Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ category

Home fries

March 9, 2022

Ahh, what’s better that great home fried potatoes? To me, the term means diced potatoes that are pan fried, perhaps with seasonings. They are not hash browns, which are pan-fried grated potatoes (they can be great, but are not the same). They are not French fries, which are deep fried. You can eat home fries with eggs for breakfast, with a burger for lunch, or with roast chicken for dinner. The flavoring possibilities are almost endless.

Home fries

The basics are as follows. Take the desired amount of boiling potatoes (Yukon gold, red skin, etc.) and peel as you see fit. They can be totally peeled, partially peeled, or not peeled at all–your preference. Baking potatoes will work, but are not as good in my opinion. Cut into 1/2 inch dice (don’t be fussy), put in a saucepan, cover with heavily salted water, and bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes until partially cooked. Drain well and set aside. This can be done the day before.

Over medium heat, heat a non-stick skillet that is large enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer. Add the fat of your choice–bacon fat (best!), vegetable oil, clarified butter (ghee), lard–but butter or margarine are not advised. You do not need a lot, perhaps just 1/16 inch at most on the bottom of the pan. When the fat reaches temperature, add the potatoes and toss or stir to coat. They should sizzle gently. Continue cooking, tossing every few minutes, until the potatoes are lightly browned and cooked thru–5 or 10 minutes. Give a final toss with some salt and serve.

Flavoring ideas:

  • Chili powder
  • Chipotle salt
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic salt
  • Cumin

Lemon-ricotta pancakes

February 5, 2022

Luxurious and a nice change from your standard buttermilk pancakes. Serve with butter and maple syrup, fruit compote, etc.

  • 1/2 c + 2 TB AP flour
  • 2 TB table sugar
  • 1/2 TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 TB vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c ricotta
  • 1/3 c buttermilk
  • 2 TB butter, melted and cooled a bit

Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients then whisk into the dry until well blended. Add a bit more flour or buttermilk if needed to get the right consistency. Cook in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2-3 min or until bubble rise to the surface. Flip and cook for another minute or 2 until the bottom is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Eggs Mexican style

June 8, 2021

While scrounging thru the fridge one morning I came up with this. It has become a regular around here as it’s easy, adaptable, and filling.

For each diner:

  • 2-6 inch corn tortillas
  • 1 handful grated cheese such a cheddar or Colby-jack
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • Optional extras (see below)

The extras can be almost anything you like–shredded chicken, chopped onion, pickled jalapeños, chopped olives, etc. But this is fine without extras.

Sprinkle the cheese over one tortilla. Add extras, if using, and put the 2nd tortilla on top, pressing down firmly. Heat about 1 TB of vegetable oil or lard in a frypan and cook until slightly browned and a bit crispy–maybe 1 min. Flip and do the other side. Sprinkle with a little salt if desired and remove to a plate. Cook the egg(s) in the same pan and place on top. Serve with salsa and hot sauce.

Hash browns at home

October 8, 2019

A lot of folks, myself included, would think of these as a treat to have when eating breakfast at a diner. But they are so easy to make at home, so why wait? They are a simpler version of the classic Latkes and are a favorite accompaniment to breakfast.


2 c finely chopped potatoes*
2 TB minced onion (optional)
2 TB bacon fat or vegetable oil (not butter)
3 TB heavy cream (optional)

If using onions, mix with the potatoes. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet, medium heat. When a speck of potato starts to sizzle, add the potatoes. Use a spatula to shape and press them into a pancake no more than 1/2 inch thick. Let cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is nicely browned, 5-10 minutes. Flip over (easier if you cut the pancake in half first). If using cream, dribble over the potatoes. Continue cooking until the 2nd side is browned. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

* about the size of a raw navy bean, or a bit smaller

Best scones

August 12, 2017

I got this recipe from my DIL who learned it while taking the pastry chef course at the French Culinary Institute. Currants are traditional but you can use pretty much any dried fruit, chopped if necessary. Note that the recipe uses weights, not volumes – important for this kind of baking. Makes 12-15 scones.


325 grams (11.5 oz) all-purpose flour
20 g (2/3 oz) baking powder
45 g (1.5 oz) table sugar
Pinch salt
100 g (3.5 oz) dried currants
110 g (4 oz or 1 stick) unsalted butter
2 eggs
Heavy cream, about 2/3 cup

Oven at 350 degrees f.

If the currants are really dry and hard, plump in warm water for 5-10 minutes then drain well before weighing.

Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and keep chilled.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir in the currants.

Cut in the butter until the butter bits are about the size of a dried lentil. Do not overwork or the scones will be tough.

Put one egg and the yolk from the 2nd egg in a measuring cup (discard the white from the 2nd egg). Add cream to come up to 200 ml (6.75 fluid ounces). Beat lightly together and add to the dry mixture. Mix together (fingers are great for this) until the dough comes together. It will be on the dry side and a bit shaggy. At this point you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a while, up to overnight. Or, simply continue.

Roll or pat out to about 3/4 inch thickness. Do not overwork! Cut into the desired shapes and transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush the tops with cream and bake for 12-15 min. There should be some browning around the edges and only the slightest hint of browning, if any, on the top. Serve warm, if possible. Can be frozen.


Simple yet delicious sour cream coffee cake

April 15, 2017

This is basic, traditional coffee cake at its best. Nothing fancy, just the basics well-executed. The key to a great coffee cake is (duh) the cake, and this gives you just the moist, tender, and light – yet flavorful – cake you want. The specific instructions and measurements are important – don’t try throwing it all together at once.


1/2c pecans
1/2c white sugar
1/4c brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

The Cake:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1c granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1c sour cream (NOT low fat, please!)
2c cake flour (see note below)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350

Put the pecans in a small dry skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking, until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool, chop, and mix with the other streusel ingredients. Set aside.

Using a separate scoop, overfill a 1 c dry measure cup with flour and level the top with the back of a knife. Put in sifter. Repeat for second cup of flour. Add baking powder and salt and sift into a bowl.

Put butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until well-creamed, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well.

Mix the sour cream and baking powder and let it foam for a few minutes.

With the mixer on low, add 1/3 the flour mixture to the butter/eggs, then 1/2 the sour cream, then 1/3 the flour, etc. Mix for 10 sec or so between additions to incorporate each addition. Add the vanilla.

Grease a Bundt pan. Spread not-quite-half the batter in an even layer, then sprinkle on 1/2 the streusel. Spread remaining batter over the streusel, making a nice even layer while doing your best not to disturb the streusel. Finish off with the remaining streusel.

Bake for about 40 minutes until a wood skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes then invert onto a plate to finish cooling.

Flour note: Cake flour has lower gluten than all-purpose or bread flour. It is not good for raising bread well, but the lower gluten results in a more tender crumb – just what we want here. You can buy specially packaged cake flour, at a premium, but I find that a “soft” (low gluten) all-purpose flour, such as White Lily, works just as well.

Chili-cheese-egg toast

April 11, 2017

This makes a great breakfast or lunch or even a light dinner. A few slices of ripe tomato on the side wouldn’t be amiss.

2 relatively thick slices good quality white bread
1/2c green chili salsa
1/2c grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 TB minced onion, preferably red onion
2 eggs
Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Put the salsa in a small strainer and press out the liquid with the back of a spoon. Mix salsa with the cheese and onion and set aside.

Toast the bread fairly dark and spread both sides with butter. Smear one side with some mustard. Spread the salsa mixture evenly on the mustard sides. Broil until the topping is melted and maybe bubbling a bit.

While you are broiling, pan fry the eggs in a little butter until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny. Top each toast with an egg, season to taste, and there it is!

Tortilla eggs

October 24, 2016

Simple and tasty. Can be a nice lunch dish as well. Serves 4.

Four 6-inch corn tortillas
4 eggs
6 oz thinly sliced melting cheese, such as mozzarella or Gruyere
Sriracha sauce or salsa

Put a little oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add the tortillas. After half a minute flip over and sprinkle with salt. Break an egg on each tortilla, keeping the yolk intact, add a dusting of salt and pepper, and spread the cheese on top. Cover and cook gently until the egg white is set but the yolk is still runny. Serve with hot sauce of choice.

Avocado and egg on toast

October 21, 2014

My new favorite breakfast! Also makes a great lunch or light dinner. Provides a generous meal for 2 or a lighter meal for 4.

1 ripe Haas avocado
4 slices whole grain bread
4 large eggs
1/2 c shaved Parmesan cheese
2 TB chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon, etc.)

Poach the eggs to your liking (a runny yolk is a big part of this dish’s appeal). While they are cooking, toast the bread and spread 1/4 of the avocado on each slice. Sprinkle with S&P to taste, top each slice with an egg, followed by a little more S&P, the cheese, and finally the herbs. Serve immediately.

Indian style scrambled eggs

May 16, 2014

These can be spicy or not as you prefer, but with their rich flavors they are a delight at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Serves 2-3.

6 eggs, preferably fresh farmers market eggs
1 TB heavy cream (or use half and half or milk, but won’t be as good)
1/2 c diced onion
1/2 c diced green pepper (see note)
1/2 c diced tomato with juice
1 TB butter
1 tsp curry powder, sweet or hot

Note: You can use regular green bell pepper, but the dish is more interesting if you use all or part cubanelle, wax, or something similar. If you like spicy, include some jalapeño or serrano.

Beat the eggs in a bowl with the cream and a pinch of salt, set aside. In a nonstick skillet, sauté the onion and pepper in the butter until just starting to brown. Stir in the curry powder and stir for a moment, then add the tomato and juice, a pinch of salt, and a grinding of black pepper and cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated. Heat should be medium low at this point. Stir in the eggs and scramble to the desired degree of doneness. Serve immediately.

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