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Gourmet Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

by BnB Finder October 7th, 2014| Best BnB Bites, Recipes, Sandwiches
Gourmet PB&JIf you're wondering what can possibly be "gourmet" about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, just check out this recipe. It has a definite French feeling, between the French toast base and the Pinot grape jelly (Pinot Noir grapes are not just for wine making anymore).  The crunchy peanut butter is, granted, very North American, but you can always call it beurre d'arachide croquant, as one side of the label says here in Canada. This is one of many lunch dishes at Stone Chalet Bed and Breakfast Inn in Ann Arbor, MI, which offers many special amenities for business
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Mockaletta: A Stripped-Down Classic

by Jane Wangersky September 25th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
paninis-and-sandwichesA real muffaletta is one of those rare dishes whose taste is somehow way more than the combination of the tastes of the ingredients. I realized this the first time I tasted one in a little cafe in New Orleans, on my one visit there many years ago. Since that trip, I’ve got out my Cajun-Creole cookbook and made my own muffaletta from time to time, usually when I had to take something to a potluck. It’s been worth it -- those few times.

What exactly goes into a muffaletta? (Which you’ll see spelled countless different ways.) You start with
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Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

by Jane Wangersky September 2nd, 2014| Best BnB Bites, Recipes
Strawberry Goat Cheese BruschettaBruschetta is a savory dish, of course, but the touch of strawberry in this recipe enhances that rather than turning it sweet. Fresh herbs and greens also help to bring the tastes of summer indoors, and turn a little bit of French bread into a special side dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This comes from the Maine Stay Inn & Cottages in Kennebunkport, ME, where you can enjoy premier accommodations in a historic house -- or one of the 11 cottages surrounding it. I'm just back from two weeks in Maine and still amazed by the
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Put Aluminum Foil to Work for You

by Jane Wangersky August 8th, 2014| Cooking Basics
file0001869934811No doubt you’ve got a roll of aluminum foil in your kitchen. Maybe you use it every day, maybe only once in awhile. Either way, you could probably be using it more often -- I know I could -- and saving yourself a lot of work.

Of course, there are the obvious uses for foil -- putting it over something you’re supposed to “bake, covered” if the pan you’re using doesn’t have a lid, doing the same on lidless containers in the fridge, as we used to do back in the days when plastic wrap was new and weird and
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Day-Old (and Older) Bread

by Jane Wangersky May 16th, 2014| Cooking Basics
bread-623_640There's nothing quite like freshly baked bread, but the magic fades all too quickly. By the time the bread's a day old, the taste and texture are on a one-way downhill trip.  After several days, bread's simply too dry and flavorless to put in a sandwich -- but that doesn't mean it can't still be used in other ways. So there's no need to throw it out, unless of course it's sprouting strangely colored spots. Until that happens, the bread's still safe to eat.

When using stale bread for cooking, you can either take the dryness and run with it,
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Barbecue French Toast

by Jane Wangersky May 15th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
file561253238589French toast, despite the name, exists in some form in every country where people ever had any leftover bread that was beginning to get stale -- in other words, every country in the world. In France, it's called pain perdu or lost/wasted bread, though it's more like bread that's  been saved from being lost or wasted. It's a good dish not only for using up excess bread, but for disguising breakfast eggs for the benefit of people who don't want to look them in the face first thing in the morning.

We usually think  of French toast as sweet, to
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Quick Hot Breakfasts

by Jane Wangersky May 2nd, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
fried-eggs-74335_640Though there are plenty of reasons not to eat cereal for breakfast -- many cereals are starchy, sugary, and full of chemicals -- what probably decides most people in favor of it is the sheer convenience. Pour it in, pour in the milk, that's it.

But by taking just a few more minutes, you can make yourself a hot breakfast with a lot less sugar and more fresh ingredients. (Notice I'm not saying it's low fat or high fiber, but you can't have everything, at least not at breakfast time.) What's more, you can do it with foods you most
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Keeping Bread Fresh

by Elizabeth Skipper April 16th, 2014| Ask the Chef
bread-228939_640When I bake my own bread, it initially has a crusty exterior and chewy interior.  However, after storing it, it loses the crusty exterior. Is there a proper way to store bread to help keep the texture?

Bread is never better than when it's freshly baked. The aroma, the crackly crust, the contrasting chewy or soft interior... if only there were a way to maintain those characteristics. Alas, they are fleeting.

Is there a proper way to store bread to keep the texture? Sort of, although no method will keep it "fresh" for long. The one thing you definitely don't want
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Cracklin Corn Pone Bread

by BnB Finder April 8th, 2014| Best BnB Bites, Recipes
Crackling Corn Pone BreadAlthough our last recipe from Big Mill Bed and Breakfast featured couscous, a somewhat exotic North African ingredient, a lot of down home cooking also goes on in that place. This recipe for home baked corn pone uses cracklins -- pork rind, as they may be called where you live -- which you can either chop or grind to suit your own taste. This is one of those simple home baked dishes that are so good you could eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all three! They'd make a good snack, too.  You'll find the Big
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Breadcrumbs: Easy and Handy

by Elizabeth Skipper April 2nd, 2014| Ask the Chef
breaded shrimp

I would like to make my own breadcrumbs.  Is it as simple as placing bread in a food processor? Do I need to season or toast them?  Any insight is appreciated!


Making your own breadcrumbs is easy, especially with a food processor. Older recipes call for making them with a rolling pin or a grater, and that's time-consuming; but with a food processor, it goes quickly. It can also be done in multiple smaller batches with an appliance like a coffee grinder, which is the way I usually do it for smaller amounts.

For years, I'd collect my stale bread
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Italian Cracked Wheat Bread

by BnB Finder April 1st, 2014| Best BnB Bites, Recipes
Italian Cracked Wheat BreadHere's a great old-fashioned bread recipe that's well worth the time it takes -- try this for a weekend baking project.  You can use either cracked wheat or bulgur (cracked wheat that's been parboiled). Either one will add nutrients and a slightly nutty taste. Either one will also have to be softened for cooking, so be sure not to skip the boiling water stage. The different kinds of flour in this recipe add up to a unique taste. This is from the Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and "the only one
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Mini Flatbread

by Jane Wangersky March 28th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
flatbreadThis started out as a pita recipe, but somewhere in there my old friend the muffin tin insisted on being included, so I ended up with something less pocket-like but still very good.

To backtrack a little -- when I first read a pita recipe a few years ago, I was surprised to learn I didn’t have to start by forming two layers of dough and joining them together. Each pita comes from a single circle of dough. The dough itself forms the layers by puffing up as it bakes and then collapsing back into a disc.

Before our current Bread
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