

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 English muffin bottoms
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Optional garnish: chives, chopped
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    open-faced-burger-eggs-benedict

    This Eggs Benedict variation substitutes a burger for the Canadian bacon! Photo courtesy SafeEggs.com.

     

    Ingredients For The Hollandaise Sauce

  • 2 pasteurized egg yolk(s)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
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    Are you hungry yet? Photo courtesy SafeEggs.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, spinach, garlic and lemon juice; cook until wilted. Transfer the spinach to a small dish and set aside.

    2. COMBINE the beef, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix together until incorporated and form into 4 patties. Cook the burgers in the same skillet used for spinach on medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes per side until desired doneness. Set the burgers aside.

    3. TOAST the English muffins.

    4. MAKE the hollandaise sauce: Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, butter and cayenne in a blender. Blend until smooth and well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Place the burger on top of the English muffin. Place the spinach on top of the burger and a poached egg on top of the spinach. Spoon the hollandaise sauce over the top, sprinkle on the optional chives and serve while warm.

     
    WHY IT’S FATHER’S DAY, NOT FATHERS’ OR FATHERS DAY

    While Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1914, Father’s Day wasn’t declared an official holiday until 1972. President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday that falls on the third Sunday in June.

    At the state level, though, the tradition began much earlier. In Washington State, Sondra Smart Dodd, inspired by a Mother’s Day sermon she attended in 1909, believed there should be a corresponding holiday to celebrate fathers. She gained support for her idea, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated by Washington State in 1910 in June, the month of her father’s birthday.

    Some people wonder why Father’s Day has an apostrophe before the “s.” The quick answer is that Mother’s Day set a precedent. The apostrophe before the “s,” a singular plural, means that Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) “belongs” to each individual father (and mother).

    If the apostrophe fell after the “s,” the possessive plural, it would be a holiday “belonging” to all fathers as a collective.

    So why does April Fools’ Day take the possessive plural rather than the singular plural? Perhaps because the individual fool doesn’t matter in the same way that each individual parent matters to his/her children.

      

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    RECIPE: Spiced Stout Waffles For Father’s Day

    Go back a couple of centuries and you’ll find that many people in Europe and America, including children, drank beer for breakfast because local water supplies were frequently contaminated.

    While your municipality takes care that no disease-producing microbes are in your tap water, you can still have beer for breakfast. Put it in your waffles!

    Here’s one of the delicious beer-infused recipes we received from the Craft Brewers Association at CraftBeer.com, contributed by Nicole, author of Dula Notes.

    Nicole uses Bell’s Double Cream Stout, one of her favorite local Michigan beers, to add spice and character to homemade waffles.

    Try it now: It might be just what you’re looking for for Father’s Day.

    And if Dad really likes stout, consider gifting him these stout glasses from Spielgau, or these from Libbey.
     
    RECIPE: WAFFLES WITH STOUT

    Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the
    waffle maker
  • 1 cup buttermilk or milk
  • 1 cup stout
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    A glass of stout. Photo courtesy Spielgau.

  • 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Real maple syrup
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    Mix stout into your waffles. Photo courtesy DulaNotes.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter in a medium pot over low heat. Add the buttermilk and stout, stir and heat until warm. Turn off the heat.

    2. COMBINE the flour, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a large bowl. Whisk to blend.

    3. WHISK the eggs in another large bowl until well beaten. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour about one cup of the warm butter/buttermilk/beer mixture into the eggs and whisk vigorously to combine. Pour the rest of the mixture into the bowl, whisking constantly.

    4. ADD the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour disappears, but the batter is still a little lumpy. Take care not overmix, but make sure that the flour is incorporated. Let the batter sit as the waffle iron heats up.

     

    5. SPREAD a thin coat of butter on the preheated waffle iron to prevent the waffles from sticking. Pour the batter into the waffle iron and cook until the waffles are golden brown. Serve immediately with maple syrup.
     
    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAPLE SYRUP & PANCAKE SYRUP?

    Check it out. And only buy real maple syrup!
     
    TYPES OF BEER

    Check out the difference between stout and other types of beer in our Beer Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory French Toast

    Saturday was always “French Toast for breakfast day” in our family. It was always sweet, with real maple syrup and fresh fruit.

    So when we came across this recipe for savory French Toast from Castello Cheese (which used its Aged Havarti in the recipe), we picked the following Saturday (yesterday) to give it a try.

    The result: a nifty breakfast option for those who don’t particularly like syrup or other sweet toppings, and a change of pace for those who do. It evokes a breakfast grilled cheese sandwich on a soft, eggy base of pan-fried bread, rather than on crisp toasted bread.

    It’s a nice change of pace. Just as you can vary the toppings on French Toast, you can use different savory toppings.

    For those of you who remember Creamed Chipped Beef On Toast, you can make a French Toast version. Use leftover beef or jerky to replace the tomato and cheese in the recipe below. No beef? Check the fridge: You can adapt just about any savory leftovers.

     

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    Savory French Toast with cheese and tomatoes. Photo courtesy Castello Cheese.

     
    Test out the recipe now: It may be just what you’re looking for for Father’s Day.

    Prep time is 40 minutes. For prettier color, look for heirloom cherry tomatoes or a mix of red, orange and yellow varieties.

    As you can see in the photo, the Castello chef used a three-inch round cookie cutter to cut the bread in circles after it comes out of the pan. We’re not so elegant; and besides, we don’t want to give up that cut-away French toast.
     
    RECIPE: SAVORY FRENCH TOAST

    Ingredients For 6 Servings
     
    For The Tomato Topping

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    For The French Toast

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (substitute Asiago or Pecorino Romano)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 1½-inch thick slices brioche, egg bread or jalapeño Italian bread
  • 2 ounces aged Havarti, shaved (substitute Jack, aged Gouda, Tilsit or other shaveable cheese)
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    A Monte Cristo sandwich is ham and Gruyère on French Toast. Photo courtesy Kikkoman.

     

    Variations

  • Blue cheese and sliced apples
  • Feta and kalamata olives with dill or oregano
  • Smoked salmon, caviar and crème fraîche
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    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the tomatoes: Sauté the tomatoes in the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the oregano and vinegar and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and set aside, keeping warm until ready to serve.

    2. MAKE the French Toast: Whisk the milk, egg, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a shallow pan. Dip the bread into the milk mixture and pan fry it in a hot non-stick pan for 3 minutes per side.

    3. TRANSFER the bread onto serving plates and top with the tomato mixture. Shave the cheese over the tomatoes. Serve immediately.

     
    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, recipes from ancient and medieval times denote that it was fare for wealthy people.

  • Recipes used white bread, a luxury, with the crusts cut off. Poor people ate brown bread, much cheaper because the wheat endosperm did not have to be milled and painstakingly hand-sifted through screens to create white flour.
  • Costly ingredients such as spices (cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg), sugar and almond milk are found in numerous recipes.
  • The cooked bread was topped with costly honey or sugar.
  • And cookbooks themselves were the province of the privileged: Only wealthy people and clergy learned to read.
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    THE MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH

    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, 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.

      

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