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This is the hardest part of the recipe, I promise

I made a Dutch Baby. Or maybe it’s not a Dutch baby; it’s just a big apple pancake. I’m not entirely clear on the difference, but boy was it delicious. Really, so darned good. And pretty, but I’m afraid you’re going to have to take my word on that. I always saw these going by to other tables on visits to the Original Pancake House, but I never had the patience to order one. They take extra time, and I wait for no pancake.

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So you know what’s awesome after you’ve had the longest work week on record, and maybe possibly just the tiniest bit too much to drink on Friday night, to celebrate the end of the longest work week on record?

Quiche.

Hear me out. I know it’s got this reputation as effete Fronch foofoo, but seriously. It’s got everything your hangover needs – salt, grease, carbs, protein. Plus bacon. 

Start with a pie crust. Make your own, if you’re up to it. (There’s a gluten-free one here for those so inclined.) Press it into your pie plate, and preheat the oven to 400°.

What’s in your refrigerator? Veggies, cheese, proteins – all good in quiche. I coarsely chopped some bacon and fried it until it was right on the cusp between chewy and crispy, then sauteed some chopped zucchini and halved cherry tomatoes in the bacon fat until the zukes gave up their water and the veggies started to caramelize. Then I dumped the bacon, the veggies (drained of fat), and some crumbled feta into the pie crust.

Work in progress

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Omelette

Omelette

Sunday morning is Breakfast Showdown day in my house, and while the spouse was convinced that his box of frozen waffles would win him a speed victory, this Omelette actually takes no more time than the toasting.

You will need

You will need

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 slice of black forest ham
  • 1 slice of swiss cheese
  • 2 blobs of frozen spinach
  • ¼ of an onionChop pepper and onions and throw them to a non-slick, heated pan.
    Fry peppers & onions

    Fry peppers & onions

    Thaw and drain spinach. Beat the eggs mercilessly. Chop the ham and cheese. 

    Thaw, beat, chop

    Thaw, beat, chop

    Add eggs to peppers and onions and continue heating until eggs are firm on the bottom.

    plus eggs

    plus eggs

    Add spinach, ham and cheese. Mix slightly so that any still-liquid eggs can cook.

    eggs + extras

    eggs + extras

    Turn the now-fried beast over upon itself:

    turn over

    turn over

    Top with leftover cheese and serve with leftover peppers.

    Eat it!

    Eat it!

    At this point the Eggos will be removed from the toaster and you may laugh at your cardboard-waffle-loving partner.

This is my puppy, Barney.

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We got him on the Ides of March, which of course we all know you’re supposed to beware, but there is nothing to beware about this dog.  Unless you’re eating a pancake.  This puppy goes bonkers for pancakes.  We discovered this on his first day at home.  My toddler threw a pancake on the floor, and Barney ate it like it was covered in powdered sugar and crack dust.  Ever since then I’ve been making him pancakes.  He will do anything for a pancake. Read the rest of this entry »

eggala

And then there are those recipes that become a part of family lore. The food you crave and devour on traditional family occasions, but people outside your immediate family Just Don’t Understand. In my family, we have our fair share – Grandma’s cabbage rolls baked in sauerkraut instead of tomato sauce, Uncle Peter’s Dip (you will RUE the day I post this), Aunt Elda’s Always Fail Cake, and Eggala. 

Today, I bring you my Grandma Mary’s beloved Eggala. The name is a bastardization of the more common Eggs Goldenrod or Eggs À la Goldenrod. A little Google aided research reveals the original recipe dates back to the 1896 edition of the Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook.

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Or, “Everything tastes better with flowers”

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I think all of us are familiar with the old adage “When life gives you rotting bananas, make banana bread” and no one lives by that principle as much as I do, but life has been dealing me more rotting bananas than usual lately, and eventually one does grow tired of the traditional banana-nut loaf. So with the knowledge that there were bananas quickly aging in my fruit bowl yesterday, I grabbed a bag of sweetened coconut flakes at the supermarket, figuring “bananas…coconut…Epicurious has gotta have something.”

And of course it did. I chose this recipe for its simplicity, and for the many helpful reader tips for variations upon the theme. My adaptation was to use less sugar, add some lime juice and zest and some ground cardamom.

Banana coconut muffins with lime and cardamom
(see — it already sounds more sophisticated)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (3/4 cup)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Juice and zest of one lime
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line muffin cups with liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together bananas, butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, lime juice and zest, cardamom and 1/2 cup coconut in a large bowl until combined well, then fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened.

Divide batter among lined muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut. Bake until muffins are puffed and golden, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer muffins to a rack and cool slightly.

The verdict? A tasty little muffin if not much to look at. Moist and crispy at the edges. Still, in my opinion, too sweet, you might want to cut down on the sugar even more, especially as the sweetened coconut is really sweet. I will definitely make this again, trying other variations. I see chopped nuts, dried fruits and different spices in its future..

coffeedone

Like I may have mentioned, y’all, I’m cheap. I am so cheap that to me, paying for an iced coffee at McDonald’s is tantamount to SETTING MONEY ON FIRE. That’s two whole dollars I could have kept in the bank, where with the magic of compound interest they could turn into $4,329,317.39 by the time I retire!

Er. Anyway, the point was, you can make a delicious McCafe-esque iced vanilla coffee in your very own home. It is easy, and it is cheap. Here is what you do.

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Living alone is certainly not without its charm – the pleasures of walking around naked, knowing the dishes will never be left undone unless you left them, and belting out an earsplitting off-key rendition of “Our Lips Are Sealed” in the shower at 6:00 AM cannot be denied.  But living alone also means you eat a lot of the same things, over and over and over and over until you want to “accidentally” squirt dish soap all over them and go see if Popeye’s is really as bad as you remember it.  This is particularly true if you, like me, were raised in an Irish (Italian, Jewish, etc.) household and are incapable of cooking by any other quantity than “truckload.”

To avoid the dish soap garnish, you have to get creative with repurposing.  Like sex in a long-term marriage, it’s not that you don’t love the original recipe just the way it is… but if you get the occasional opportunity to pretend it’s something entirely different, you’re a lot less likely to cheat on it with some greasy fried chicken.  Or, uh, something.

Anyway, got a bunch of leftover Sweet Potato Home Fries staring you down from the fridge?  Read on.

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Everyone who has ever been in a deli in a major American city has probably come across a yogurt parfait.  The first time I had one, I was honestly surprised at how delicious it was, and had a sudden pang of fear. The kind of fear that comes with ordering what you thought was an innocent cup of coffee and finding out in it actually has 400 calories and 17 grams of fat, or ordering the Green Salad with Chicken Strips at McDonalds and finding out you might as well have ordered the Quarter Pounder with Cheese. This was too creamy, too sweet and gooey to be good for you. It was dripping with honey and what appeared to be crushed Graham crackers. I had a very uneasy feeling that I may have been eating cheesecake for breakfast. Read the rest of this entry »