Archive | Breakfast RSS feed for this section

Weekend baking…

5 Apr

After working all week, I can’t think of anything more relaxing (and fun!) than spending the weekend in the kitchen, mixing up something delicious.  Unfortunately, though, sometimes life interferes.   Like, say, life in the form of throwing a final four watching party, volunteering at your CSA’s farm stand at the year’s first farm market, running innumerable errands, and weeding and composting the whole garden.  Which means that your relaxing cooking time, while never given up entirely, is squeezed into a smaller window.

Lemon-Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

Lemon-Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

Say, early Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Before the rest of the craziness descends.  But it can still yield deliciousness.  Especially when you’ve just received your latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated.  And even more so when said issue includes recipes for what it terms the *best* Blueberry Muffins and the *perfect* Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter

Yum.

Advertisements

Frittuffins

22 Mar

Yes, “frittuffins.” So much more fun to say than frittata muffins, don’t you think?! And these delightfully fun to pronounce little morsels have become my go-to breakfast. But why, you ask? Well, I (unfortunately!) have to be at work at 7:30 on Monday-Thursday. And, as I am not such a morning person, I desperately detest awakening at such an ungodly hour. Detest! So much so, that no matter what I do, I cannot seem to wake up in enough time to make breakfast. So, I resign myself to eating breakfast at work. Which, really, isn’t so bad, when you realize my office has refrigerators, toaster ovens, and microwaves. But, the thing is… I find myself growing sick of microwaved oatmeal type things. And since I am a lactard (lactose intolerant), have been since I was able to eat solid food, I have never really gotten in the habit of eating milk and cereal for breakfast (yes, I know, there are now such things as lactose milk and pills, but still). Plus, I find I need some sort of protein in the AM to get me going! So, hence, therefore, and so on, Frittuffins! If I can’t wake up in enough time to make eggs to order for breakfast, I’ll just have these little eggs-to-go…

Frittuffins in the pan...

So, lately, every Sunday, I’ve been whipping up a different batch of frittuffins to take to work for breakfast for the week. Just as for regular frittatas, I’ll throw in whatever I have in the refrigerator. Last week it was portobello mushrooms, spinach, bacon, and cheddar cheese. This week, though, I added celeriac, red onion, a garlic green or two, and some leftover grilled queso fresco. After adding in some delightful farm-fresh eggs, the frittuffins were set to go! Of course, like soufflés, while they rose beautifully in the oven, they collapsed as soon as they were out…

The final frittufin

But, they were still delicious! Even if they were slightly hilarious looking…

Celeriac, Onion, and Queso Fresco Frittuffins

  • small celeriac, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 garlic green, chopped
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, grilled and diced
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • olive oil

To begin, preheat the oven to 350°. Next, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the pan and oil are hot, sauté the red onions and celeriac until cooked through and slightly crispy. Add in the garlic greens for a minute to quickly combine, and then remove from the heat. While that is cooling, mix the eggs with a bit of salt, pepper and paprika (just enough to season the eggs). Then, add the diced cheese and the celeriac and onion mixture to the eggs and pour into the individual muffin cups.* Place the muffin tin in the oven, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until frittuffins are cooked through; they’ll be very puffy and will have risen just like a soufflé. Take them out to cool and, once cooled, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and place them in a Ziploc. To reheat them each day, just place them in the toaster oven for about 5-10 minutes at 300°, and they turn out perfectly!

*The first time I tried this, I failed to use muffin cups… and, well, let’s just say they stuck horribly and the muffin tin hasn’t been the same since. I found some reusable silicon muffin cups that work amazingly well, but, if you don’t have those, I think the metallic muffin cups would be best.

Banana Bread

20 Mar

I have a confession.  I don’t actually like bananas on their own.  It’s a texture issue really… But I never actually admit this to anyone.  So when I buy bananas, I let them sit on my counter.  For a long time.  When people come over, they’ll say things like, “Oh, that’s awful!  Your bananas went bad!”  Or, “Ugh, can you believe how quickly fruit spoils these days?!”  And, I’ll commiserate.  But, really, inside?  I am dancing with glee!  And singing to myself, “Banana bread!  Banana Bread!  It’s Banana bread time!”  Because, yes, that’s right.  The *only* reason that I buy bananas is to make banana bread.

Banana Bread

But another funny confession about me and banana bread?  I never make the same recipe twice.  I’m compulsive.  Even if I’ve loved it, I keep searching for that one *perfect* loaf.  This one, though, fits many of my criteria: it’s moist, very strongly banana-ish, and has none of those pesky, distracting nuts.

Banana Bread*

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 5 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/8 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Before making the dough, you’ll need to first preheat the oven to 350° and butter and flour a normal sized loaf pan.  Then, pull out two bowls.  In the first bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour through salt), and set aside.  In the second bowl, combine the sugar and eggs, and, using an electric mixer, beat the egg/sugar mixture on high for about 10 minutes, or until thick, pale, and the mixture fails off the beaters in ribbons.  Then, on low, beat in the remaining ingredients until well-combined.  Lastly, fold in the dry ingredients.  Pour the batter into your loaf pan, and place in oven.  The bread should be done after 1-1 1/4 hours, when a toothpick (or, if you’re fancy, and have an actual cake-tester) inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Cool the bread in the loaf pan for two minutes, and then carefully remove, and let cool on a cooling rack for about 1 hour.   Then, enjoy!!!

*Adapted from this Epicurious recipe.  I added more bananas, used whole wheat flour, cut out a little sugar (my bananas were very sweet), substituted sour cream for crème fraîche, increased the cinnamon and vanilla, took out the walnuts, and cut the recipe in half.

Potato Latkes

14 Mar

I made these Latkes for the first time a few weeks ago, and I’ve been craving them ever since.  Creamy, crispy, salty, savory, starchy, sweet – they fulfill so many cravings.   Especially when combined with homemade applesauce.  If you haven’t given them a try before, you really should!  While they might take some time, you can also make a large batch all at once, and freeze the remainder for brunch(es) some other day!  

 

Potato Latke Mix

Potato Latke Mix

 

From my CSA with Star Hollow Farm, I had a 2 lb. bag of mixed potatoes, as well as onions and fresh free-range eggs (and the apples for the applesauce!), so I was able to make the Latkes almost completely with local ingredients; something I have really been trying to do more of lately.  Even better, the mixed bag of potatoes yielded multi-colored and beautiful latkes, something that definitely wouldn’t have happened if I had just been buying a giant bag of potatoes from the store!  As I found, you can definitely use any potatoes at hand. 

 

The Final Product

The Final Product

 

As you can see from the recipe below, they are really quite simple.  Of course, if you had a food-processor, and not just a box grater, it *might* be a little easier.  These latkes are inspired by Sassy Radish’s post on Latkes (itself inspired from Martha Stewart) that was featured on Bon Appetit’s Blog Envy back in December.   And, if you haven’t checked out her site, which I found from that post, I highly recommend it!

Potato Latkes

  • 2 lbs. of mixed potatoes, peeled
  • 2 onions, small to medium, skin removed, but left whole
  • 4 T of white whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 T of kosher salt
  • canola oil, for frying
  • applesauce, optional topping*
  • sour cream, optional topping

First, fill a large bowl with icy water.  Next, grate all the potatoes into this bowl, using the coarsest grade on your grater.  Personally, I found it went fairly quickly to have one person peeling the potatoes, while another person grated them.  The time it took to peel one potato was almost identical to the time it took to grate it.  Well, if you’re slow like me and my oh so handy helper boyfriend.  

Once all the potatoes are grated, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and place them in another bowl lined with a thin kitchen towel.  Using the cloth, squeeze the remaining liquid out of the potatoes, and add it to the liquid that you just took the potatoes out of.  I used a tea cloth, which worked splendidly.  You’ll want to reserve the liquid from the potatoes, and let it sit until the sediment, aka potato starch, separates out. The starch helps to bind the potatoes and onions all together during frying.  

While this is separating, grate the onions, also coarsely, and add them to the grated potatoes you’ve removed from the towel and placed in that second bowl.  Oh, and make sure to grate the onions from the root end towards the far end.  Otherwise, as you go through, the onion would start to fall apart as you cut through each layer.  The onions will be almost liquid from the grating, which is how you want them.  This way, they’ll cook fully while you’re frying the latkes, and they more fully infuse the potatoes with onion flavor.  If they were in larger pieces, you’d probably end up with uncooked onion bits amidst delicious creamy/crunchy potato goodness.  

At this point, the potato starch should be separated, and you can just drain the liquid off the top.  The potato starch will just stay on the bottom of the bowl, and you can add that to the potato and onion mixture.  After that, add in the salt, flour, and eggs, mixing well to combine.  

Now, pre-heat your skillet, and once heated, add the oil.  I only used enough to fully coat the bottom of the skillet.  As always, make sure it’s fully heated (to the point where you can’t hold your hand an inch over the skillet for more than two seconds) before adding in the latke mixture.  Depending on the size of latke that you prefer, add anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the mix to the skillet for each latke.  Personally, I found that I prefer my latkes to be thinner and crunchier, so I added less mix for each, and made sure to spread it out thinly.  If you like yours thicker (and creamier in the center at the end), add closer to 1/2 cup, and don’t flatten it out as much.  For thinner, crisper latkes, you’ll need to fry it about 3-4 minutes per side, and I found it to be closer to 5-6 minutes per side for the thicker latkes.  

Once done, place the latkes on a paper-towel lined baking sheet or on a wire drying rack over a baking sheet, in order to drain off any excess oil.  If you’re feeding a crowd and will need to keep the latkes warm for serving, heat the oven to 300 degrees, placing the latkes on a baking sheet in your pre-heated oven to keep warm after they’ve drained.  Or if, like me, you’re really making a whole batch in order to have some for leftovers, you can keep them out on the paper-toweled baking rack and let them cool off.  I wait until I’m on my last few batches to start eating, as that way I can enjoy them without having to jump up every few seconds.  

To serve, latkes can be garnished with either sour cream or applesauce.  Or both!  They are also delicious plain, of course.  

If any are leftover, let them cool and then wrap them individually in plastic wrap.  Place the individually wrapped latkes in a Ziploc, and place them in the freezer.  To re-heat, just pre-heat the oven to 35o degrees, and place the still frozen latkes on a baking sheet and bake them for about 10 minutes.  If you want them even crispier than that should render them, just fry them as before at this point!

*For the homemade applesauce, I just peeled and diced 4 apples (1 gala, 1 macintosh, 2 honey crisps), and then simmered them on low with about 1-2 cups of water and a tablespoon of sugar until softened and combined.