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Posts Tagged ‘Toast’

Excelsior! As promised, I’ve finally got around to finishing up the first piece in a new series of cook-the-book style posts! First at-bat is Stan Lee Presents the Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook. 

The book begins with a brief introduction and some basic tips on safety and kitchen cleanliness. Then, as any good morning would, delves into some breakfast.

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A wise man once said “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food” and a trip to your local diner will prove that every time. While studies have more or less debunked the conventional wisdom that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, starting your morning with good food is a great way to set the tone for the rest of the day.

With Captain America’s Day Starters, we get a few different options for easy, healthy and delicious kick start.

‘Fresh fruit or fruit juice. Lots of vitamins C and A’

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I’ve wrote on here a few times about how great smoothies can be for breakfast. Blend up your favorite mix of fruits and veggies with some juice or milk (I also like to throw some type of sea vegetable in the mix) and you’re ready to go. Once you blend your mix, you can freeze it in an ice cube tray to make things even easier while you’re still groggy. This particular blend I threw together features banana, pineapple, orange, mango and sweet potato.

‘Milk is the best source of calcium. It’s need for strong bones and teeth. It also supplies protein – essential building blocks for our bodies’img_4825

Milk is certainly nutritious, if not a little bit weird as a concept, but yogurt has even more calcium and is loaded with beneficial bacteria. Mixed with granola and some fresh fruit, it makes for a hearty, protein-packed breakfast.

‘Bread or cereal, lots of variations in this department’

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For simplicity, flavor and customization, look no further than Avocado Toast, loaded with Omega 3 fats and complex carbohydrates. The only two things you need are in the name itself. Apart from avocado and toasted bread, the possibilities are near endless. The folks over that The Kitchn have a great piece to get your creative juices going; Here, I’ve got 12 grain bread with butter and sesame seeds, mashed avocado, and thinly sliced cucumber tossed with salt, pepper, chili flake and lime juice.

Now, for those looking for a more traditional American-style breakfast, look no further than Hulk’s Fried Potatoes with Bacon and Eggs

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This dish needs little explanation, if any at all. Bacon, eggs, toast, breakfast potatoes; Maybe some coffee, if you’re so inclined. I will give one little trick I recently picked  up while working mainly breakfast shifts: par-boil your potatoes with onions and garlic. This cooks them through, so when you fry ’em up they’ll be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. It’s the same principle to making great French Fries.

In Our Next Exciting Issue…

The Thing’s Clobbered Omelet

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Digging through old recipes can be a lot of fun. Reading about dishes that you haven’t made in a long time, if ever at all, can bring about a great sense of rediscovery and, if you’re like me, get excited about food at times when you really aren’t. At my parent’s house recently, I was going through some old things and remembered that my childhood toybox was literally full of old, obscure cookbooks that I picked up at yard sales and thrift stores. And when you consider how drastically the way we eat has changed in the last century, it’s fascinating to see how dishes and recipes were structured before that period. But what if we take that idea to the extreme? How much different can recipes be if we go back far enough?

Centuries ago, the way we ate couldn’t be more different than it is today. The highly processed foods that have ingrained themselves as low-class identifiers were once reserved solely for nobility and their guests; If you didn’t have copious amounts of money, you couldn’t afford to process flours, for example, as finely and were resigned to eat more hearty, whole-grain loaves.  Dried and preserved meats were once necessity rather than niche. Kitchens, cookware, and even recipes of the period would be nearly unrecognizable to many of today’s cooks and chefs. For the 17th week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge, we’re looking at food from  the iconic Medieval era!

Of the surviving manuscripts, one of the most through is known as the Harleian Manuscript 279 and dates between 1420 and 1430. Now housed in the British Museum, the work was first reprinted published in England 1888 by Thomas Austin.The manuscript contains hundreds of recipes from Medieval England, written not only in the traditional narrative style, but also in the vernacular of the period, meaning that it can be incredibly difficult to read and even more so to replicate recipes from. While there are various groups have transliterated the recipes, their efforts seem mostly focused in recreating the dish as it would have been seen or eaten at the time it was created. And while that approach is certainly intriguing, I’ve always viewed recipes as more a guide than doctrine; With a basic idea of what your endgame is supposed to be, you can use the tools and methods available to reach that point.

After carefully perusing a wide array of dishes found in the Harleian, I found a recipe that piqued my interest:

.xxxvj. Pokerounce. Take Hony, & caste it in a potte tyl it wexe chargeaunt y-now; take & skeme it clene. Take Gyngere, Canel, & Galyngale, & caste þer-to; take whyte Brede, & kytte to trenchours, & toste ham; take þin paste whyle it is hot, & sprede it vppe-on þin trenchourys with a spone, & plante it with Pynes, & serue forth.

Like I said, difficult to replicate. However, after Googling nearly every term there, I think I’ve got a ballpark to work with.

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What the recipe boils down  to (no pun intended) is thickened honey, flavored with ginger, cinnamon, and galingale, served on bread and topped with pine nuts. That being said, I did take some liberties with things: Galingale is a plant closely related to ginger that’s native to England and Wales. As food, the tuber is used in much the same way that ginger is, as a earthy, spicy flavoring in sweet and savory dishes alike. Galingale isn’t exactly something that’s ever been farmed or used much outside of Medieval England, let alone being available here in the states. However, Galangal is a nearly identical plant, native to southeast Asia. It grows the same way, tastes the same, and can be used in the same way. Hell, even the name is almost the same! With the wealth of Asian markets in my area,  galangal is pretty easy to come across, so I went with that. As for the bread, trenchers were wide, flat portions of usually stale bread, that were commonly used as plates. While the recipe calls for the honey to be served on such a bread, I’m not really interested in eating a hunk of stale bread. I used a nice loaf of sourdough, cut into thick slabs and toasted with a little bit of butter. Common practice is to toast pine nuts, but the recipe didn’t specify, and I actually prefer them raw.

The results? Very, very tasty. The galangal gives an almost peppery note to the honey, which comes through really nice against such strong sweetness. And the woodsy, resin-y aspect of the pine nuts brings this kind of overlaying flavor that I can’t really describe properly.

Pokerounce

makes 4-6 servings

  • Honey, about 1 cup
  • Ginger, 1 2-inch piece
  • Galangal*, 1 2-inch piece
  • Cinnamon Stick**, 2 2-inch sticks
  • Sourdough Bread, thick sliced, 4-6 pieces
  • Butter, unsalted, 4-6 tablespoons
  • Pine Nuts, about 1/2 cup

In a small sauce pot, heat honey until it begins to bubble. Meanwhile, thinly slice ginger and galangal, and crack cinnamon stick with the back of a knife. Reduce honey to allow heat, add spices, and continue cooking until it begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Strain spices from honey while still hot, and allow to cool completely (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Heat a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan to medium high heat. Spread sliced bread with butter on one side. Toast bread in hot pan, buttered side down, until well toasted and edges begin to blacken, about 5 minutes. Spread toasted side of bread with thickened honey and top with pine nuts (toasting optional)

*If galangal isn’t available, substitute half as much additional ginger and a few black peppercorns

**If cinnamon sticks aren’t available, substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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As a post from Tumblr told me this morning, there is apparently a very important episode of football on this weekend; some kind of superb owl? I’m not really sure on the specifics. But from what I’ve gathered, it’s a really big deal. This Sunday, fans all over the country will dress up as their favorite characters and host viewing parties for this special 50th anniversary event, with some, more hardcore fans paying outrageous ticket prices and traveling across multiple states to meet with other fans (probably also in costume) to watch the event together and share in the mass comradery. Sounds like a bunch of nerds, if you ask me. I mean, throwing a party and dressing up as characters just to watch a show? Who does that?

But in all seriousness, Super Bowl Sunday is part of true Americana, regardless of if you’re familiar with sportsballing. Plus, who doesn’t love the commercials?   At the very least, it affords us an opportunity to come together as friends and family, eat, drink, and be merry. Aside from the game and the ads, one of the most iconic aspects of game day is the snacks. Chips and dip still reign supreme, but over the years Super Bowl snacks have grown from simple bags and boxes to full-blown feats indulging sweet, savory, and everything in between. To celebrate the greatest of all snacking holidays, the 6th week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge is all about finger foods!

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When I think of the perfect finger foods, a few qualifications come to mind: First off, and this should be obvious, you have to be able to pick it up and eat it; no silverware involved. Second, 1-2 bites, 3 bites maximum. Third, while running the gamut of snacks that is sure to ensue, you’re likely going to be drinking. Your snacks have to help combat the effects of the alcohol, so you need some carbs and fat, protein doesn’t hurt either. Following those pretty basic guidelines, you’ve got a whole world of ideas to play around with.

Personally, one of my favorite finger foods is a dish formerly on the menu at one of my favorite restaurants in town, which I also worked at briefly. So simple, it really doesn’t even require a recipe: Toast, roasted garlic puree, blue cheese, and a drizzle of honey. Now, as I’ve said before one here a few times, I’ve never been a fan of blue cheese. This dish is the one that got me to reconsider that stance. The cheese is actually the thing that makes this such a great dish; literally the best unpasteurized cheese in the world, Bayley Hazen Blue from Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont. The cheese itself is super buttery and rich, while the distinctive mold is less assertive than other blue cheeses in the same style. The layers of flavor in the cheese are complemented by the pungency of roasted garlic and sweetness from the honey, and a crusty slab of whole-grain bread provides the perfect vehicle. Honestly, I don’t think I could eat enough of these. Add this to your game day festivities and it’s ure to be a hit.

Like I said before, this is so simple that it really doesn’t require a recipe. But knowing how to roast garlic properly helps quite a bit. The dudes over at The Kitchn have a great bit about roasting garlic. My personal preference, however it actually confit the garlic: Using a small oven-safe dish or a loaf pan, add as much garlic as you want, submerge in a neutral flavored oil (vegetable, canola, or grapeseed even). Cover the dish in foil and cook in a 325F degree oven for about 2 hours, until the cloves are fully browned and soft. This method also yields a delicious garlic flavored oil that you can use in countless recipes, but it really awesome for making garlic bread.

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