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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate With A Bacon Bar + 21 More Food Bars

Bacon Bloody Mary

Bourbon Bacon

Pancetta

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

[1] Start with a bacon Bloody Mary (photo and a recipe courtesy Bacon Bourbon USA). [2] Bourbon bacon with bacon-cheddar biscuits and bacon jam (photo courtesy Smithfield). You can serve the different types of bacon on a plate or in a jar or glass. [3] You can include European styles of bacon, like pancetta. Check out the different types of bacon (photo courtesy Fra Mani).[4] Bacon-cheddar biscuits (photo courtesy Food Network).

 

For entertaining, we like DIY food bars. Guests help themselves, and you only need to get involved when a plate or bowl needs to be refilled.

Cocktails, Hors D’Oeuvre & Appetizers

  • Antipasto Bar
  • Apple Cider Party Bar
  • Bloody Mary Bar
  • Bruschetta Bar
  • Flavored Shots Party Bar
  • Gazpacho Bar
  • Guacamole Bar
  • Shandy Bar
  • Stuffed Avocado Bar
  •  
    Main Meals

  • Breakfast Or Brunch Bar
  • Coconut Bowl Bar
  • Lunch Or Dinner Bar
  • Tapas Bar
  • Temaki Bar (Sushi Hand Rolls)
  •  
    Desserts & Snacks

  • Assorted Desserts Bar
  • Brownie Bar
  • Frozen Yogurt Bar
  • Ice Cream Bar
  • Pudding Party Bar
  • S’mores Bar
  • Popcorn Bar
  •  
    Today, inspired by Smithfield, we’re adding to the list with a bacon bar.

    Whether for a casual New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, you can create a memorable experience for bacon lovers.

    RECIPE #1: BACON BLOODY MARY

    The easiest route to a Bacon Bloody Mary is to garnish a regular Bloody Mary with a strip of bacon. (You can do this with any savory cocktail, from bourbon on the rocks to a Martini.)

    Or, you could go whole hog with bacon vodka, bacon Bloody Bary mix and a bacon salt rim, as they do at Bacon Bourbon USA.

    We also have recipe for a BLT Bloody Mary, courtesy of the Hotel Jerome in Aspen.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: CARAMELIZED BOURBON BACON

    You can serve plain bacon, and showcase the difference between applewood- and hickory-smoked varieties.

    You can also enhance bacon with herbs, spices and sweeteners, not to mention chocolate. The next two recipes are from Smithfield.

    Smithfield even has ready-to-print labels to distinguish what you’re serving.

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 sixteen-ounce packages thick-cut bacon
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper. Remove the bacon from the package and space evenly on the pan, without overlapping slices.

    2. PLACE the pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, rotating them halfway through. While the bacon is cooking, combine the honey, bourbon and maple syrup.

    3. REMOVE the pans from the oven and carefully drain off the grease (you may wish to reserve it in a jar for cooking greens, eggs, etc.).

    4. BRUSH the bacon with the bourbon/maple syrup/honey mixture. Return the pans to the oven and bake for 3-5 minutes. Let the bacon cool slightly and then serve immediately.
     

     
    RECIPE #3: SEA SALT CARMEL BACON OR SALTED CHOCOLATE BACON

    Like chocolate-covered bacon, this recipe from Smithfield qualifies as dessert!

    You can substitute chocolate sauce to make a chocolate bacon variation.

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons caramel topping (or chocolate topping)
  • 2 twelve-ounce packages thick-cut bacon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking pans with nonstick foil. Remove bacon from package and space evenly without overlapping slices.

    2. PLACE the pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway and continue baking until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven. Using tongs, place the strips on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let cool slightly.

    3. HEAT the caramel in the microwave for 10 seconds. Drizzle the bacon with the caramel and sprinkle with sea salt. Return to the oven and bake 2 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove to cooling rack. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
     
     
    RECIPE #4: BACON-CHEDDAR BISCUITS

    Ingredients For 12 Biscuits

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (we substituted gruyère, which we prefer)
  • 1/2 cup diced cooked standard-sliced bacon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, toss together the cheese, green onions and bacon with 1 tablespoon of flour. Set aside.

    2. WHISK together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut in the butter. Add the milk, stirring in just enough to bring the ingredients together and make a soft dough. Gently fold in the cheese mixture.

    3. TURN the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Pat or roll out the dough to a thickness of ½ or ¾ inch. Cut into rounds with a 2 ½ inch round biscuit cutter.

    4. PLACE the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Ideally serve warm, although they’re delicious at room temperature, too.
     
     
    RECIPE #5: CHERRY BACON JAM WITH THYME & CLOVES

    This sweet-and-savory jam from Smithfield is delicious on biscuits, and also scores as a condiment on sandwiches, with eggs, and with grilled meats, poultry and fish/seafood.

    Ingredients For 9 Servings

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 large onions, finely diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds thick-cut bacon
  • 3 jars (10 ounces each) cherry preserves
  • 1.5 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the bacon in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat until just crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels until cooled.

    2. DRAIN all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan. Increase the heat to medium and cook the onions for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent.

    3. ADD the preserves and sugar to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and the sugar has dissolved. Add in the vinegar, cloves, salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until thickened and syrupy, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile finely chop bacon while jam is reducing. Add bacon and thyme to pan and stir to combine, cooking until to your desired consistency. Let the jam cool. You can store in airtight jars for up to two weeks.

    TIP: For a smoother, less chunky jam, pulse the cooled bacon jam in a food processor until it is the desired smoothness.
     
     
    RECIPE #6: BACON APPLE PIE

    This pie crust top from Smithfield may be the best-tasting lattice ever.

    Ingredients

  • 8 slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 3-1/2 pints sliced cooking apples (such as Granny Smith,
    Rome or Gala)
  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 9-inch single pie crust
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Bacon Apple Pie

    Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Bacon Ice Cream

    Bacon Clothesline

    [5] Bacon apple pie (photo courtesy Smithfield). [6] Bacon chocolate chip cookies from David Venable | QVC. Here’s the recipe. [7] Maple bacon bourbon ice cream. Here’s the recipe from from Cherry Tea Cakes. [8] And then there’s the Bacon Clothesline (photo courtesy David Burke | Fabrick Restaurant).

     
    1. HEAT the oven to 425°F. Place the pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges.

    2. TOSS together the apples and orange juice in a large bowl. Add the cranberries, walnuts and fresh ginger and mix well.

    3. STIR together the flour, ½ cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl. Add to the apples and toss until the slices are evenly coated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust.

    4. WEAVE the bacon slices together over top of pie, leaving 1-inch spaces between the slices (4 slices by 4 slices); tuck the ends of the strips under the apples as needed. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar over the top of the bacon slices.

    5. BAKE the pie in a 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for approximately 50 minutes, until the bacon is browned and crisp. Cover the edges of the crust with foil if it starts to get too dark.

    6. LET the pie stand for 15 minutes before slicing. This pie is best served warm because of the bacon. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

     
    HOW ABOUT BACON CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES?
     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BACON.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Types Of Christmas Muffins

    We first read Little Women in our tween years. Far into adulthood, we re-read it every few years and watch the showing on TV:

  • The 1933 original with Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Paul Lukas, Jean Parker, Frances Dee et al.
  • The 1994 remake with Winona Ryder, Kristen Dunst, Gabriel Byrne, Trini Alvarado, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, Eric Stoltz, Susan Sarandon et al.
  •  
    The biographical novel takes place during the Civil War—although far away from it, in Concord, Massachusetts. As the novel opens, four teenage sisters, their mother and the family retainer are living in reduced circumstances, while the father is away ministering to the troops.

    The family is struggling to make ends meet, and the sisters are about to sit down to a special Christmas breakfast, when their mother asks if they will give up their meal to a suffering immigrant family whose father [presumably] has passed away. They are living in a shack with no food or firewood, and a broken window to boot.

    In the true spirit of Christmas charity, the girls pack up their breakfast and carry it to the desperate family.

    The passage reminds us that, no matter how poor the Marches may seem, true poverty and suffering is vastly different.
     
    OUR CHRISMAS MUFFIN INSPIRATION

    We were inspired by the Christmas story and began to donate a week’s allowance to the Salvation Army. We also induced our mom to create the March Christmas breakfast for us.

    The novel is scant on details, but mentions cream, muffins, buckwheat [probably porridge] and bread.* Mom made buckwheat blini with sour cream and salmon caviar, omelets and muffins with raisins and pecans. We had cream instead of the usual milk in our tea. It became an annual event until we grew up and moved away.

    Fortunately, NIBBLE readers can afford a fine Christmas breakfast. If you’re not a big breakfast eater, you can still enjoy fresh-baked muffins, and cream in your tea or coffee.

    Here are 12 recipes to consider—one for each of the 12 days of Christmas—beginning with gingerbread muffins from I Heart Eating.

     
    RECIPE #1: GINGERBREAD MUFFINS

    Ingredients For 12 Muffins

  • 2½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk low-fat ok
  • 1/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Optional garnish: 2 tablespoons sparkling sugar
  • Optional: fresh sweet butter† for serving
  •  
    ________________
    *A Victorian breakfast would have included eggs baked in cream, sausages, potatoes, biscuits, fruit and a Christmas pudding.

    †For special occasions, we spring for Kerrygold, Plugrá or our favorite European-style cultured butter from Vermont Creamery.

     

    Cranberry Muffins

    Gingerbread Muffins

    Ginger Fig Muffins

    Strawberry Marzipan Muffins

    [1] Cranberry streusel muffins from Eats Well With Others. [2] Gingerbread muffins from I Heart Eating. [3] Ginger-fig muffins made with fig jam, from Dave Bakes. [4] Strawberry marzipan muffins from Sandra Lee.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or grease with cooking spray.

    2. COMBINE the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl, combine. Set aside.

    3. WHISK together the coconut oil and brown sugar in a separate large bowl. Whisk in the molasses, then whisk in the egg. Add the milk and yogurt and whisk until well-combined. Finally, add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

    3. SCOOP the batter into muffin cups (the cups will be full). Sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar (a.k.a. decorating sugar, coarse sugar). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
     
    11 MORE CHRISTMAS MUFFIN IDEAS

  • RECIPE #1: Apple Cider Muffins With Cinnamon Chips
  • RECIPE #2: Apple-Pecan Streusel Muffins
  • RECIPE #3: Cranberry Bliss Muffins With Cream Cheese Frosting
  • RECIPE #4: Cranberry Eggnog Muffins
  • RECIPE #5: Fruitcake Muffins (add an optional tablespoon of orange liqueur)
  • RECIPE #6: Ginger Fig Muffins
  • RECIPE #7: Meyer Lemon, Cranberry & Poppyseed Muffins
  • RECIPE #8: Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Morning Muffins
  • RECIPE #9: Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
  • RECIPE #10: Orange-Cranberry-Marzipan Muffins
  • RECIPE #11: Strawberry Marzipan Muffins
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Baked Hot Chocolate

    Baked Hot Chocolate

    Baked Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows

    Fancy Baked Hot Chocolate

    [1] Baked hot chocolate: a new texture experience (photo by F. Martin Ramin courtesy Wall Street Journal). [2] Prefer marshmallows? Pile them on (photo courtesy Framed Cooks). [3] You can use the same recipe for an elegant dessert like this (photo courtesy Fabulous Foods).

     

    What’s baked hot chocolate?

    Substitute butter and eggs for the milk, and stick it in the oven.

    O.K., it’s not really baked hot chocolate, but the name is fine. It’s not a brownie or cake, since it has no flour. The result is a mash-up of a brownie, a baked pudding and a chocolate soufflé. It’s cousin to a lava cake.

    The top layer is slightly crisp; the middle is pudding-like (similar to lava cake), and, at the bottom, you may find some hot chocolate. When served in a cup, the top covered with whipped cream or marshmallows, it is trompe l’oeil food fun.

    The recipe is said to have originated with Heidi Friedlander (now Robb), a pastry chef who first served it more than a decade ago at Moxie, a Cleveland bistro, where it is still the favorite dessert.

    The recipe ended up in The Essence of Chocolate cookbook by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg, founders of the Scharffenberger chocolate company (now part of Hershey). We adapted this recipe from theirs.

    Our favorite garnish is lightly-sweetened whipped cream with a teaspoon of orange liqueur (e.g. Grand Marnier), bourbon or rum. Since there’s currently a Reddi-Wip shortage, you can use the opportunity to make your own whipped cream. It’s fun, and it tastes glorious.

    Our article on how to make whipped cream also has recipes for salted caramel, lavender and five spice whipped cream.
     
    RECIPE: BAKED HOT CHOCOLATE

    These treats-in-a-cup can be served warm or at room temperature, topped with whipped cream.

    These can be made a day in advance and refrigerated, ungarnished. To reheat, first bring to room temperature; then place in a 350°F oven until warm, about 5 minutes.

    Total prep/cook time is 40 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 9 ounces quality* bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (you can also use chips or chunks)
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon; for Mexican hot chocolate, combine them
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Garnish: whipped cream, lightly sweetened
  •  
    ________________
    *The finer the chocolate, the finer the flavor of the finished dish. You can chop up good chocolate bars.
     
    ALTERNATE GARNISHES

  • Crème fraîche, a sophisticated counterpoint
  • Crushed candy cane or striped peppermints
  • Ice cream
  • Mini marshmallows or marshmallow cream
  • Whipped cream (very lightly sweetened)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place four eight-ounce ovenproof tea cups/coffee cups in a baking pan. If you don’t have ovenproof cups you can substitute ramekins or custard cups, but you lose the trompe l’oeil effect.

    2. MELT the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. The water in the bottom should be barely simmering; the underside of the top section should not touch the water. As it slowly melts, whisk or stir the chocolate occasionally. When fully melted, remove the top section of the double boiler and place the lid on the bottom section, to keep the water simmering. Stir the optional spices into the melted and set aside.

    3. PLACE the eggs and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl; then set bowl over the simmering water. Stir until warm to the touch (about 1 minute); then turn off the heat and remove the bowl to the counter.

    4. BEAT the egg mixture with an electric beater at high speed, until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Gently fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula.

    5. SPOON the batter into the cups. Add very hot water to baking pan, to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the tops lose their glossy finish and begin to look crusty: 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the cups from the pan and onto saucers. Top with whipped cream and serve immediately; or set aside and garnish when ready to serve. Serve with a spoon!

    For a marshmallow garnish: Sprinkle the marshmallows on top and return the cups to oven for 2 to 4 minutes, until the marshmallows or marshmallow cream begin to crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. You can sprinkle them with a bit of cinnamon, cocoa, nutmeg or other favorite.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Dutch Baby Instead Of Pancakes

    Plain Dutch Baby

    Raspberry & Chocolate Dutch Babies

    Lemon Blueberry Dutch  Baby

    Dessert Dutch Baby

    [1] The original Dutch Baby: cinnamon, vanilla and a touch of powdered sugar (photo courtesy In My Red Kitchen). [2] From breakfast to dessert: Raspberry Dutch Baby and Chocolate Dutch Baby (photo courtesy The Modern Proper. [3] Lemon Blueberry Dutch Baby (photo courtesy Camille Styles). [4] A dessert Dutch Baby with all the fixings (photo courtesy Donal Skehan

     

    Have extra house guests for the holidays? Kids home from school? Everybody expecting a leisurely breakfast?

    Rather than flipping pancakes, why not make a Dutch Baby, a multi-portion pancake that’s baked in the oven, no flipping required.

    WHAT’S A DUTCH BABY?

    A Dutch Baby is an airy, popover-type breakfast pancake made first in a skillet, then in the oven.

    You can cook it in a cast iron skillet, or in a special pan that does duel duty for Dutch Babies and paella (plus all these uses for a paella pan).

    The sides puff up and are crisp like a popover the traditional accompaniment of lemon wedges which get squeezed all over the top.

    You can add maple or other fruit syrup, lemon wedges and/or zest, butter and a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar—or all of them.

    You can pair spices with ingredients; for example, an apple Dutch Baby with apple pie seasonings. The fruit can be a topping or diced and added to the batter.

    They are typically sweet, but you can omit the sugar and a savory version, topped with ratatouille, leftover stew, taco fixings, etc. (see our article on savory pancakes).

    You can see the variety in the photos.

    The basic recipe includes eggs, flour, sugar and milk, usually with vanilla and cinnamon. Seasonal fruits are popular additions, as are citrus and chocolate.

    Yes, you can add chocolate sauce or other dessert sauce, fruit and whipped cream, mascarpone or crème fraîche for a dessert Dutch Baby. Frankly, we know more than a few people who’d eat this combination for breakfast (more on chocolate pancakes).

    THE HISTORY OF THE DUTCH BABY

    The pancake is neither Dutch nor Pennsylvania Dutch, Deutsch (German), but created in Seattle at the turn of the 20th century. It has roots in small, thin crepe-like German pancakes, garnished with powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon wedge; and the Apfelpfannkuchen, German pancakes made in a large plate size.

    According to Sunset magazine, Dutch Babies were introduced in the first half of the 1900s at Manca’s Cafe in Seattle, a popular spot that opened around 1902 and closed in the 1950s (here’s the history). The cafe was owned by Victor Manca, but we don’t know who provided the inspiration to adapt a German-style pancake.

    History says that the name Dutch Baby was coined by one of Victor Manca’s daughter, who may have transformed “Deutsch baby” into big Dutch Baby.

    The Dutch baby is a specialty of some diners and chains that specialize in breakfast dishes, such as the Oregon-founded The Original Pancake House or the New England-based chain Bickford’s, which makes both a plain Dutch baby and a similar pancake known as the Baby Apple, which contains apple slices embedded in the pancake. It is often eaten as a dessert.

    Thanks to Good Eggs for this recipe, which we adapted slightly and made with a variety of different toppings.
     
    RECIPE: DUTCH BABY WITH FRUIT & RICOTTA

    Ingredients For 3 Servings
    A good template for the batter is 1/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup milk/otherliquid per egg.

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pears or apples, thinly sliced (substitute bananas or other fruit)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • A few pinches ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup ricotta
  • Maple syrup
  • Optional: lemon or orange zest
  •  
    GENERAL TOPPINGS

    Take a basic (plain) Dutch Baby recipe and add your choices of:

  • Fresh fruit: berries, bananas, whatever
  • Fruit curd, marmalade or preserves
  • Powdered sugar
  • Chocolate sauce other dessert sauce or fruit purée
  • Coconut, toasted nuts, raisins or other dried fruit (we particularly like cherries and cranberries)
  • Dairy: mascarpone, ricotta, hand-whipped cream (i.e., not from a can)
  • Syrup
  •  

    HERE’S A VIDEO OF THE PROCESS

     

    .

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Combine the flour, eggs, vanilla, salt, milk and a pinch of cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whisk until the ingredients and well-incorporated (i.e. no flour lumps).

    2. MELT half of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron pan over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, add the fruit, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. If you have a lemon or orange zest, it adds pizzazz. Use a teaspoon or whatever you feel comfortable with.

    3. STIR gently to coat the pears and cook them over low heat for about 5 minutes. When the pears have softened a bit, drain the butter but keep the fruit in the pan. Then turn up the heat to high add the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Swish the butter all over the pan—sides included—so that the entire inside surface is covered.

    4. POUR the batter over the fruit and slide the pan into the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until that baby is quite puffed up and golden brown. It falls soon after removed from the oven, so be ready to serve immediately. While the pancake is cooking…

    4. SET the garnishes on the table so participants can help themselves quickly.

     
    MORE DUTCH BABY RECIPES

  • Chocolate Dutch Baby With Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate, Raspberry & Hazelnut Dutch Baby
  • Dutch Baby With Fig, Pomegranate & Honeycomb
  • Dutch Baby with lemon sugar (a classic preparation)
  • Savory Dutch Baby With Goat Cheese, Avocado & Asparagus
  • The Original Dutch Baby, just cinnamon and vanilla
  •  
    THE HISTORY OF PANCAKES

    People have been eating pancake-like foods for a very long time. According to Alan Davidson in the Oxford Companion to Food, the first mention of anything other than bread baked on a griddle is the oldest surviving cookbook, De Re Coquinaria (“On Cookery) by Apicius*.

    The book describes “cakes” made from a batter of eggs, milk, water and flour. They were fried and served with honey and pepper.

    Archaeologists have discovered grains on 30,000-year-old grinding tools, suggesting that Stone Age man might have been eating grains mixed with water and cooked on a hot rock.

    While the result not have looked like the modern crepe, hotcake, or flapjack, the idea was the same: a flat cake, made from batter and fried.

    Ancient Greeks and Romans ate pancakes topped with honey, and a Greek reference mentions toppings of cheese and sesame as well.

     

    Savory Goat Cheese Dutch Baby

    Dutch Baby In Cast Iron Skillet

    Dutch  Baby Pan

    [5] A classic Dutch Baby with lemon (photo courtesy Epicurious). [6] You can use your cast iron skillet to make a Dutch —10″ diameter or larger (photo courtesy Simply Recipes). [7] A Dutch Baby/paella pan from Norpro.

     

    These foods were not called pancakes, but the first mention of “pancake” in an English dictionary dates to the 16th century: a cake made in a pan.

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Flat as a pancake” has been a catchphrase since at least 1611.

    For the rest of the pancake’s journey to modern times, head to National Geographic.

    And remember to celebrate National Pancake Day on September 26th.
     
    MORE PANCAKE HISTORY

  • We love this article from National Geographic, and recommend it as a short read on the history of pancakes.
  • Here’s more on the history of pancakes.
  •  
    ________________
    *“Apicius” is believed to be the pseudonym of one or several writers who authored the book. The manuscript of some 400 recipes is believed to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century C.E. Why the name Apicius? It had long been associated with gourmet preferences, named after Marcus Gavius Apicius, a wealthy Roman merchant and epicure who lived in the 1st century C.E. He is said to have once sailed all the way to Libya to eat some much-praised prawns, only to return home without having found any to his satisfaction. He hosted colossal banquets, which eventually drove him to bankruptcy…and suicide.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Decorate With A Squeeze Bottle

    Salad With Flavored Oils

    Fancy Vegetable Plate

    Gravy Polka Dots

    Fancy Sorbet

    Chocolate Martini

    [1] Salad with three different flavored oil droplets (photos #1 and #4 courtesy Matthew Kenney Cuisine). [2] Vegetables with a mushroom sauce swirl (photo courtesy Wassail | NYC). [3] The most elegant way to serve gravy (photo courtesy Strip House | Las Vegas). [4] A fancy way to serve ice cream or sorbet, with a chopped pistachio nuts. [5] Garnish your drinks, too (Chocolate Martini photo courtesy Scrumpdillyicious).

     

    The same plastic squeeze bottles used to serve ketchup at some casual spots can also be used to create glamorous accents—dots, swirls, zigzags—on your everyday foods as well as special occasion fare.

    All you need are inexpensive squeeze bottles.

    You can keep them in the fridge, ready to do a maple syrup zigzag over French toast, flavored olive oil droplets in soups or on plates, raspberry purée for desserts, or anything else you want to dot, squiggle, swirl or zigzag .

    There’s no limit: sweet or savory, foods or beverages.

  • Beverages, including cocktails, can get the special lift. Just use a thicker sauce (e.g. chocolate syrup) on the inside of the glass and let it set a bit before adding the liquid.
  • Dessert sauces and honey
  • Gravy and jus
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Other oils: basil, chili, mustard, etc.
  • Other sauces
  • Purées and coulis
  • Salad dressing
  • Sriracha
  • Etc., etc., etc.
  •  
    SQUEEZE BOTTLE DO’S & DONT’S

    DO:

  • BUY smaller (6-8 ounces), thinner squeeze bottles. While bigger may seem better, you need to control the flow with a bottle what best fits in your grip.
  • PLAN not just the flavors, but the colors. The garnish needs to pop against both the food and the plate. For example, you won’t see a balsamic garnish on a red plate; and it won’t look too great next to brown meats.
  • USE additional garnishes as you like, such as fresh herbs, spices or berries (see our article on Garnish Glamour). Just don’t turn the plate into an overdone art project.
  • Check out the many videos on YouTube for inspiration and more complex techniques.
     
    DON’T:
  • USE this as an opportunity to create new flavor combinations. Test them first in the normal way, before you add blue cheese dressing swirls to a sausage plate.
  • OVER-DO it. Start with smaller amounts first, before you decide to cover an entire plate with polka dots.
  •  
    NEXT STEPS

    1. What are you cooking next? Pick your garnish and make a different design for everyone. Even a ham sandwich can be served with mustard and mayonnaise polka dots or swirls.

    2. Try different flavors with different foods. Maybe that ham sandwich would like a zigzag of sriracha mayo and a drizzle of honey mustard.

    3. Don’t forget the soup. We love it with a few droplets of flavored olive oil, or a swirl of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

    4. Plan your matches. If this is new for you, it will take you longer to decide on the sauce than create the designs. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for spontaneity. Just grab that bottle of ranch dressing, pour it into the squeeze bottle and garnish away!
     
    FINAL NOTES

    A squeeze bottle makes all of this easy.

    Designs don’t have to be perfect swirls or zigs.

    Whatever you start with will be just fine.

    You’re going to have a lot of fun with this!

     

     
      

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