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Archive for Breakfast

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Rosemary Pepper Bacon

Winter days beg for hearty breakfasts and brunches, and this tasty bacon recipe is sure-to-please. Put strips of bacon on a baking sheet. Strip leaves from one sprig of rosemary per half pound of bacon and sprinkle them over the meat. Add fresh-cracked pepper to taste and roast at 400°F until crisp, about 10 minutes. Or, you can start with Nueske’s delicious pepper bacon. Either will make your eggs or BLT sing an exciting new tune.- Read about more of our favorite pork products in THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Pepper Bacon
You’ll love your homemade pepper bacon, but treat yourself to some from a top producer, too.
 

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NEW PRODUCT: Aerosol Pancake “Batter Blaster”

When we first saw Batter Blaster, we reacted viscerally: We don’t like things in aerosol cans. And the thought of pancake batter spraying out of one evoked images of aerosol cheese. But, don’t judge a product by its cover: This pancake mix is USDA-certified organic, which means that everything in that can is better than all natural. The main ingredients are filtered water, organic wheat flour, organic cane sugar, organic whole egg solids, organic soybean powder and sea salt. The environmentally-conscious will be pleased to know that Batter Blaster is powered by the more ozone layer-friendly carbon dioxide, not the nitrous oxide propellant that can be found in most aerosol canisters. You can point the nozzle to create any shape pancake you wish: your initials, flowers, squiggles.

  Batter Blaster Aerosol Pancake BatterPancakes shoot from the nozzle of Batter Blaster.
Beyond breakfast, you can make mini pancake canapés with goat cheese, smoked salmon and fresh dill, or crème fraîche and caviar. An 18-ounce can, good for about 28 four-inch pancakes, retails for $4.99 to $5.99 (one poster to the website claims 12 pancakes). Thirty-two ounces of powdered pancake mix is less than half that. But Batter Blaster is no muss, no fuss and lots of fun. Because it is a refrigerated product, there are currently no mail orders, and it is only available on the West Coast and in Meijer Stores in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. The company anticipates national distribution by July 2008, so get your nozzle finger ready. In the interim, read about our favorite pancakes and waffles in THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Croissant Day

Is there a person reading this who does not enjoy a buttery croissant? (Alas, not all are made with butter…but avoid buying croissants at inexpensive delis, and eagerly seek out new bakeries to see what they have to offer.) Our only complaint is that the flaky puff pastry that is so delightful in the mouth invariably ends up all over our place setting and our clothing. We admire people who can eat one neatly. A good croissant already contains so much butter that it needs no more embellishment. If you get one from a top baker who uses the best butter, enjoying each bite without the interference of additional butter or jam is, in our opinion, the way to go.
Making croissants by hand is very labor-intensive. Much of what is available today is factory-made, pre-formed and frozen, delivered to the bakery, food store or restaurant and “baked on our premises.” In the 1970s, the croissant evolved into a fast food, filled with everything from broccoli to ham and cheese (and in many cases, lowering the quality of the puff pastry itself).
  Croissants
Hold the butter: A truly fine, fresh croissant is buttery enough.
There are several stories about the invention of the croissant, but all appear to be legends. According to the Oxford Companion To Food, no recipe for what we know as the croissant appears before the early 20th century. It thus seems highly unlikely, for example, that the croissant was invented in Vienna in 1583 to celebrate the defeat of the Turkish siege of the city. Bakers, who were up in the wee hours making the city’s bread, are said to have heard the enemy tunneling under the city and were able to warn the army, thus saving Vienna from siege. In honor of the victory, the bakers created the croissant, the shape taken from the crescent emblem on the Turkish flag. (Eat this!) Such a heroic story; you will find it just about everywhere you look for “history of the croissant.” But one of the ways that food historians try to determine the truth is by looking at old recipe books. There are enough cookbooks from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries to deprive bakers of their most famous moment in history, alas.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Cocoa Garnishes

Hot Chocolate
For another variation, add chocolate confetti curls to your hot chocolate.
  Place cute character cookies (the gourmet version of animal crackers) on the whipped cream topping of a cup of hot chocolate. Look for small, lightweight cookies with interesting shapes in your specialty food store. But don’t stop there.


– See 25 ways to spruce up your hot chocolate. You’ll also learn the difference between cocoa and hot chocolate—they aren’t synonymous.

– You can also read the difference between natural and dutched chocolate.

– See reviews of more than 70 brands in the Cocoas & Hot Chocolates Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

 

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s Blueberry Pancake Day

While we never turn down a plate of pancakes, this is another one of those holidays where we must question the wisdom: Why have Blueberry Pancake Day when blueberries are out of season? Who wants to make pancakes with highly expensive, not very sweet, fresh blueberries, or with tart frozen ones? The best solution, we think, is to sprinkle tasty dried blueberries onto your pancakes. We also recommend the following diversions:   Blueberries
Why schedule Blueberry Pancake Day when blueberries are out of season?
– THE NIBBLE’s Pancake Glossary, with dozens of different types of pancakes you’ve probably never heard of.

– An understanding of the grades of maple syrup.
– A review of Cherrybrook Kitchen’s allergen-free pancake mix.
Robert Lambert’s Gourmet Syrups for pancakes (and many other uses)—no maple here, but you might enjoy Bergamot or Kaffir Lime.

– The amazing Blender Bottle, perfect for mixing pancake batter without a whisk, egg beater or electric mixer (campers take note).

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