Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ category

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.

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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.

Scones1

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.

Streusel:

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
butter
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.

Eggs in toast

July 17, 2013

I expect there’s a traditional name for this dish, but for lack of anything better I call it eggs in toast. It’s a tasty, hearty breakfast. I like to serve these with tomato slices on the side. All you need is

Slices of good bread
1 egg per slice of bread
butter

Use a biscuit cutter or tumbler to make a hole in each slice. Save the cutouts for fancy tea sandwiches or breadcrumbs.

egg-1

Lightly butter one side of the bread and place butter-down in a frypan over medium heat. Cook until the bottom is toasted to your liking. Flip and, if you think it’s needed, add another half-teaspoon or so of butter to each hole. Break an egg into each hole and lightly salt.

egg-2

Let the eggs partially set, then you have 2 choices. For the prettiest presentation, cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the whites are set and the yolk is still runny (a glass lid helps here). For a less pretty but just as tasty result, flip the slices and cook briefly.

After

Smoked salmon, caramelized onion, and potato torte

May 14, 2013

A lovely dish for a fancy breakfast or lunch. I like to serve it with tomato slices and toasted bagels with cream cheese.

1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
large pinch each salt and sugar
1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into thin half-rings (about 2c)
2 TB butter or olive oil, divided
1/2c diced smoked salmon
6 large eggs
2 TB milk or cream

In a non-stick skillet, cook the onions, salt, and sugar in 1 TB of the butter or oil over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until nicely caramelized. This will take 30-40 minutes, they will reduce in volume by more than half and turn a lovely nut brown. You can do this ahead, even a day ahead. If you have done ahead and refrigerated them, bring to room temperature before proceeding.

In a 10 inch non-stick skillet, cook the potatoes slowly in the remaining 1 TB butter or oil, turning and shaking the pan now and then, until cooked completely through and slightly browned (use a thin-bladed knife to test them). Sprinkle a little salt over, then stir in the onions and salmon and distribute the solids evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Beat the eggs with milk or cream and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the potato mixture and cook over medium-low heat until the eggs are mostly set – they will still be running in the center. Now you have 2 choices. One is to tip the pan so the uncooked eggs run out to the edges, then cover for a few minutes until they are set. The other is to run briefly under a preheated broiler.

You can serve right from the pan or invert onto a plate for a nice presentation – the bottom (now the top) should have attained a lovely brown shade.

Buckwheat-blueberry pancakes

April 30, 2011

This is my wife’s recipe – they are truly excellent! This serves 4 and can be cut in half for 2.

3/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 c buckwheat flour
2 TB sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 c buttermilk
2 TB vegetable oil
2 large eggs, separated
about 1-1/2 c fresh blueberries

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, then stir in buttermilk, oil, and egg yolks until blended.  Beat the egg whites until they form peaks, then fold into the batter. For each pancake, drop 1/4 to 1/3c of batter onto a heated, greased skillet and spread to a 4-5 inch circle. Sprinkle 2 TB blueberries on each pancake. Turn when the top is covered with small bubbles and the bottom is browned, then cook another minute or so until the second side is browned.


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