Your Breakfast Sandwich Needs Pickles

By: A.A. Newton 

Life Hacker 

(photo by:  A.A. Newton)

Add pickles to your daily breakfast sandwich .

Breakfast sandwiches are a deeply personal affair. The classic combination of meat, cheese, egg, and bread is infinitely variable, with everything from one’s preferred egg doneness to regional processed meat delicacies contributing to each person’s ideal version. Personal preferences aside, most people would probably agree that there’s no improving on a bacon, egg, and cheese, but I disagree. Pickles make everything better—even an already delicious breakfast sandwich.


When you think about it, pickles are an ideal breakfast sandwich topping. Whichever one you like best—Lebanon bologna or pork roll for me—breakfast meats are heavy on the salt and fat. This is not a dig: it’s why we love them. Throw on an oozing egg and some melted cheese and you’ve got a nearly perfect food—but one that’s almost too rich. Much like a smear of relish on a grilled cheese, slipping a few pickle slices into your breakfast sandwich ties the whole mess together. They invite the slightest bit of sour crunch to the grease orgy, creating an addictive contrast in flavors and textures and making you feel like you’re eating vegetables for breakfast. (What? Technically, you are.)


Cucumber pickles work great here, but if they’re not your thing, don’t let that put you off the whole idea. As we’ve learned from the mighty Reuben, the power of pickled vegetables presents itself in many forms. Sauerkraut, giardiniera, pickled onions, or even pepperoncini are just at home on a breakfast sandwich as any other.

Have we achieved peak heat?

By:  Keith Nunes

Food Business News 

Photo: Restaurant Brands International, Inc.

KANSAS CITY — McDonald’s introduction of its Sweet N’ Spicy honey barbecue chicken tenders as a limited-time offering (L.T.O.) to its U.S. menu this past August is an indication the spicy flavor trend has gone mainstream. Product developers have worked for years with a variety of spicy ingredients to create formulations with the right level of heat to achieve nationwide scale and appeal.
This is not the Chicago-based fast-food giant’s first foray into spicy flavor trends. In 2017, McDonald’s offered a sriracha variety of the Big Mac hamburger nationwide for a limited time. But the Sweet N’ Spicy chicken tenders kick the quick-service restaurant chain’s efforts up a notch.

McDonald’s is also not the only quick-service chain bringing heat to the masses. Burger King added two new spicy sandwiches to its menu in August. The jalapeno King sandwich features two hamburger patties, bacon, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños and a green chili aioli. The jalapeño chicken sandwich is the same but features a breaded chicken filet.
Not to be outdone, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Newport Beach, Calif., announced Sept. 10 its plans to reintroduce chorizo to its menu nationwide for a limited time. The spicy menu addition features a blend of pork and chicken seasoned with paprika, cumin and chipotle peppers.

“As part of our overall commitment to menu innovation and delivering the ‘craveable’ food our customers love, we’re spicing things up and bringing chorizo back to our menu,” said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer for Chipotle Mexican Grill.
In the past, interest in spicy foods has been attributed to more adventurous consumers seeking new experiences. But the addition of spicy offerings, even for a limited time, on such menus of scale indicates something has changed.
Juliet Greene, corporate chef for Mizkan Americas, Mount Prospect, Ill., said what stands out about the recent introductions from McDonald’s and Burger King is the range of spiciness in the products. While McDonald’s is adding heat to the tenders, it is balancing the spiciness with the sweetness of honey. Burger King, on the other hand, appears to have gone all in, she said, with the combination of jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and green chili aioli.
“What’s definitely changed is the level of heat that is acceptable,” Ms. Greene said. “Both products add heat, but Burger King is really owning it. It shows how far consumers have come in the types of heat they want.”
The ingredient supplier Kalsec, Kalamazoo, Mich., has published its HeatSync spicy foods index for the past 10 years. The index was developed in partnership with Innova Market Insights to monitor the use of peppers, seasonings and condiments that contribute to the heat or pungency of a food or beverage.
Overall, the index shows a compound annual growth rate of over 20% since 2007, according to Kalsec, and more than 22,000 new hot and spicy products were introduced in 2017, rising from the 18,000 that were introduced in 2016.

More specifically, gochujang and sriracha both showed about 50% in growth in condiments and sauces, followed by mole, harissa and sambal, according to Kalsec. Peppers showing growth include peri peri, serrano, guajillo, Anaheim, pasilla and arbol.
As consumer interests have shifted toward more products perceived as clean label or natural, Ms. Greene said product developers are challenged to maintain a level of consistency in the spiciness of their products.
“The key is knowing the crop,” Ms. Greene said. “Jalapeños are hotter in dry weather, for example. I like to say they get agitated when it’s hot. You need to know that, and you need to know how much variance the client will accept. With peppers it can deviate 5%.”
She said layering flavor is one way to manage consistency issues.
“It’s a flow,” she said. “You can create layers of spice so it’s a nice build and not a level of heat that smacks you in the face all at once.”
As interest in spicy foods continues to grow, Ms. Greene said her customers are asking what the next chili or pepper will be that will drive additional interest.
“Everyone now knows what jalapeños are and what they do,” she said. “We are being asked about what’s new, is it serranos, poblanos, aji Amarillo? They want to know what else is out there that will let their products stand apart. They want a marketing story that will get people’s attention.”

Ms. Greene added that a potential area of opportunity for adding heat is beverages.
“When I have a margarita, I want a jalapeño in it,” she said. “And I want it in it, not floating on top. We’ve seen this trend with Bloody Mary bars as well.”
At the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food expo, held this past July, Mizkan offered attendees a jalapeño Paloma shrub to demonstrate the use of spicy flavors in a beverage. Ms. Greene said she can see the trend moving into other categories, such as coffee and hot chocolate.
“I can definitely see someone doing an L.T.O.,” she said. “It’s a familiar format that adds a new twist; it’s something that can add adventure to a menu.”

The Fix is in

By :Sandra Rain

Worcester Magazine 

(summited photo)

Pickles are the prefect addition to your burger !

I am pleased to report that

“burgers are the best medicine,” according to the team at The Fix Burger Bar. Turns out, I’ve been doing it all wrong. I solemnly pledge that it’s nothing but bigger macs from here on out.
We’re not talking about a greasy spoon situation; The Fix prides itself on local grinds and house-made sodas. But what they really excel at is volume. The sprawling industrial space regularly accommodates private functions for groups ranging from 10-200 at both lunch and dinner time. The crowd is family friendly and the service is rapid fire.

The Fix offers over 40 toppings to design custom burgers, including the likes of sunnyside eggs, fried pickles, blue cheese, espresso bacon, and even seared foie gras. They take their Americana seriously. If by the grace of god, you landed a Burger-a-Day membership – then you already know this. Each of the 300 lucky Burger-a-Day card carrying members were appropriately guaranteed a burger with fries (or a salad bar meal for non-believers) every day for a year, just as long as they agreed to sit at the bar. The cost to join ran a measly $229, with an ultimate value of $5,415. I know at least one Worcesterite who admits he gained 15 pounds along his Burger-a-Day journey. It is my sincere hope that at least one college sophomore opted to join up rather than spring for a meal plan this year.

The beer selection is approachable and includes local selections from Cold Harbor as well as farmhouse favorites from Oxbow. Variations on the old fashioned range from mad (featuring Mad River maple cask rum) to bossy (have some single barrel Patron reposado tequila with your whiskey bitters). The spiked milkshakes are fun – try Oreo and horchata.
The Fix is just as much about the accoutrements as it is about the burgers. Start with hand-cut potato chips served with sour cream and onion dip ($5). Then, graduate to the fried pickles ($5) complete with crispy crinkles that cling to a fierce horseradish dipping sauce. The roasted garlic and feta hummus ($7) comes with a killer olive relish, but the pita is as dry as you might expect from a bar that specializes in burgers and serves Mediterranean starters as an afterthought.

Servers won’t try to upsell you on Kobe-style grinds ($14) or grass-fed grinds ($11) unless you inquire about the difference. The aptly-named crunchy burger ($13) will come topped with fried prosciutto, parmesan crisp, potato chips, pungent mustard pickles, lettuce and garlic mayo. My favorite selection is the green chile burger ($13) topped with habanero cheddar, roasted poblano and jalapeño, fried corn tortilla strips, avocado, pico de gallo and red leaf lettuce. Liquids are superabundant. I would prefer they gave the greens a quick toss in the sauce, rather than slathering them straight onto the bun. The Fix’s sesame rolls are not hearty enough to absorb a burger’s juices without falling apart, so burger consumption by fork is inevitable but still tasty.
The massive brick building holds a lot of memories for longtime residents of Worcester who recollect Northworks as an industrial hub with a rich history. Carpets have been upended for hardwoods, but the rustic charm and integrity of the space remain intact. Some of the chalkboarding is startling, including what appears to be Boss Tweed devouring a splurge burger. Still, the professional chalkboarding is appreciated.

The Fix is an excellent restaurant for families with young children, large groups of colleagues, and friends hoping to score a table outside on a sunny afternoon. Guests will find the service polished and accommodating no matter the size of their party.

Jalapeño Popper Hot Dog Bites

By Drum Digital


(Submitted: photo)

(Want to whip up a quick? We’ve got you covered with these Jalapeño Popper Hot Dog Bites.)


15ml (1T) olive oil
6 slices Eskort Streaky Bacon, chopped into pieces

1 roll puff pastry
1 tub (230g) cream cheese, softened
5ml (1t) garlic powder
200g cheddar cheese
ground black pepper
1 packet (380g) Eskort American Hot Dogs Regular
8 jalapeños, ends and seeds removed and halved lengthwise
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry bacon until crispy. Remove from heat, drain on paper towel and set aside.
In a bowl combine cream cheese, garlic powder, bacon and cheddar.
Season with salt and pepper and stir until all ingredients are well combined.
Roll out the pastry on a flour-strewn surface and spread the cream cheese mixture evenly onto the puff pastry. Slice the pastry into strips.
Cut the American Hot Dogs to suit the length of the jalapeños. Pair a sausage with a jalapeño slice and roll it up in a strip of pastry until covered. Repeat until all the jalapeño slices are used.
Place the pastry rolls on a baking tray and brush with egg wash.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven and serve warm.

Jalapeño Cilantro Sauce

This is one of my “I want to put it on everything” sauces and it’s based off a wildly popular green sauce recipe from a Peruvian restaurant in NYC. It only takes 5-10 minutes to make, and is perfect with so many dishes!


Tacos with Pickled Pepper Salsa

  • sliced-jalapenos-tub1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup pickled pepper juice
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 8 ounces pickled pepper rings, diced
  • 12 ounces chunky-style salsa
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 8 taco shells, warmed
  • Alfalfa sprouts or shredded lettuce
  • Serves 4

Over medium heat, cook the diced onion in pickled pepper juice until juice evaporates. Add ground turkey and stir as it cooks. When turkey is no longer pink, add diced pickled pepper rings and salsa and heat through. Stir in cheese. Spoon mixture into taco shells. Top with sprouts or lettuce.

Per serving: 460 calories, 32 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 25 g fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 1470 mg sodium.