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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Recipes

TIP OF THE DAY: Create A Signature Breakfast Sandwich

breakfast-sandwich-goat-cheese-melissas-230

Go beyond the Egg McMuffin and create your
fantasy breakfast sandwich like this one
(recipe below). Photo courtesy Melissa’s.

 

Ask an American to name a breakfast sandwich and you might hear “bagel and lox”; but “Egg McMuffin” is more likely to be the answer. It was invented by a McDonald’s franchisee, Herb Peterson, in the late 1960s and introduced nationwide in 1972.

Popular as it is, the Egg McMuffin has not exactly spawned a major food trend in breakfast sandwiches.

So today’s tip is: Create a signature breakfast sandwich and get your friends to do the same. Then, you can get together for breakfast sandwich brunches. We can’t wait!

Peruse this list to put together your dream ingredients.

BREAKFAST SANDWICH INGREDIENTS

  • Bread: bagel, baguette, biscuits, brioche, challah, focaccia, toast of choice (rye, sourdough, whole wheat, etc.), roll of choice (note that we’ve deliberately excluded donuts and pancakes)
  • Eggs: fried, poached, scrambled, soft boiled, sliced hard boiled
  • Cheese: blue, Cheddar, goat, Gruyère, mozzarella, pepperjack or other favorite
  • Meat: bacon types (including Canadian bacon and pancetta), chicken breast, chorizo or other sausage, ham, pork
  • Veggies: avocado, bell peppers (sautéed, grilled, diced fresh), fresh herbs, greens (sautéed arugula, broccoli rabe, kale, etc.), hash browns, jalapeños, onion (red or sweet), roasted poblanos, sprouts, tomato (fresh, sundried)
  • Condiments: aïoli, caramelized onions, chutney, extra virgin olive oil, gravy, honey, horseradish sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard-yogurt spread, pesto, salsa, sautéed peaches or other fruit, tomato sauce, vinaigrette
  •  
    You don’t need to include eggs or meat, as this recipe demonstrates:
     
    RECIPE: OPEN-FACED BREAKFAST SANDWICHES

    This sandwich (photo above) will wake you up sweetly, with chile-infused honey.

    If you don’t want the heat of the chiles, substitute a bit of fresh-ground black pepper for the ground cayenne, and don’t use the final chile garnish.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, plus 4 hours to infuse the honey.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 8 ounces honey
  • 2 fresh cayenne chiles, stems and seeds removed, finely diced, divided
    (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 thick slices whole-wheat French bread
  • 2 tablesppoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup creamy goat cheese (4 ounces)
  • 4 large eggs
  • Salt
  • Ground cayenne pepper or black pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE honey and half of the cayenne chile in a glas container. Seal tightly and let sit 4 hours or overnight. Wrap and reserve remaining chiles in the fridge.

    2. TOAST bread; spread each slice with 1 teaspoon butter and 2 tablespoons goat cheese.

    3. HEAT the remaining 2 teaspoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Crack eggs into skillet; cook until yolks are set, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

    4. DRIZZLE each slice of toast with 2 tablespoons cayenne honey. Top with a fried egg; drizzle evenly with the remaining honey and garnish with the remaining fresh cayenne chiles.

     

    toad-in-the-hole-melissas-230

    Toad In The Hole is a British favorite. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy Melissa’s.

     

    A related recipe is Toad In The Hole (photo above), a British specialty that pan-fried day-old bead with an egg in the middle. The recipe’s colorful name no doubt appealed to children.

    With the added crushed chiles, this toad sure is hoppin’! If you don’t like the heat, leave off the chiles.

    RECIPE: HOPPIN’ TOAD IN THE HOLE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 6 one-inch-thick slices sourdough bread, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 dried de arbol chiles, stems and seeds removed, finely crushed
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded pepperjack cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT a 1-1/2-inch hole in the center of each slice of bread, using a small round cookie cutter or a juice glass.

    2. MELT 2 tablespoons butter over low heat in a large skillet. Add half of the crushed chile and cook until fragrant, stirring often, about 1 to 2 minutes.

    3. INCREASE heat to medium; arrange 3 bread slices in the skillet. Crack 1 egg into the hole of each slice, taking care not to break the yolks. Cook until eggs are just firm but the yolk is slightly runny, about 5 to 8 minutes.

    4. SPRINKLE evenly with cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat procedure for the next three slices of bread.

    5. SPRINKLE with salt, pepper an paprika to taste. Serve.

      

    Comments

    PASSOVER: Flourless Persian Pistachio Cake

    This recipe comes via Chef Jennifer Abadi and Zabar’s. The aromatic, citrus notes of cardamom add flair to a simple cake.

    Preparation time is one hour; the cake yields eight to ten servings.

    RECIPE: FLOURLESS PERSIAN PISTACHIO CAKE
    WITH CARDAMOM SYRUP

    Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup matzoh meal
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  •  
    Wet Ingredients

  • 3 extra large eggs (or 4 large eggs), lightly beaten
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup water
  •  

    flourlesss-persian-pistachio-cake-jenniferAbadi-zabars-230

    Ground nuts replace flour in cakes for Passover. Photo courtesy Zabar’s.

     
    For Decoration

  • 3 tablespoons shelled, unsalted pistachios, as decoration
  •  

    cardamom-pods-farmgirlgourmet-230

    Cardamom pods. Photo courtesy Heather
    Scholten | Farmgirl Gourmet.

      For Cardamom-Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Few pinches black pepper
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 crushed cardamom pods
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. POUR pistachios into a food processor and pulse until they become a fine meal-like consistency, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the matzoh meal and pulse together an additional minute.

    3. POUR ground pistachio mixture into a medium size bowl and combine with remaining dry ingredients.

    4. ADD the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

     

    5. POUR the batter into a greased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan and sprinkle with whole pistachios. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and center of cake is soft but not wet (cake should still be fairly moist). Meanwhile, prepare the syrup.

    6. COMBINE the sugar, salt, pepper, and water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a bubbling simmer over medium heat. Add the ground cardamom and cardamom pods, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (the liquid will thicken slightly). Remove from heat.

    7. REMOVE cake from oven and cool 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve at room temperature sprinkled with the cardamom-sugar syrup.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cinnamon Coffee

    french-press-cinnamon-coffee-mccormick-230

    It’s easy to brew delicious cinnamon coffee
    with any coffee maker. Photo courtesy
    McCormick.

     

    If you enjoy cinnamon coffee, here’s a recipe from McCormick, that adds real cinnamon to your ground coffee for a far more exciting flavor. (Commercial cinnamon-flavored coffee uses an extract to flavor the beans.)

    The coffee is brewed with brown sugar, so no sugar bowl is needed. You can use any coffee maker.

    For dessert, you can top the coffee with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. There are just 36 calories per cup, before the whipped cream.

    For a spiked version, add cinnamon liqueur, coffee liqueur or Irish cream liqueur. If you want to avoid the extra sugar, use whiskey (we like bourbon) or tequila.

     

    RECIPE: BREWED CINNAMON COFFEE

    Ingredients For 6 One-Cup Servings

  • 3/4 cup ground dark roast coffee, (regular or decaffeinated)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups water
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon
  • Optional: milk or cream
  • Optional liqueur: 1-2 tablespoons per cup
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE coffee, sugar and cinnamon in a filter in brew basket of coffee maker (or directly into a French press).

    2. PLACE the vanilla in the empty carafe. Add water to coffee maker; brew coffee as usual.

    3. POUR into serving cups; add liqueur if desired. Top with whipped cream or serve with milk or cream. Garnish with an optional sprinkle of cinnamon.
     
    CINNAMON LIQUEUR

    There are more brands than there is shelf space to hold them all. And Bols makes both a cinnamon liqueur and a cinnamon schnapps (see the difference below). Some are more elegant, some are brash and sizzling.

    Cinnamon liqueur can be added to coffee and tea, sipped on the rocks, drunk as shooters and mixed into cocktails.

  • After Shock
  •  

    goldschager-bottle-230

    Dramatic and delicious: Goldschläger cinnamon schnaps with gold flakes. Photo courtesy Global Brands.

     

  • Bols Hot Cinnamon Liqueur and Gold Strike Cinnamon Schnapps
  • De Kuyper “Hot Damn!”
  • Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Liqueur
  • Fire Water Hot Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Goldschläger, with flecks of edible gold, the most elegant of the cinnamon liqueurs
  • Leroux Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Kahlúa Cinnamon Spice
  • Tuaca Cinnaster Cinnamon and Vodka Liqueur
  •  
    CORDIAL, EAU DE VIE, LIQUEUR, SCHNAPPS: THE DIFFERENCE

    While many people use these terms interchangeably, and they are all flavored spirits, there are differences that are relevant to the consumer in terms of sweetness and color.

  • Liqueur (lih-KUR, not lih-CURE) is made by steeping fruits in alcohol after the fruit has been fermented; the result is then distilled. Liqueurs are typically sweeter and more syrupy than schnapps.
  • Schnapps (shnops) is made by fermenting the fruit, herb or spice along with a base spirit, usually brandy; the product is then distilled. This process creates a stronger, often clear, distilled spirit similar to a lightly flavored vodka. “Schnapps” is German for “snap,” and in this context denotes both a clear brandy distilled from fermented fruits, plus a shot that spirit. Classic schnapps have no added sugar, and are thus less sweet than liqueur. But note that some manufacturers add sugar to please the palates of American customers.
  • Eau de vie (oh-duh-vee), French for “water of life,” this is unsweetened fruit brandy—i.e.,schnapps.
  • Cordial has a different meaning in the U.S. than in the U.K., where it is a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink. In the U.S, a cordial is a sweet, syrupy, alcoholic beverage: liqueur.
  •  
    In sum: If you want a less sweet, clear spirit, choose schnapps/eau de vie over liqueur. For something sweet and syrupy, go for liqueur/cordial.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: April Fool—It Isn’t Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

    We’re cooking up some food fun for tomorrow, April Fool’s Day. This year, it’s trompe-l’oeil food.

    Trompe-l’oeil (pronounced trump LOY), French for “deceive the eye”, is an art technique that creates the optical illusion that a piece of two-dimensional art exists in three dimensions. You may have seen some amazing sidewalk art that fools you into thinking you’re about to step into a hole, a pool, etc.

    We’re adapting the “deceive the eye” reference to “food trompe-l’oeil”—food that looks like one thing but is actually another. Serve this “grilled cheese and tomato soup” dish, which is actually orange pound cake and strawberry soup.

    Thanks to Zulka Morena sugar for the recipes and fun idea. If you’ve got a great palate or simply preferred less processed sugar, try it. The top-quality sugar is minimally processed and never refined. You can taste the difference!

     

    strawberry-soup-orange-pound-cake-zulkasugar-230

    April Fool’s food: Standing in for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich are strawberry soup and pound cake. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    RECIPE: ORANGE POUND CAKE

    Ingredients

    For The Pound Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  •  
    For the Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract or juice
  • 2-5 drops natural orange food color
  •  

    zulka-morena-cane-sugar-2-230

    Zulka makes less processed, better tasting
    sugar. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a standard loaf pan.

    2. CREAM together in a medium bowl the butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy. Add the eggs in 3 parts, combining well after each addition. In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined. Add the sour cream and orange juice and mix well.

    3. POUR into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 1 hour or longer, until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too much before the cake is done, tent with a piece of foil.

    4. REMOVE from oven; cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

    5. MIX the frosting ingredients together until well combined. Add more food color as needed to reach desired color.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Slice the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices. Spread a small amount of butter on one side and grill on a griddle or skillet until toasted looking, being careful not to burn. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining slices. Once all are cool, cut them each in half to make the two halves of each “sandwich.” Spread about a tablespoon of frosting on a non-toasted side of the cake, spreading some to the edges to make it look like melted cheese, and then top with the other half. Repeat with remaining slices.

     

    RECIPE: CHILLED STRAWBERRY SOUP

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds strawberries, stems removed and hulled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1-1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • Optional: yellow food color
  • Optional garnishes: 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, fresh basil leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DICE the strawberries, sprinkle the sugar over the top and let sit for 15 minutes. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Let chill completely. If you want the color to be more orange, like tomato soup, add a few drops of yellow food color.

    2. DIVIDE among 6 bowls. Drizzle a little heavy cream over the top and garnish with basil leaves.

    APRIL FOOL’S DAY HISTORY

    The origin of April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is obscure. The most accepted explanation traces it to 16th century France.

    Until 1564, the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year in April, was in use. According to The Oxford Companion to the Year, King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year’s Day to January 1st.

    Some people continued to use the Julian Calendar, and were mocked as fools. They were invited to bogus parties, sent on a fool’s errand (looking for things that don’t exist) and other pranks.

    The French call April 1st Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

    What a fish has to do with April Fool’s Day is not clear. But in the name of a kinder, gentler world, we propose eliminating this holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Frisée Salad With Lardons (Salade Frisée Aux Lardons)

    One of our favorite salad greens, not served often enough in the U.S., is frisée (free-ZAY), curly endive that’s a member of the chicory family. In France, it is formally known as chicorée frisée. (See the different types of endive.)

    There are many ways to serve a salade frisée, but a universal favorite is frisée aux lardons, Lyonnaise-style frisée salad.

    This salad tops the frisée with a poached egg and lardons—crisp, browned chunks of pork belly—and a sherry vinaigrette. When you cut into it, the runny egg yolk gives the salad a wonderful, silky coat.

    Another favorite variation includes crumbled Roquefort cheese or goat cheese with a fan-sliced pear and a few toasted walnut halves. It’s a great flavor layering of bitter from the frisée, salty and smoky from the lardons, sweet from the fruit and tangy vinaigrette.

    You can serve salade frisée as a light lunch with crusty rustic bread, as a first course, or with soup for a light dinner.

     

    frisee-burrata-ilmulinoNY-FB-230

    An Italian touch: burrata cheese. Photo
    courtesy Il Mulino Restaurant | NYC.

     

    GETTING CREATIVE WITH FRISÉE

    You can create your own signature frisée salad by adding some of these mix-and-match ingredients:

    Fruits, Nuts, Vegetables

  • Apple or pear, red skinned, fan-sliced
  • Arugula or watercress
  • Avocado (pair it with grapefruit)
  • Citrus: grapefruit, orange, blood orange or mandarin
  • Dried fruit: cherries, cranberries, currants
  • Figs (combine with prosciutto)
  • Fresh herbs: chives, tarragon, thyme, parsley
  • Nuts, toasted: pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • Red accent: diced red pepper, tomato or watermelon; halved grape tomatoes; pomegrante arils
  •  

    frisee-salad-michaelminaFB-230

    Chef Michael Mina varies the frisée salad by
    substituting a Scotch egg for the traditional
    poached egg. Photo courtesy Michael Mina.

     

    Proteins

  • Bacon, pork belly lardons, pancetta, prosciutto, slab bacon lardons
  • Cheese: burrata, fried cheese (recipe), goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Roquefort or other blue cheese
  • Chicken or duck breast, sliced
  • Cracklings & sautéed liver: chicken or duck
  • Egg, poached (hen or quail)
  • Fish or seafood: crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp
  •  
    You can also add a touch of the sea with this side of white anchovy bruschetta.
     
    Dressings

    You can use a classic vinaigrette or a Dijon vinaigrette, but consider these special variations:

  • Bacon vinaigrette (recipe)
  • Sherry or red wine vinaigrette with olive oil
  • Truffle vinaigrette, with truffle oil
  • Walnut vinaigrette, with walnut oil
  •  

    For another special touch, warm the vinaigrette in the microwave right before dressing the salad.

    WHAT IS FRISÉE

    Frisée is a salad green with distinctive pale, very narrow, curly leaves that grow in a bush-like cluster and are feathery in appearance. The name means “curly.”

    Frisée is often included in mesclun and other salad mixes. It is extremely labor-intensive to grow, and therefore one of the costliest salad ingredients.

    For that reason, it isn’t a conventional supermarket item, but can be found at upscale markets and purveyors of fine produce.

    Frisée has a distinctive flavor and a delightful bitterness—less bitter than its cousins endive and radicchio. Its exotic feathery appearance has great eye appeal. Tips for using it:

  • As with many salad greens, tear it rather cut it with a knife, or the edges may brown. Tear it shortly before use.
  • The tough, external leaves are best used as a plate garnish or fed to the gerbil.
  • Dress the salad right before bringing it to the table, so that it doesn’t discolor or become waterlogged.
  •  
    The chicory genus is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, especially folate and vitamins A and K.
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Kalamata Olive Bread

    olive-bread-pompeianFB-230ps

    Kalamata olives baked in a tasty loaf. Photo courtesy Pompeian.

     

    If you love olives, you’ll love olive bread. We’re lucky: Our neighborhood bakery typically has fresh-baked loaves. If you’re not so lucky, you can make your own.

    The loaves freeze nicely, so make more than one. A homemade loaf of bread also makes a nice house gift when you’re invited for dinner.

    This recipe is courtesy Pompeian, which uses its Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the recipe.

    RECIPE: KALAMATA OLIVE BREAD

    Ingredients For One 1-3/4 Pound Loaf

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon raw granulated sugar
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pitted black oil-cured olives such as Kalamata or
    Picholine, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the warm water, yeast and sugar in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and let sit for 15 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble.

    2. FIT food processor with the dough blade. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl. With the machine running, add the liquid ingredients slowly through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a ball. Continue processing for another 30 seconds.

    3. TRANSFER the dough to a floured wooden surface and flatten slightly into a disc. Top with the olives, roll up and form into a ball. Place the ball in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
    Variations

    4. TURN dough out onto lightly floured surface and round it into a smooth ball, pulling excess dough underneath and pinching to form a tight seal. Return dough to oiled bowl, cover loosely and let rise until doubled in size and the dough spring backs slowly to the touch, about 1 hour.

    5. PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

     

    kalamata-coreylugg-230

    Kalamata olives. Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

     

    6. TURN the dough out, seam side down, onto prepared baking sheet. Brush the bread lightly with water and cut a shallow X into the top of the loaf. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until well browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

    BAKE AHEAD OPTION

    This bread can be made well ahead of time and reheated in 300°F oven.

    It can also be frozen successfully:

  • Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and then in a freezer storage bag; place in the freezer.
  • When ready to serve, remove the bread from the bag, open the foil slightly and place in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
  •  
    Enjoy the bread plain or dipped in olive oil!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Uses For Leftover Cooked Grains

    quinoa-pudding-chobani-230

    Turn leftover quinoa or other grain into a
    breakfast parfait. Photo courtesy Chobani.

     

    Barley, buckwheat, bulgur, rice, quinoa….

    You’re doing your best to eat more whole grains and up your daily fiber content.

    But if you’re staring down a bowl of leftover grains in the fridge, here’s how to repurpose it. Although it isn’t a whole grain, include white rice on this list (since many of us have lots of leftover white rice from Chinese takeout). We haven’t included oatmeal because its cooked consistency has limitations; but you can find ways below to use it.

    UNSEASONED GRAINS

  • Breakfast Or Lunch Parfait: Sweeten the grains lightly and create a parfait with yogurt and fruit.
  • Omelet or Scrambled Eggs: Just fold the grains in.
  • Porridge: Reheat grains in a bowl and serve with milk, sweetener of choice and optional fruit and/or nuts.
  • Rice Pudding Substitute: Place the grains in a bowl and moisten with whole milk or nonfat milk (enough to wet the rice but not to create a pool of excess liquid). Add a teaspoon of your favorite sweetener and optional raisins or chopped dried fruit, plus cinnamon and nutmeg. Microwave for 30 seconds or enjoy cold.
  •  
    SEASONED GRAINS

  • Burritos, Stuffed Peppers, Wraps: Toss ‘em in.
  • Fried Rice/Fried Rice Substitute: Heat oil in a saucepan; add rice or other grains, diced onions or green onions, minced garlic and soy sauce. Add diced bell pepper, carrots and any leftover meat, poultry seafood or tofu. If you have sesame oil, add a teaspoon to the primary cooking oil.
  • Grain Salad: Mix with diced chopped onions, bell peppers and other favorite vegetables, fresh parsley and any leftover protein. Use olive oil to bind. You can also use this filling to make stuffed tomatoes and stuffed peppers.
  • Green Salad: Toss seasoned grains in with your salad or use as a garnish.
  • Mac & Cheese Substitute: Mix grains with shredded, grated or chopped cheese and put in the microwave for 30 sections. Season with fresh parsley, chopped green onions or red pepper flakes. Enjoy it as a quick snack or a side dish; it’s great comfort food.
  • Meatballs or Stuffed Cabbage: In the meatballs, substitute grains for breadcrumbs; in stuffed cabbage, substitute other grains for the rice.
  • Polenta Or Hash Browns Substitute: Use the grains to create a version of these popular sides. Combine the leftover grains with any other ingredients that appeal to you (green onions, sesame seeds, whatever), press into a frying pan and fry.
  • Side: Add more ingredients to make yesterday’s side look different. Beans, corn, dried fruit, green onions, peas, nuts, and so forth can make the dish look new. Also look at a different flavor enhancement: Dijon mustard, horseradish, sesame oil and so forth.
  • Soup: Using a cookie dough scoop, ice cream scoop or tablespoon and place a mound in the center of a bowl of soup—hot or chilled (like gazpacho).
  •  
    Other ideas? Let us know!

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: International Waffle Day

    International Waffle Day, which originated in Sweden, is celebrated in the U.S. on March 25th. There is a separate National Waffle Day, celebrated on August 24th, that was originally created to honor the waffle iron.

    The net of it is, you can celebrate a waffle holiday twice a year! Prepared sweet or savory, they can be served at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    In different parts of the world, waffles are topped with confectioners’ sugar, honey, jam, even peanut butter. But in the U.S., what are waffles without maple syrup?

    And what’s with the different types of maple syrup?

    GRADES (VARIETIES) OF MAPLE SYRUP

    Because maple syrup is tapped in the winter, it has traditionally been seen as a winter flavor. But just like honey and sugar, it can be enjoyed year-round in recipes from cocktails to salad dressings and marinades to desserts.

    If you’re confused by the four grades of maple syrup (A Light Amber, A Medium Amber, A Dark Amber and B) here’s an explanation of the different types.

     

    chicken-waffles-2-sweetchickbklyn-230

    Chicken and waffles. Photo courtesy Daniel Krieger | Sweet Chick | Brooklyn.

     
    In brief, at the beginning of the season, the syrup runs light in both color and flavor, and is called Grade A Light Amber. By mid-season it’s Grade A Medium Amber, followed by Grade A Dark Amber and Grade B. At the end of the season, it’s the strongest in flavor and color, commercial grade syrup.

    CROWN PREMIUM MAPLE SYRUP

    We recently received a bottle of Crown Maple syrup, certified organic. It is produced by Madava Farms, a family business in the historic Hudson River Valley of New York (Dutchess County).

    There, 800 acres of century-old, sustainably managed groves of sugar and red maples enjoy perfect soil and ideal seasonal weather conditions to produce a superior sap for maple sugaring.

    But production is a key determinant of quality. Far from the old primitive sugar house, Crown premium maple syrup is made at the most advanced maple syrup production facility in the country. The pristine sap collected from the maples is cooked using the latest in green, organic production techniques to produce syrups of exceptional quality.

     
    CROWN SYRUP VARIETIES

    As you can see from these tasting notes, different grades pair better with specific recipes.

    Light Amber Syrup

  • Tasting Notes: Flavors of popcorn, vanilla bean, roasted nuts, salted caramel and brown butter. Although light in color, the body has a pleasing weight and depth, with a sweetness and finish that lingers.
  • Uses: Pair with salty flavors, for example glazing pork belly or bacon. Try it in cocktails with whiskey as a base: Replace the muddled sugar cubes in an Old Fashioned. Use it as a substitute for palm sugar in Thai recipes.
  •  
    Medium Amber Syrup

  • Tasting Notes: Aromas of gingerbread and roasted chestnut with flavors of rye, butterscotch and spice.
  • Uses: Pair with baked breads, chocolate and ginger cookies and heavier spirits—barrel-aged bourbons or peaty, smoky Scotch. Use as a topping for chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
  •  

    light-amber-crown-230

    The handsome bottles are nicely boxed for
    gift giving. Photo courtesy Madava Farms.

     

    Dark Amber Syrup

  • Tasting Notes: The flavor and aroma are similar to Medium Amber, but the syrup has more weight, depth and concentration. Aromas of coffee and cocoa beans are present, along with flavors of brown sugar and toasted almond.
  • Uses: Use instead of other sweeteners in coffee, and as an alternative to honey as a condiment for cheeses.
  •  
    Crown Maple Extra Dark for Cooking

  • Tasting Notes: A robust maple syrup with a great depth of flavor, richness and a bright finish.
  • Uses: For cooking and baking. The richness shines through even the boldest of food pairings.
  •  
    Where To Purchase

    A 12-ounce bottle, gift boxed, is $16.95; a samplers of all three is $59.95; and a “petite trio” of three small bottles (1.7 ounces each) is $15.95. An 12-ounce bottle of Extra Dark Syrup for Cooking is $27.95.

    A 10-ounce bag of maple sugar (see below) is 10.95.

    Buy them online at CrownMaple.com.

     
    MORE ABOUT WAFFLES

    The Ur-Waffle. Before there were modern waffles, there were the rustic hotcakes of the Neolithic Age (ca. 6000 B.C.E. to ca. 2000 B.C.E.). Made of cereal pulps, they were cooked on heated stones. Honey is as old as written history, dating back to 2100 B.C.E., where it was mentioned in Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Hittite code and the sacred writings of India and Egypt. We don’t know when man first decided to unite honey and hotcakes, but here’s the honey history.

    The Waffle Iron. The waffle iron—enabling pancake-type foods to be turned into textured waffles—was created in the 1200s, when a [presumably] pancake-loving craftsman combined cooking plates that reproduced a pattern of honeycombs.

    The Electric Waffle Iron. The electric waffle iron was introduced in 1911 by General Electric.

    Types Of Waffles. There are at least 11 varieties of waffles: American, Belgian/Brussels, Liège, Hong Kong Waffle, Krumcake, Malt, Pizzelle, Potato, Soft, Stroopwafel and, yes, Toaster. Take a look at the types of waffles.

    Here’s the complete history of waffles.

    The Center Of Syrup. Canada produces more than 80% of the world’s maple syrup, the vast majority in Quebec. Vermont is the biggest U.S. producer, followed by New York and Maine. But no matter how much is produced in the U.S., we need to import the majority of our syrup from Canada. (We have the trees to produce more syrup, but not the people who want to tap them.)

     
    RECIPE: HOMEMADE WAFFLES WITH A TWIST

    Here’s a recipe from Crown that uses maple sugar instead of table sugar for even more maple flavor.

    Ingredients For 6 Large Waffles

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple sugar (see note below
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups warm milk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT waffle iron to desired temperature.

    2. COMBINE all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl and set aside.

    3. BEAT eggs in a separate bowl; stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Pour milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended.

    4. LADLE batter into heated waffle iron and cook until golden brown; serve immediately with maple syrup.

     

    WHAT IS MAPLE SUGAR

    Maple sugar is made from the sap from the maple tree, as opposed to the juice of sugar cane, from which table sugar is made. It has the same strong maple flavor and aroma as maple syrup.

    The sap is boiled until almost all of the water has been evaporated; the remaining product has crystallized. The sugar can be sold in large blocks, molded into small shapes or simply ground into a granulated version that can be used like regular sugar.

    Maple sugar can be used in the same way as cane sugar: in coffee, tea, baked goods and cocktails. It adds more complexity and richness than cane sugar.

    However, is almost twice as sweet as regular sugar, so when replacing cane sugar, you need to reduce the amount. Try using one-third less, and adjust to taste.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Popcorn Meat Loaf, A Healthier Recipe

    Here’s how to add fiber to a meatloaf and have fun with it. The recipe is courtesy Popcorn.org, the website of The Popcorn Board.

    Don’t expect pieces of popcorn popping up in the slices of meatloaf. The popcorn is ground in the food processor and used instead of breadcrumbs, which (unless they’re whole wheat breadcrumbs) contribute zero fiber.

    See if anyone can guess what the “secret ingredient” is.

    Preparation time is 10 minutes; baking time is 1 hour.

    RECIPE: POPCORN MEATLOAF

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 5 cups popped popcorn
  • 1-1/4 pounds extra lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce, pasta sauce or ketchup
  •  

    meat-loaf-popcorn.org-230

    Popcorn in a meat loaf adds fiber and fun. Photo courtesy The Popcorn Board.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside.

    2. PROCESS popcorn in a blender or food processor until finely ground; pour into a large bowl. Add ground beef, celery, onion, milk, egg, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly blended.

    3. PRESS meat mixture into pan; spread chili sauce over top.

    4. BAKE for 1 hour, or until cooked through. Allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Prosciutto Wrapped Bell Peppers

    Print

    A tasty first course: a roasted bell pepper wrapped in prosciutto. Photo courtesy Westside Market | NYC.

     

    This recipe fits right in with a pink food party, Valentine’s Day, Easter or Mother’s Day.

    RECIPE: PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED BELL PEPPERS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 red peppers, roasted and peeled*
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 4 black olives
  • 4 toothpicks
  •  

    *This is the most laborious part of the recipe. Here’s how to roast peppers. As a substitution, you can purchase whole roasted red peppers in jars (pimento). They have a softer texture and different flavor, but it’s a good flavor.
     
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add peppers and marinate for 1 hour.

    2. FILL each pepper with a piece of mozzarella. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each pepper.

    3. TOP each with a basil leaf and olive, held together with a toothpick.
     
    It’s that easy!

      

    Comments

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