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TIP OF THE DAY: It’s Time To Make Turnovers

Cherry Turnovers
[1] Turnovers can be any shape you can seal and crimp (photo courtesy Country Living Magazine).

Cherry Turnovers
[2] A cherry turnover from Pepperidge Farm. With the quality of the cherries and cream cheese dough in our recipe, below, no garnishing is necessary.

Bing Cherries

[3] Bing cherries, sweet but fleeting (photography courtesy Washington State Fruit Commission).

 

Most people have never had a fresh cherry turnover.

We make this statement categorically, because turnovers are not a commonly-found or -made food; and fresh cherries are ephemeral. Add these facts together, and the sum is that the cherry turnovers you’re likely to encounter are made with frozen cherries or cherry pie filling.

So today, buck tradition and make cherry turnovers. The cherries are waiting for you in the produce section; and the cream cheese pastry pocket is so delicious, you’ll want to use this as your signature turnover recipe, with seasonal fruits.

Seasonal Variations

  • Summer Fruit: berries, figs and stone fruits in (a magical combo with the cream cheese dough)
  • Fall/Winter Fruit: apple, banana, blood orange, pear, pumpkin/squash and quince turnovers in the fall and winter
  • Spring Fruit: kumquat, rhubarb and strawberry turnovers
  •  
    We adapted this recipe from one in Country Living. When you taste your first batch, there’s a good chance you’ll be back at the store for more cherries and cream cheese.

    You can leave out the crystallized ginger if you’re not a ginger fan, but it’s a wow factor.

    RECIPE: FRESH CHERRY TURNOVERS

    Ingredients For 15 Turnovers

    For The Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheesei>
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1 pound bing cherries
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ tablespoon salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, ginger and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until well blended; then add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor running…

    2. ADD the water slowly and mix just until dough comes together. Form dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough for 30 minutes.

    3. FORM the turnovers: In a medium bowl, mix the cherries, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt together. Set aside.

    4. ROLL out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out 6-inch circles. Invert a 6″ diameter plate or bowl atop the dough and cut out with a pizza cutter or knife; if it’s a little larger or smaller, that’s fine. Gather and re-chill the dough scraps and repeat until you have 15 dough circles.

    5. Evenly divide the cherry filling among the dough circles, leaving an edge to fold and crimp. Dampen the edge of each dough circle and fold in half over the cherry filling. Lightly press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal each half-moon-shaped turnover. You can also cut squares or rectangles. For a triangular shape, follow these guidelines for spanakopita, making the triangle as large as you like.

    6. PLACE the turnovers on two parchment-lined baking sheets and chill for at least 30 minutes. While they chill, position the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 400°F. When ready for the oven…

    7. USE a sharp knife to cut 2 or 3 small vents on top of each turnover. Place the baking sheets on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the crust is golden and cherry juice begins to ooze from the vent holes, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool turnovers on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
     
     
    TURNOVER HISTORY

    The concept of cooking fruits and meats in pastry is thousands of years old. Given the lack of bakeware at the time—especially among the less affluent—it is easy to envision cooks of ancient eras filling squares of dough with whatever, folding the dough to seal the filling, and baking them in the fireplace.

    Turnovers can be sweet or savory and can be folded into half moons, rectangles, squares or triangles. Savory varieties are often used as a portable meal, as Americans grab a sandwich (think around the globe, from calzones to dosas to empanadas to spanakopita).

    In England, printed recipes start to appear around 1750. But given the paucity of printed cookbooks (and the literacy level of the general public), they may have been popular for centuries.

    Add to that a challenge: Turnovers were often called apple pies (apple being the most popular and widely available fruit filling).

    Sweet turnovers typically have a fruit filling and are made with a puff pastry or shortcrust pastry dough. Savory turnovers generally contain meat and/or vegetables and can be made with any sort of dough, although a kneaded yeast dough seems to be the most common in Western recipes.

    Turnovers are usually baked, but may be fried.

    Savory turnovers are often sold as convenience foods in supermarkets. Perhaps the largest number of [sweet] turnovers are sold by Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts, launched in 1965.

     
     
    MORE ABOUT CHERRIES

  • History Of Cherries
  • Types Of Cherries
  •  
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Turn A Banana Into A Work Of Art For National Banana Day

    August 27th is National Banana Lovers Day (April 18th is National Banana Day 2018).

    While you’re on a long conference call, or waiting for an internet connection that’s taking its time, show your love by decorating your banana.

  • No drawing talent? Take a Sharpie or a ball point pen and create swirls, zigzags, dots, whatever.
  • Like to draw? Create banana art for family and friends (photo #1).
  •  
    Can’t do either? Then enjoy this history of bananas.
     
    BANANA HISTORY

    The original, wild, banana was tiny and filled with large seeds the size of peppercorns (photo #2).

    Bananas were first domesticated in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea, by at least 5000 B.C.E. and possibly as far back as 8000 B.C.E.

    Southeast Asia has the largest diversity of banana species, followed by Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in those regions (source). Over millennia, bananas were bred into the fleshy fruits (botanically, they’re the not fruits but the berries** of herbs) we know today.

    Many wild banana species can still be found in China, India and Southeast Asia, in the areas south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. They require a tropical or sub-tropical climate.

    A 2001 New Yorker article notes:

    “More than a thousand varieties of banana exist worldwide. The vast majority are not viable for export: Their bunches are too small, their skin is too thin, or their pulp is too bland.”

    Numerous of these varieties are plantains, are starchy and inedible until cooked (there’s more on plantains below).

    The article continues: “There are fuzzy bananas whose skins are bubblegum pink; green-and-white striped bananas with pulp the color of orange sherbet; bananas that, when cooked, taste like strawberries (photo #3).

    “The Double Mahoi plant can produce two bunches at once. The Chinese name of the aromatic Go San Heong banana means “You can smell it from the next mountain.’ The fingers on one banana plant grow fused; another produces bunches of a thousand fingers, each only an inch long.”

    Alexander the Great introduced bananas to what is now Western Europe in 327 B.C.E. They were brought back from his campaigns in Asia and India, China and Southeast Asia.

    It took centuries after that—around 800 C.E.—for bananas to make their way to the Middle East.

    By the 10th century, the banana appears in texts from Palestine and Egypt. From there it diffused into North Africa and Muslim Iberia (southern Spain). During the Medieval Ages, bananas from Granada were considered among the best in the Arab world [source].

    BANANAS COME TO THE AMERICAS

    Bananas were introduced to the New World in the 16th century via Portuguese sailing ships, which carried them from West Africa to South America. The fruit’s name comes from a West African language [Wolof, the major language in what is now Senegal] where banan means finger.

    In 1870, a Cape Cod fishing-boat captain named Lorenzo Dow Baker imported 160 bunches of bananas from Jamaica to to Jersey City, New Jersey: the first bananas in the U.S.

    Shopkeepers hung the bunches and cut off the number of bananas requested by the customer. By 1900 Americans were 15 million bunches of bananas annually; 40 million by 1910. Twenty years later, Baker’s company was renamed United Fruit, today called Chiquita Brands.

    By the 1960, United Fruit controlled nearly seven hundred million acres of land and 90% of the American banana market.

    If you’ve had bananas in other countries and find our American imports to be bland in comparison, that’s because the original species Baker imported, the Gros Michel, has long since been replaced by the Cavendish—a blander variety that travels more easily.
     
     
    THE LOSS OF THE GROS MICHEL BANANA

    Many thanks to Wayne Ferrebee for much of this information.

    Over millennia, farmers hybridized wild species of bananas and selectively bred the different strains into varieties called cultivars.

       

    Banana With A Face
    [1] Show some creativity on National Banana Lovers Day (photo Good Foods Made Simple | Facebook.

    Wild Banana
    [2] The original wild banana was very small and filled with large seeds the size of peppercorns—probably not such pleasant eating. (photo © A. D’Hont | CIRAD).

    Red Bananas

    [3] The peel is red, but the flesh is the same color as a yellow banana (photo courtesy Gardening World). However, bananas in eye-catching colors don’t travel well enough to be exported. Tip: When you’re in a foreign country, seek out the local banana varieties.

    Harvesting Bananas

    [4] Harvesting bananas. (photo by Simon Maina | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

     
    The most delicious exportable cultivar was Gros Michel (Fat Michael, Musa acuminata AAA)—so ideal for farming, transporting and retailing that became more than 80% of bananas cultivated worldwide.

    A half a century ago, the Gros Michel banana was the principal banana variety imported to the U.S (photo #5, below). They were/are far tastier than the current Cavendish variety: creamier with a tropical fruit taste.

  • The ripened bananas had a much longer shelf life, and could be sold ripe and ready to eat.
  • In the 1950s, a blight, the fungus Fusarium oxysporum (“Panama disease”), attacked the Gros Michel banana and wiped out entire plantations in Africa and South America.
  • All Gros Michel bananas were clones (to achieve desired characteristics and eliminate negative ones, such the seeds—but do not have Darwinian resistance), so the contagion spread unchecked. There were years where there were almost no bananas available to send to Europe, Africa, and the Americas (and worse, to support the local banana workers and others up and down the chain). Entire banana empires turned to rot, and groves needed to be burned to disinfect the soil.
  • Banana growers re-planted with a new banana variety, the Dwarf‡ Cavendish, which was nowhere near as tasty but was resistant† to the fungus.
  • Gros Michel ceased being grown commercially. It still grows in its ancestral homeland, Thailand, where it is ubiquitous in home gardens (photo #8). So if you’re going there, eat the bananas! [source]
  • ________________

    *Berries not in the sense of the sweet fruit we eat, but the fruit of a vine. Hawthorne and juniper trees, for example, bear savory berries. Peppercorns are the berries of a vine. There are many inedible berries, such as the red berries of the holly plant.

    †Alas, recently these, too, have come under attack by the Race IV fungus, Fusarium oxysporum.

    ‡So called because the plant itself grows to a shorter height.

     

    Gros Michel Bananas
    [5] Its predecessor, the more flavorful, longer-shelf-life Gros Michel [Little Michael] variety. What happened? See below (photo courtesy Bananas.org).

    Bunch of Bananas
    [6] The modern banana we know and love is a variety called the Cavendish (photo courtesy Nathan Ward | SXC)

    Plantain Cavendish Comparison
    [7] A comparison of four Musa kin: from left, plantains, red banana, latundan dwarf banana and Cavendish banana (photo courtesy Nathan Ward | SXC)

    Cavendish & Gros Michel Bananas

    [8] A comparison of Cavendish banana and the fat Gros Michel. We don’t know how large the Gros Michel grew in Jamaica; but this Gros Michel is from “the source,” Thailand, where it is called gluay hom thong, “the golden fragrant banana.” It was photographed by Ketsanee Seehamongkol, who writes an excellent story on her “discovery.”

     

    THE RISE & FALL OF THE CAVENDISH BANANA

    The world’s current major banana crop in the world, the Cavendish banana, was grown by a gardener of the William Cavendish, 6th Duke Devonshire, in 1830. He was president of the Royal Horticultural Society.

    Using a specimen from a lot sent to the Duke by a colleague in Mauritius, the Duke’s head gardener, Joseph Paxton nurtured it and, five years later, the plant flowered and bore fruit. He named the varietal Musa cavendishii, after the family name of the Dukes of Devonshire, Cavendish. He himself became Sir Joseph Paxton for his contribution to England.

    Cavendish plants were sent with missionaries to Samoa and other South Sea islands, the Pacific and the Canary Islands [source].

    When the Gros Michel was wiped out, banana growers turned to the Cavendish. It was a smaller and less tasty fruit, but it was immune to the fungus, able to grow in infected soils, and traveled well. Practically all bananas exported to foreign markets were Cavendish.

    For decades, practically all bananas exported to foreign markets—China, Europe, North America, etc.—are clones of the first Cavendish plant.

    Alas, Panama disease has mutated into a new, deadlier strain (Race IV) that not only kills off the Cavendish, but also numerous local breeds of banana around the world. The world is currently in a banana crisis. You can find more information about it online, starting here.
     
     
    BANANAS VS. PLANTAINS: THE DIFFERENCE

    Plantains, native to India, are used worldwide in ways similar to potatoes. They are very popular in Western Africa and the Caribbean countries, typically fried or baked.

    Since popular brands like Dole put their stickers on bananas and plantains alike, here’s how to make sure you’re buying what you want.

  • Use: Bananas are eaten as a sweet fruit. Plantains are cooked like a starchy vegetable.
  • Size: Bananas are shorter with thinner skin; plantains are longer with thicker skin.
  • Color: Bananas are green when not fully ripe, yellow when ripe and black when overripe. Plantains are green or black when ripe. They also have natural brown spots and rough areas, a dead giveaway compared to the smooth skin of the banana. See the comparison of ripe varieties in photo #7.
  •  
    Both are members of the botanical order Zingiberales and family Musacae and the genus Musa, but diverage at the species level.

  • The scientific name for banana is Musa sapientum, which mean fruit of the wise men. Because of the complexity of the many hybrids, individual cultivars use their cultivar name.
  • The Cavendish banana plants are in the species M. cavendishii, while plantains are in M. x paradisiaca.
  •  
    Musa is a Latinization of the Arabic name for the fruit, mauz; muz is the Turkish and Persian name for the banana [source].
     
     
    GO BANANAS: BANANA TRIVIA

    From Chiquita Brands:

  • Bananas don’t grow on trees: The plants are giant herbs: The trunk of a banana plant is not made of wood, but of sheaths of tightly overlapping leaves.
  • The fruit of the banana plant is botanically a berry.
  • To bear fruit, banana plants need at least fourteen consecutive months of frost-free weather, which is why they are not grown commercially in the continental United States.
  • The banana plant reaches its full height of 15 to 30 feet in about one year.
  • An individual banana is called a finger. A bunch of bananas is called a hand.
  • The bananas we eat are sterile. Domesticated banana plants produce fruit without fertilization.
  • Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs depict people with bananas.
  • The small country of Ecuador is the world’s biggest exporter of bananas.
  • Bananas are one of the few foods to contain the 6 major vitamin groups.
  • If you peel a banana from the bottom up you won’t get the string things, called phloem (FLOM).
  •  
    And finally…

  • Bananas float in water (as do apples and watermelons).
  •   

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    RECIPE: Deconstructed Banana Split, For National Banana Split Day

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/banana split nouvelle sushisamba ps 230
    [1] The deconstructed banana split at Sushi Samba in New York City (photo courtesy Sushi Samba).

    Banana Split

    [2] The traditional banana split (photo courtesy California Milk Advisory Board).

     

    How should you celebrate August 25th, National Banana Split Day?

    There’s the tried and true banana split, of course. Classically served in a long dish, called a boat (which gives the sundae its alternative name, banana boat), the recipe is familiar to most ice cream lovers:

    A banana is cut in half lengthwise and set in the dish with scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. The strawberry ice cream is garnished with pineapple topping, chocolate syrup is poured on the vanilla ice cream and strawberry topping covers the chocolate ice cream. Crushed nuts, whipped cream and maraschino cherries garnish the entire boat.

    Today, there are many variations to the classic banana split. We’ve had other Banana Split Sushi, Banana Split Cheesecake and the recipe below, Deconstructed Banana Split.

    DECONSTRUCTED BANANA SPLIT

    Ingredients

  • Banana slices
  • Unsalted butter
  • Optional: dash cinnamon
  • Ice cream flavors of choice
  • Optional: caramel corn
  • Whipped cream
  • Berries of choice
  • Sauces: chocolate, strawberry (you can easily make strawberry purée)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT the bananas in half width-wise, and then lengthwise. Sauté in butter with a dash of cinnamon until browned. Arrange on a plate, as shown in the photo.

    2. ARRANGE the other ingredients: whipped cream, caramel corn and fruit.

    3. DRIZZLE with sauce or fruit purée of choice.

     

    BANANA SPLIT HISTORY

    According to the Pennsylvania town of Latrobe, the banana split was invented in 1904 by David Evans Strickler, a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist at Tassel Pharmacy*. He enjoyed inventing sundaes at the store’s soda fountain. His first “banana-based triple ice cream sundae” sold for 10 cents, which was double the cost of the other sundaes.

    News of the new sundae was picked up by the press and spread nationwide. Variations of the recipe appeared in newspapers.

    The enterprising Strickler went on to buy the pharmacy, re-naming it Strickler’s Pharmacy. The city of Latrobe celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the banana split in 2004, and the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (NICRA) certified the city as its birthplace.

    The annual Great American Banana Split Celebration is held throughout the downtown Latrobe in late August, in 2017 from August 25th-27th.
     
     
    SUSHI HISTORY
    ________________

    *According to Wikipedia, Walgreens is credited with spreading the popularity of the banana split. A chain of drug stores established in the Chicago area in 1901 by Charles Rudolph Walgreen, Walgreens promoted the banana split as a signature dessert. But was it served when the store opened, or did someone at Walgreens read the recipe and adopt it. Did Walgreens bestow the name Banana Split to the “banana-based triple ice cream sundae”? So far, the record is mute.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Make Better Waffles

    BLT Waffles
    [1] BLT Wafflewich, a waffle sandwich (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers).

    Waffle Cup Salad
    [2] Waffle cups aren’t just for sundaes. Use them to hold a crisp, healthy veggie salad (photo courtesy Joy Cone Company).

    Fancy Chicken & Waffles
    [3] You can take a gourmet approach to chicken and waffles with little touches like these (photo courtesy Honey Butter Fried Chicken | Chicago).

    Smoked Salmon & Caviar Waffles

    [4] Smoked salmon on top of scallion-dill Greek yogurt. If you’re flush, add some caviar, as they do at Tsar Nicoulai.

     

    The ancestor of waffles dates back to the Neolithic age; the ancient Greeks invented the practice of cooking them between two hot metal plates.

    But the waffle iron we know today, with the honeycomb pattern, was invented by some nameless hero metalsmith in the 13th century. Here’s the history of waffles.

    National Waffle Day is August 24th, a good reason to enjoy a warm, fragrant, crusty waffle.

    And a good reason to go beyond the original, simple waffle with maple syrup, to some of the more creative ideas below.

    First, some tips from Krups, makers of small kitchen appliances including waffle makers, on how to make the best waffles.

    WAFFLE RECIPE TIPS

    1. Read the instruction manual before plugging in the waffle iron. Unless you use your waffle iron often, brush up. You need to know more beyond pushing the ON button.

    2. Treat the batter gently. Don’t mix it too quickly or vigorously. Use a slow, even tempo to get the right consistency, or your waffles will be tough and chewy.

    3. Don’t lift the lid while the waffles cook. As tempting as it may be to peek, it lets out steam needed to fully cook the waffle.

    4. Don’t use cooking spray on your waffle iron. Instead, cover the surface lightly with vegetable oil, using a basting brush or a paper towel. You’ll get a better crust on the waffle; and perhaps more importantly, Your waffle iron will last much longer. Chemicals in the sprays can affect the surface over time, and cause even more sticking.
     
    BONUS: 10 MORE USES FOR YOUR WAFFLE IRON
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WAFFLES

    American, Belgian, Brussels, Liege, Hong Kong, and more: If you’d like to know the different types of waffles, take a look.

     
     
    WAFFLE RECIPE IDEAS

    Some would say that any waffle is a good waffle, and we wouldn’t disagree. Others have never had anything beyond a plain waffle with maple or pecan syrup, butter and a side of bacon or sausage.

    Let us provide some inspiration:

  • Look beyond plain wheat and buttermilk waffles to the more complex and interesting world of cornmeal, multigrain and whole wheat waffles.

    Just as those breads are generally more interesting than plain white bread, you may find that you enjoy the waffles more.

  • Don’t add sugar to the batter: It’s added sugar you don’t need. You’re already topping a sweet waffle with syrup, jam, ice cream and fudge sauce or other sugar product that’s sweet enough, plus fruit.

    The analogy is toast topped with jam versus cookies topped with jam—leave the sugar out. With savory waffles, definitely use a mix that has no sugar; or mix your own. It’s just flour, baking powder, water and a pinch of salt.

  • Get creative with toppings. Let your imagination be your guide. Our list below is only the beginning for whatever inspires you. Who says you won’t invent a great barbecue beef waffle, cornmeal guacamole waffle, kimchi and shredded pork waffle, nacho waffle, pickled tongue waffle or spicy poached egg waffle? (In fact, those all sound pretty good to us right now!)
  •  

    SAVORY WAFFLE IDEAS FOR BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER

    These recipe ideas work for any meal:

  • BLT Waffle (photo #1): A regular or cornmeal waffle, topped with sliced romaine hearts, tomatoes and bacon. Serve with Caesar dressing (recipe.
  • Chicken & Waffles: A Southern classic. Generally made with a regular or buttermilk waffle, fried chicken breasts and brown gravy or sawmill gravy*. But we prefer it on a cornmeal waffle topped with a sliced grilled chicken breast, sauteed onions and peppers and a spicy gravy—add a teaspoon of Colman’s dry mustard to a basic white gravy recipe. Here are some “gourmet” chicken and waffles recipes (photo #3).
  • Ham & Cheese Waffles: A regular or whole grain waffle, with your favorite ham and cheese with dijon mustard or balsamic glaze. Or, mix balsamic glaze into regular mustard or mayonnaise)—recipe.
  • Malted Waffles:Malted Waffle: For a flavor lift, add 2-3 tablespoons of malt (the same kind you use for malted milk) to your basic recipe or mix.
  • Crunchy Nutty Waffles: Add your favorite nuts and seeds to the batter, or sprinkle them atop a plain waffle. Garnish with Greek or fruit yogurt.
  • Oatmeal-Nut Waffles: The “better for you waffle.” if there is such a thing, with whole grains and protein-packed nuts.
    Serendipity Waffle
  • Serendipity Waffles: “Serendipity” is our word for leftovers. Anything you have in the fridge can be made into an exciting waffle topped with a sauce—cheese, tomato, mushroom or your favorite gravy.
  • Smoked Salmon Waffle (photo #4): We love a cornmeal waffle topped with smoked salmon, sour cream or crème fraîche, chopped chives (onion lovers can substitute chopped red onion) and dill.
  • South-Of-The-Border Waffle: A cornmeal waffle (white or blue corn) with a small dice of jalapeños in the batter. You can serve this with maple syrup for breakfast/brunch; and with queso (cheese sauce) or a queso-salsa blend for other meals.
  • Waffle Salad Bowls (photo #2): Waffle cups are not just for sundaes. Fill them with apple slaw, Asian chicken salad, broccoli carrot slaw, carrot and raisin salad, chicken salad with grapes, shrimp salad, etc. (recipes.
  • Waffle Stew: One of the oldest embellishments for waffles is to top them with your favorite stew. Garnish with grated cheese, chopped green onions and a dab of sour cream and/or a bit of mashed potatoes. Serve with a side of colorful mixed steamed vegetables and a big salad: a great way to make leftover stew special.
  • ________________

    *Sawmill gravy is a white gravy or béchamel sauce with added bits of mild sausage or chicken liver; the roux is made from meat drippings. It is also called country gravy. See the different types of gravy.

     

    SAVORY WAFFLE TOPPINGS

    Top savory waffles with:

  • Eggs: eggs and bacon, Eggs Benedict, sausage and eggs.
  • Cheese: blue cheese, goat cheese, melted mozzarella or other melting cheese.
  • Chicken: fried, pulled barbecue.
  • Fish/seafood: caviar, seafood (crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp), smoked salmon and other smoked fish, with a fresh dill garnish.
  • Pizza waffles: mozzarella, ricotta, marinara and favorite toppings (don’t forget the anchovies!).
  • Paté: garnished with cornichons, redcurrant jelly, fig jam or cherry preserves.
  • Tex-Mex: avocado, black beans, black olives, corn, crema (sour cream), guacamole, red onion, salsa, shredded or crumbled cheese.
  • Sandwich fixings: BLT, ham and cheese.
  • Thanksgiving fixings: cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, turkey and gravy.
  • Vegetable: asparagus with hollandaise sauce; mushrooms, spinach and Mornay sauce (béchamel with gruyère).
  •  
     
    SWEET WAFFLES FOR BREAKFAST & LUNCH

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Waffles: Another great base for PB&J. Here’s the recipe.
  • Trail Mix Waffles: Top with nuts, dried fruits, coconut and granola.
  • Tricolor Chocolate Chip Waffles: Update the standard with dark, milk and white (or butterscotch, cappuccino or PB chips).
  • Wholesome Waffles: Top whole-grain waffles with nonfat yogurt, fresh fruit and nuts or seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin).
  •  
     
    SWEET DESSERT WAFFLES

  • Candied Pecan Waffles: Top waffles with Candy roasted pecans, chopped pecans and whipped cream, syrup optional. Alternatively, you can mix the chopped nuts into the waffle batter.
  • Cheesecake Waffles: Combine two treats in one recipe.
  • Chocolate Waffles: Here’s a recipe.
  • Hot Fudge Sundae Waffles: Serve with ice cream, top-quality fudge sauce, strawberries, nuts and whipped cream.
  • Key Lime Mousse Waffles: Here’s a recipe for any citrus mousse you desire.
  • Lemon Berry Waffles: Top with lemon curd (or other fruit curd) and seasonal berries. Garnish with whipped cream and fruit sauce (either puréed berries or a fruit syrup).
  • Orange Blossom Waffles: Add mangoes, mixed berries, and nutmeg cream. Here’s the recipe.
  • Sticky Bun Sundaes: Top with cinnamon or vanilla ice cream, raisins and walnuts, garnished with a sprinkling of cinnamon and brown sugar (mixed). Add a very light drizzle of caramel sauce and whipped cream.
  •  
     
    SWEET WAFFLE TOPPINGS

  • Candy: brittle, toffee chips.
  • Chocolate: chips, ice cream, syrup, shaved chocolate.
  • Cream cheese: with chocolate chips, jam.
  • Ice cream or frozen yogurt: with sundae toppings.
  • Fall & winter 1: raisins or other dried fruits, sautéed apples or bananas, maple syrup.
  • Fall & winter 2: pumpkin pie filling, whipped cream, caramelized nuts and nutmeg garnish.
  •  

    Peanut Butter & Jelly Waffles
    [5] For lunch: a PB&J wafflewich. Here’s the recipe from Cait’s Plate.

    Smores Waffles
    [6] For dessert: S’mores waffles. Here’s the recipe from Posie Harwood for King Arthur Flour).

    Banana Split Waffles
    [7] Who needs a banana split dish? Roll the ingredients in a waffle. Here’s the recipe from Krusteaz).

    Blueberry Cheesecake Waffles

    [8] Blueberry cheesecake waffles. Here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites.

  • Fruit: seasonal fresh fruit, caramelized fruit, fruit butter, fruit chutney, fruit curd, marmalade or preserves with whipped cream.
  • Fruit yogurt: with fresh fruit and fruit syrup or cinnamon syrup.
  • Sweet spreads: nut butter, Nutella, with coconut or honey and whipped cream.
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    RECIPE: Chocolate Pecan Pie

    August 20th is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day (July 12th is Pecan Pie Day).

    Our question: Why eat heavy pecan pie during the summer—not to mention add rich chocolate to it—when there are so many seasonal, ephemeral berries and stone fruits to turn into pies?

    Our tip: Keep this recipe from Melissa Clark of The New York Times for the fall, when a hearty, dense pie is just the thing to stick to the ribs.

    Don’t be tempted to substitute milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips. Pecan pie is sweet enough.

    The bittersweet chocolate specified here is just the thing: intense chocolate flavor without a lot of added sugar.

    Two tablespoons of bourbon add just a hint of flavor. Try it; and if you want to add more next time—or some praline liqueur—go for it.

    Ms. Clark’s pie has a conventional pie crust. You can also use a chocolate wafer crumb crust.

    Pecan pie is traditionally garnished with whipped cream. Given the sweetness of the pie, a dollop of of unsweetened whipped cream, crème fraîche or sour cream is just right.

    Don’t like to bake? The easy way out is this excellent chocolate pecan pie filling from San Saba Pecan, spooned into a store-bought crust.
     
     
    RECIPE: MELISSA CLARK’S CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE (Photo #1)

    For The Crust

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour (150 grams), plus more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (preferably high-fat European style), chilled and cubed
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1½ cups pecan halves (170 grams)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (56 grams)
  • ¾ cup dark corn syrup
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar (100 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (5 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms chickpea-size pieces. Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist but not wet.

    2. GATHER the dough into a ball on a lightly floured surface, and flatten it into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

    3. REMOVE the plastic wrap and roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle, on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then the crimp edges. Prick the crust all over with a fork. Chill the crust for 30 minutes. While the dough chills…

       

    Chocolate Pecan Pie
    [1] Celebrate National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day with this yummy recipe (photo Andrew Scrivani | The New York Times).

    Pecans In Shell
    [2] The Spanish explorers who encountered pecans called them “wrinkle nuts” (photo courtesy Home Depot).

    Pecan Tree

    [3] A pecan tree. If you live in warmer zones (6 through 9), you can grow your own (photo courtesy Perfect Plants Nursery). You can also grow the trees in zone 5, but they won’t bear nuts.

     
    4. HEAT the oven to 375°F. Line the chilled crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 25 minutes; then remove the foil and bake until it’s a very pale golden color, 5 to 10 minutes longer.

    5. REDUCE the oven temperature to 350°F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Cool.

    6. MAKE the filling: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth. Cool.

    7. WHISK together in a large bowl the cooled chocolate-butter mixture, corn syrup, eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, bourbon and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Arrange pecans over the filling.

    8. TRANSFER to a large rimmed baking sheet and bake until the filling is just set when the pan is jiggled, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

     

    Chocolate Pecan Pie
    [4] Another way to make chocolate pecan pie: Drizzle chocolate on top, as in this recipe from Julia’s Treats And Eats.

    Pecan Pie

    [5] Hold the chocolate if you want a standard pecan pie (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     

    PECAN PIE HISTORY

    It seems difficult to believe give the long history of pecan trees in the Colonial South*; but the pecan pie recipe we know, pecans on a brown sugar base, is a 20th century invention. No recipes have been found dating to earlier than 1925.

    According to FoodTimeline.com, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook and The Joy of Cooking did not include pecan pie recipes before 1940.

    While some sources claim that early French settlers in New Orleans invented pecan pie after encountering the nuts (which they called pacane, after the Native American paka·n), food historians have not been able to trace the dish’s origin prior to 1925.

    That doesn’t mean pecan pie didn’t exist, only that there is no record to prove it. Popular national cookbooks such as The Joy of Cooking and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook did not include the recipe prior to 1940.

    Yes, there were pies made with pecans; they just weren’t pecan pies as we know them or called “pecan pie.” References dating to 1886 and 1914 added the nuts to a milk-based custard.

    Then came a breakthrough on the road to modern pecan pie. In 1913, Mrs. Vesta Harrison of Fort Worth, then an unmarried teenager taking a cooking course, won a national competition with her Texas Pecan Pie, made with a filling of sorghum.

    She said the recipe for this pecan pie came to her in a dream. When she told the teacher at her cooking school, a Mrs. Chitwood of Chicago, that she was going to make a pecan pie, the teacher exclaimed “There is no such thing!”

    The future Mrs. Harrison, interviewed later in life, said she responded, “By gollies, I don’t know how, but I’m going to mess up something making a pecan pie.”

    Mrs. Chitwood sent the recipe to the contest in Washington, where it won first prize. So even if there already was a syrup-based pecan pie somewhere in the U.S., it was unknown in Texas, Chicago or Washington [source].

    Following the introduction of the sorghum-based pecan pie, versions were made with molasses.

    Enter Karo Syrup & The Modern Pecan Pie

    The modern pecan pie was born with the introduction of Karo Syrup, in 1902.

    One of the earliest recipes to substitute the sorghum or molasses with Karo corn syrup was by Mrs. Frank Herring, published in the Sallislaw, Oklahoma Democrat American on February 19, 1931:

     
    3 eggs, 1 cup Karo (blue label), 4 tablespoons corn meal, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans or less if desired, pastry. Method: Beat whole eggs slightly, add Karo, corn meal, sugar and melted butter, then stir all thoroughly. Line pie tin with flaky pastry and fill generously with mixture. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top, bake in moderate oven until well set when slightly shaken [source].

    Printed on the bottle label, the makers of Karo Syrup popularized the recipe that many people use today. It has similar ingredients to Mrs. Herring’s recipe, minus the corn meal and adding vanilla extract. It doubles the amount of Karo syrup and sugar and triples the pecans. Here’s the recipe.

    The Karo website says that the recipe was created in the 1930s by the wife of a senior sales executive. When the pie appeared on the bottle label and in magazines, it was known as Karo Pecan Pie.

    This unnamed executive wife may well have seen, and adapted, Mrs. Herring’s 1931 recipe. The rest is sweet history; although as soon as we have time, we’re going back to make the Karo pie using the smaller amounts of sugars in the Herring recipe. When a scoop of vanilla ice cream is needed to cut the sweetness of a pie, you know it’s too sweet.

    The History Of The Pecan Tree

    The pecan, Carya illinoinensis (photo #3), is a member of the Juglandaceae family, known as the walnut family of trees. The trees are native to the Americas, Eurasia and Southeast Asia.

    The family also includes the hickory, about 16 species of which are native to the Americas.

    Pecans are native to America. The tree originated in central and eastern North America and in the river valleys of Mexico*.

    The name “pecan” is a word of Algonquin origin that describes “all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”

    Long before Europeans arrived, pecans were widely consumed and traded by Native Americans. Nuts were an excellent food product for a pre-agricultural society, easy to harvesst and store (and an excellent source of protein and other nutrients).

    The first Europeans to come into contact with pecans were 16th-century Spanish explorers in what is now Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. They called the pecan, nuez de la arruga, which means “wrinkle nut,” due to the deep lines resembling wrinkles in the nutmeats (photo #2). The explorers brought the pecan to Europe, Asia, and Africa beginning in the 16th century.

    Thomas Jefferson planted pecan trees, Carya illinoinensis (“Illinois nuts”) in his nut orchard at Monticello, in Virginia. George Washington wrote in his journal that Jefferson gave him “Illinois nuts” to grow at Mount Vernon.
    ________________

    *Currently, the largest pecan-producing states are, in order of tonnage: Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Pecans are grown coast to coast along the southern tier of the United States. The largest pecan orchard is Stahmann Farms in New Mexico.

      

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