Rusk

Rusk is a kind of biscuit or light bread dough baked twice until it is hard. One key use for rusk is as the cereal ingredient utilized in manufacturing ground meat products especially the great British “banger” sausage. Rusk’s unique characteristics impart the yielding texture and subtle flavor profiles expected of this British staple. There are two types of rusk: yeastless and bread rusk, though the former is more widely used with about 80% market share.

Rusk used in sausage production started in southwest Britain in the 1920’s. Until that point, sausages were often made with stale bread crumbs obtained from the local baker. However, stale bread, though cheap, did have its shortcomings. The variability of the bread led to differences in water absorption as well as uncontrolled bacterial count, leading to accelerated sausage souring and problems with color and shelf life. Rusk solved the issues through its manufacturing process, with its consistency delivering predictable outcomes. It greatly contributes to a desirable finished product texture (without being too meaty or mealy), extended shelf life, an enhanced appearance and overall value.

The Big Bang Theory

Despite the recent surge in popularity, nose to tail eating has actually been around for a long time. The phrase “everything except the squeal” was coined many years earlier at a time when two world wars and the Depression drove consumers to grapple with limited resources.

There are stories of very unscrupulous butchers using sawdust and other nefarious materials from the floors of their shops to “pad out” the meat and make what little there was go even further. More commonly however, butchers would use whatever regional grains were in abundance and a considerable amount of water to extend the product.

Sausages that were made in this way had a tendency to pop when cooked. During World War II British soldiers would put them on shovels over an open fire, and the bursting of their casing in the trenches of northern Europe were rumored to sound like cracks of gunfire. Thus, the British “banger” was born. While this tale may be more fiction than fact, it highlights one unique aspect that defines the banger, although maybe slightly exaggerated.

Once refined, rusk became an essential part of sausage processing. It not only eliminated the exploding sausage by controlling the moisture and fat migration but also helped deliver a more rounded and desirable flavor and texture.

The rusk element doesn’t technically have a protected status, but a sausage without a certain amount of “filler” is not a British banger. Heston Blumenthal seems to agree. In his book and TV show “In Search of Perfection,” Blumenthal sets out to create the perfect banger. At first he hypothesized that a perfect banger would have very high meat content mixed with some seasonings, essentially being a filler-less sausage. However, the initial result was missing the right snap and was strangely “too meaty.” Blumenthal eventually concedes and acknowledges the necessity and importance of incorporating fillers for the perfect banger.

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Blueberry Sausage Brunch Cake With Blueberry Sauce

The blueberry sauce on this sausage cake provides the right acidity to brighten an otherwise traditionally heavy dish. The chefs here at Newly Weds Foods have fully explored sausage and ALL the ways to use it, as this recipe demonstrates.

Cake
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 lb pork sausage crumbles, browned
1 cup blueberries
¾ cup pecans, chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F convection.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add both sugars and mix to combine on medium speed.
4. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix well after each addition.
5. Add flour and sour cream in alternating batches.
6. Fold in Sausage crumbles and blueberries with a rubber spatula.
7. Pour batter into a greased 9”x13” pan. Sprinkle nuts on top.
8. Bake for 25 minutes.
9. Serve with warm blueberry sauce

Sauce
Ingredients:
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
2 cups blueberries
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt

Directions:
1. Make slurry by combining 2 Tablespoons of water and 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. Mix until smooth
2. Combine remaining five ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.
3. Give slurry another stir until smooth, then add to the pot constantly stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
5. Serve on top the Blueberry sausage brunch cake.

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Stop Playing “Ketchup” With Your Dog!

The next series of blog posts will highlight sausages and the many forms of this ever popular tube-like treat. From Hot Dogs to Brats to the British Banger and beyond, the versatile encased meat mainstay has something to offer everyone. Starting with the simple and straight forward hot dog, our chefs created a few special ways to \ elevate the experience.

Let’s “relish the thought” of eating a simple hot dog at the old ballpark or during a backyard party this summer. Now, combine the love of hot dogs with the knowledge of cooking and fun ingredients. That takes one of America’s greatest comfort foods off the kid’s side of the menu and moves it to the adult side: “Haute Dogs.”

In order to make this happen, a few changes need to take place. First, the size of the dog. No longer will a small 10 to 1 kid dog (10 hot dogs to a pound) do the trick. Start cooking with a larger wiener, either a ¼
pound or jumbo ½ pounder. Second, change the bread. Hold the buns, and search out fresh baked artisan breads like ciabatta, sourdough, Italian panini, sun-dried tomato tortillas, or crispy-crusty French bread. Third, change the cooking method from steaming or heaven forbid, boiling. The grill is the place to be. Grilling helps bring out the natural smoky flavors.

A panini press would also work wonders. If the hot dog was butterflied (split dog ¾ deep right down the middle and open sandwich style), there could be even better grill marks and a shortened cook time. Last and certainly not least, the “haute dog” toppings must be fresh and creative. Fruits, vegetables, seasonal favorites, and much much more. Keep in mind there are no rules to making it right and making it taste great.

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A Middle Eastern Presentation…Just For You

Now that you have learned about the Middle Eastern food trend in the past blog posts from the highlights about the cuisine to the flavors that enliven the meals and even seen some insight into our culinary team’s adventures, what could be next? An opportunity for Newly Weds Foods to help your company bring these flavors to life with your new product development initiatives.

Allow Newly Weds Foods to be your guide. Coming soon, Newly Weds Foods will have a deep dive presentation on Middle Eastern cuisine, which contains:

  • An overview of the region
  • Signature dishes from several countries
  • Commonly used ingredients and examples of how these are being used in foodservice and retail products
  • Recipes developed by Newly Weds Foods chefs that highlight the flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine

Contact your sales representative for more details or to schedule a presentation and tasting of these flavors. Let Newly Weds Foods help you deliver that authenticity your customers are looking for.

 

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Z’hug Sauce

This is the Yemenite version of hot sauce.  It’s typically served with crackers as an appetizer but it’s also served on falafel or shawarma or even in soups!

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups parsley, rough chop with some stems
1 ¼ cups cilantro, rough chop with some stems
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup and 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons jalapeño, rough chop
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons NWF harissa seasoning
1 tablespoon water

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.

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The Vibrant Flavors Of A Colorful Cuisine

What makes Middle Eastern cuisine so celebrated are some of the unique preparation methods and ingredients native to the Fertile Crescent area. Some representative tastes of the cuisine include cooling, tangy, slightly spicy, and herbal. These flavors are derived from ingredients such as yogurt, garlic, red pepper, and oregano that tantalize the taste buds with each bite. With the variety of flavors that Middle Eastern foods have to offer, it’s no wonder they are starting to gain popularity in retail and foodservice channels. They are poised for even further success when seen as a “better for you” option.

From a preparation method perspective, Middle Eastern foods, especially meats, are traditionally grilled, braised, or roasted. Roasting meat on a vertical spit is one of the more unique cooking methods that originated from the region. Grains, legumes, spices, and vegetables are typically blended, puréed or fermented to enhance the natural flavors of the ingredients, which create unusual yet delicious condiments for proteins, vegetables and breads.

One such condiment that is growing in prominence in the western hemisphere is harissa. This chili paste is made from a blend of smoked Tunisian baklouti and serrano peppers, garlic, coriander, and tomatoes. Another notable item is tahini, which is a paste of sesame seeds often used in falafel wraps. Both of these have seen growth on menus over the last four years, harissa (+78.8%) while tahini went up (+53.3%). A few emerging condiments from the region include muhammara and Yemeni green z’hug. Muhammara is a mixture of puréed roasted red peppers, walnuts, garlic, and lemon juice blended with the tangy sweetness of pomegranate molasses. Yemeni green z’hug has been described as the Arabic version of pesto, only spicier. Z’hug is typically made with green hot peppers, cilantro, coriander, garlic, parsley and various other spices such as caraway seeds. Both muhammara and Yemeni green z’hug are relatively new to American menus and grocery shelves, but as consumers with adventurous palates continue seeking new flavors, these interesting, bright, bold and tangy offerings just might be what they are craving.

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Tahini Brownies

With this recipe we let our chefs stray away from the traditional or expected and they came up with a warm gooey brownie, with buttery tahini sauce inside and on top. It’s along the lines of a chocolate peanut butter brownie but without the peanut allergens.

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter, salted
4 ounces chocolate (bittersweet), chopped
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 eggs (large)
1 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¾ cup tahini
⅓ cup flour (all purpose)

Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8” square baking pan with foil, and lightly coat with butter.
    2. Melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat and pour over cocoa powder and chopped chocolate. Whisk to combine.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Then whisk in tahini. Fold in the flour. RESERVE ½ cup of the tahini mixture for top garnish.
    4. Combine the remaining tahini mixture with the melted butter and chocolate to form brownie batter. Pour into buttered baking pan.
    5. Using reserved tahini mixture, evenly place dollops (approx. 6) across the whole pan, leaving some brownie batter showing.
    6. Cut or swirl into batter with a butter knife or fork to create a marbled effect. Be careful not to overwork it.
    7. Place into oven, bake at 350°F for about 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
    8. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

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Feta & Olive Salad (Flatbread/Sandwich Topper)

Try this easy to share flatbread idea as an hors d’oeuvre at your next party. The recipe comes directly from our culinary staff here at Newly Weds Foods so you can be sure it’s authentic and delicious.

Ingredients:
⅓ cup kalamata olives, cut in half
¼ cup green olives, rough chopped
2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, medium dice
⅓ cup feta cheese (seasoned in oil and pepper/herbs), small dice
1 tablespoon red onions, small dice
¼ teaspoon za’atar seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together. Stir well to ensure even distribution of ingredients.
  • Cover and set aside.
  • Place on top of za’atar seasoned flatbread or sandwich.

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Chicken Tenders, Bacon & Egg Sandwich

Sandwich Build

1 Newly Weds Foods English muffin, toasted or grilled
1 tablespoon Feta Cream Cheese Spread
1 tablespoon Harissa mayo
2 strips bacon, cooked
2 breaded chicken tenders
¼ teaspoon Newly Weds Foods Moroccan seasoning blend
1 Roma or Campari tomato, sliced
1 fried egg, sunny side up

Feta Cream Cheese Spread

4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
2 ounces feta cheese
2 tablespoons chervil, chopped
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons capers

Harissa Mayonnaise Spread

½ cup full fat mayonnaise
¼ cup harissa sauce

  • Place all ingredients for cream cheese spread into a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with paddle attachment for about 2-3 minutes, or until all ingredients come together.
  • Place into container and place into cooler until ready to use.
  • Place mayonnaise and harissa sauce into a mixing bowl. Mix together using a whisk.
  • Place sauce into container, cover, and store in cooler until needed.
  • Fry or bake chicken tenders. After cooking, toss with Moroccan seasoning.
  • Place about 1 Tbsp of harissa mayonnaise spread on top half on English muffin. Place 1 Tbsp of feta cream cheese spread on bottom half of English muffin.
  • Place 2 strips of crispy bacon, 2 pieces of chicken tenders, 3 tomato slices and 1 egg over feta cream cheese spread. Top with top half of English muffin.

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Peanut Butter, Bacon, and Banana Open Face English Muffin

1 Newly Weds Foods English muffin, toasted or grilled
¼ cup peanut butter
2 slices bacon, cooked
1 banana, sliced
2 teaspoons honey

  • Spread 2 Tbsp peanut butter over one half of toasted English muffin. Break one piece of bacon in half and place on muffin on top of peanut butter.
  • Place 7 slices of banana in a circular pattern over bacon slices.
  • Drizzle about 1 tsp of honey in a zig zag pattern over top of sandwich.
  • Use remaining ingredients to repeat the process for the second half of English muffin.

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