Posted 2/23/22

BY BEA WESTERBERG Lets Eat & Drink Some how or other the “think spring time gardening” hormone got kicked in place this week and I decided that it would be a good idea to plant and grow a big …

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Lets Eat & Drink

Some how or other the “think spring time gardening” hormone got kicked in place this week and I decided that it would be a good idea to plant and grow a big selection of beans. These will grow up, left to dry on the stems and then the pods harvested and shelled. I did tell you to question me if I said I had to order more tulips for this fall and maybe we will have to add beans to that list. I have been thinking what those 100 tulip bulbs planted right next to each other in the stock tank by the barn will look like come spring. They will either be a tourist attraction or a big flop and not come up at all. Planting tulips in November in Minnesota is probably not a hot tip. Okay, that is another reason for spring to come!

I have heard that French toast is being tried in many different ways in different parts of the US after last week’s article hit the press. It is really a very flexible treat with so many ways to make it and all the different ingredients that can be used to enhance it. It does not even have to stay in the same shape as you can cut up the bread, add the other ingredients and use the oven, crock pot or Instant Pot to cook. To push the envelope even more, we can change the bread out for croissants, bagels, or English muffins.

Have you heard of the quick, easy and innovative way to make French toast with melted ice cream? Jacques Pepin, the well known chef, came up with this for a fast breakfast item. Generally, a good quality vanilla ice cream is allowed to melt and then a portion is placed on a plate. You will have your fry pan heated to cooking temperature. Dip all sides of bread pieces in the melted ice cream and fry in the pan. A lot of the recipes will tell you to then place the prepared toasts back on the plate with the melted ice cream and then add your other toppings. This has been labeled a 2 ingredient recipe. I would think the brave would be okay with trying other ice cream flavors beyond vanilla. Maybe this would be the time to mention heavy cream, eggnog, coffee creamers, and buttermilk for things to have the bread dipped in. And speaking of more bread like things, how about cinnamon rolls, Hawaiian bread or cinnamon raisin breads?

Last week I said I would share tea information with you from the C& EN magazine. I have a lot of teapots but I never really seem to use them very often as I just go to the microwave and zap a cup of water. Also, for Christmas I got a electric tea pot that heats water very, very fast and it has gotten limited use since then.

Sometimes a lack of information is for the better. Until reading this article, I did not think microwaving tea water was a serious problem but I guess some have found that it is. Some Chinese scientists have found that microwaved tea water is 8°C hotter at the top of the cup than below. Water boiled on a stove with heat from bottom or in an electric kettle will be roughly the same temperature and a convection process is the reason why. Being heated in the microwave does not create a convection process so it does NOT have an even temperature. It appears that the end result of microwaving water is that it is really not as hot as you think it is. I am going to leave it up to you to decide if this is a serious enough problem to correct, lose sleep over or just mix the water a bit and heat a few seconds more.

True tea purists are on a different wavelength. There is a list of recommended water temperatures for each type of tea and it is a very wide range. Brewing times also vary a lot. You can get electric tea kettles that allow you to set the temperature for the type of tea you will be using. The next step will be you allowing only the “correct” brewing time. I never got that part of tea brewing so I am the “backwoods” person who just leaves the tea bag in the cup and I am still alive. LESSON: No one firm rule!

Lets do a toast of French toast and your favorite beverage to spring.