Category Archives: Breakfast

Brinner!

062113180927

Brinner!  Otherwise known as “breakfast for dinner” – perfect for a quick, tasty meal after work.  Now, I may have cheated just a bit (I prefer to call it “creative license”).  Yes, technically this is eggs and toast.  But the toast is made with garlic scape butter, seared on both sides in a cast iron skillet (yum!!) and the eggs are sitting on sautéed garlic scapes and Swiss chard.

I think it’s time for me to admit something:

Until this year, I had never fried an egg.  Please don’t judge me!  I truly had no idea what I was missing.  I was convinced that I hated the squishy egg yolk and only liked eggs scrambled, so that’s all I ever made.  I wasted years of glorious yolk-dipping!  Years, people!  (The garlic scape toast was fantastic dipped in the egg yolks, by the way.)  The yolks on these got a little overcooked, but I’m getting better.  Part of my egg yolk conversion may be that I’m getting fresh eggs now, and the difference in taste is unbelievable.

Whatever the reason, I am now a sunny-side up fan!  That’s right, Mom.

The Swiss chard and garlic scapes are from my first CSA box from Basket of Life, picked up just hours ago.  Because I have no patience, I brought it home and immediately started cooking.  In my defense, I was hungry and the chard looked really good!

Swiss chard, Bibb Lettuce, kohlrabi, spring onions and garlic scapes.

Swiss chard, Bib Lettuce, kohlrabi, spring onions and garlic scapes.

Box #1 for 2013:  A great start to the CSA season.  I already can’t wait for next week!

Are you a fan of brinner?  What’s your favorite way to cook an egg?  And how do I know when a fried egg is done?  Help! 

Advertisements

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Quiche

033013120024

A couple of weeks ago, I made Meghan’s Broccoli Cheddar Quiche for a Sunday brunch.  It was amazing!!

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche with strawberries, bacon and mixed greens.  I love brunch!

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche with strawberries, bacon and mixed greens. I love brunch!

When I woke up this Saturday, I thought about this amazing quiche and looked over my fridge inventory.  (Alright, alright…make that when I got out of bed this Saturday,  I woke up around 8 – late for me! – because the cats wanted breakfast, but after they got fed I spent a good two hours in bed watching Food Network.  Don’t judge me.)

So, back to the fridge!  Eggs fresh from Brunty Farms?  Check.  Milk?  Yep.  No broccoli, but spinach from the farmer’s market?  Check.  Onions?  Always.  Cheese?  Ooo…Asiago!  Nice.

Nothin' beats a farm fresh egg.

Nothin’ beats a farm fresh egg.

Caramelized onions, spinach, cheese and eggs.  How can that be bad?  Answer:  It can’t.  It was awesome.

By the time it was done, I was too hungry to make the plate pretty.  I'm lucky I remembered to take the picture!

By the time it was done, I was too hungry to make the plate pretty. I’m lucky I remembered to take the picture!

Spinach and Caramelized Onion Quiche

  • 1 Quiche crust (Meghan from Clean Eats, Fast Feets recommended this recipe – it’s fantastic and so easy!)
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced thin
  • A big handful (probably about 2 cups) baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 t fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t ground mustard
  • 1/2 t garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the quiche crust (or use premade).  I made the quiche crust linked above, but I did prebake it for about 5 minutes before filling the crust.  (Thanks for the tip, Meghan!)  Put the crust aside while you work on the filling.

In a medium sauté pan over low heat, add the butter and sliced onion.  I added a pinch of salt and let the onions cook over low/medium low heat for about 30 minutes until they were nicely caramelized.

Onions pre-caramelization.

Onions pre-caramelization.

Caramelized onions - yum!

Caramelized onions – yum!

While the onions were cooking, I used a fork to whisk together the milk, eggs and spices (pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper, nutmeg, cayenne, ground mustard, garlic powder).

I mixed the milk and eggs together in the measuring cup - anything I can do to dirty less dishes is a win.

I mixed the milk and eggs together in the measuring cup – anything I can do to dirty less dishes is a win.

Once the onions were nicely caramelized, I added the spinach to the pan with the onions and covered it for about a minute – just long enough to wilt the spinach.  The spinach leaves were small and tender, so I didn’t even bother chopping them up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Once the spinach was wilted but still bright green, I mixed the spinach and onions together and transferred them into the quiche crust.  I topped that with the asiago cheese and poured in the egg mixture.

I baked the quiche for about 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven, until the top was a beautiful golden brown and the eggs were cooked all through.

When it was done, it took all my willpower to let it cool – I was hungry and it smelled really good!  As soon as possible, I cut a big piece and dug in.  So yummy!  The crust was perfect, the onions were soft and sweet, the asiago cheese gave it just a little bite, and the eggs held everything together.

I can still call it breakfast if I ate it at noon, right?

This post is linked to What’s in the Box?  at InHerChucks.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

032213165446

There’s chocolate in them thar muffins!  Specifically, a dollop of dark chocolate almond spread that is super tasty.

032013161243

Thanks to Kirsten at Farm Fresh Feasts and Meghan at Clean Eats, Fast Feets, I have been craving muffins like nobody’s business.  So I started poking around the pantry and looking at some of Kirsten’s muffin recipes to see what I could make.

I started with the bananas, since they were almost to the end of their useful lifespan.  I buy bananas every now and then because I think I want them.  What I really want is one of them.  Sadly for the other bananas, that means they languish in the bowl on top of the dishwasher until I feel bad that they’re being ignored.  Usually I make banana bread, because – to be honest – when they’re that far gone, I don’t really know what else to do with them!

This time, I wanted to turn them into yummy muffins.  I found this oatmeal muffin recipe from Farm Fresh Feasts and since I had almost all the ingredients on hand, I went for it!  (I did have to stop at the store for some buttermilk.)

I’ve made muffins with oatmeal before, but I’ve never soaked the oats first.  It totally makes a difference!  And I only soaked them for about 2 hours.

032013161417

Anyway, here’s what I ended up doing (Note:  I doubled Kirsten’s original recipe because I wanted to freeze some of them):

Banana Oatmeal Muffins with Dark Chocolate  (made 24 muffins)

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 ripe (or overripe) bananas, squished into a puree

Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl on the counter.  Stir well.  Cover.  Leave on the counter at least an hour or up to 10 hours (overnight).

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dark chocolate almond spread (Nutella would certainly work as well, or the Jif version.  But I’m not a huge hazelnut fan, so I was happy to find this alternative.)

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray, or use paper or foil liners.  Add the egg, brown sugar, and vegetable oil to the bowl.  Stir well.  Add in the rest of the ingredients dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined.

032013182042

I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup to fill the muffin pan.  Then I added a dollop of the chocolate almond spread to each muffin.  (It occurred to me later that I should have filled each muffin up halfway, dolloped in the chocolate spread, then covered it with more muffin mix. Oh well – next time!)

Bake 18 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes in pan, then flip onto a cooling rack to finish.

032013190454

My original goal may have been to freeze them, but that’s not what happened.  These muffins were so tasty that I ended up giving them to just about everyone I came into contact with over the past two days:  my parents, my sister, my co-workers, my boss…everybody loved them!

I guess that just means I’ll have to make some more!

Saturday Brunch

022313142000

Yesterday morning I went to the winter farmer’s market at Old Trail School.  Let me tell you, it was hopping!  I got there  just as it opened at 9am and it was already packed.

I’ve been so impressed with the quality and selection at this market all through the winter, and this was no exception.  Everything looked so good!

022313100111

I picked up some mixed salad greens, baby swiss chard, onions, garlic, a butternut squash, some pappardelle from Ohio City Pasta, swiss cheese, a jar of Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam (more on that in a moment), and…

022313100222

a big ol’ bag of beets!  I had to restrain myself – there were apples that looked fantastic, local honey, and fresh eggs from Brunty Farms… I could just go on and on.

Anyway, all the good stuff at the farmer’s market made me hungry, and to paraphrase my best friend Kara, “I was craving a Blue Door croissant like it was my job!”  So I stopped by the Blue Door Cafe on my way home for a couple big fluffy croissants and whatever else looked good, which turned of course was everything.  It was a tough decision, but I settled on some mixed berry Danish.

022313100716

There were originally two Danishes (is that the right plural?), but I ate one before it made it into the picture.  If you haven’t been to the Blue Door, and you’re anywhere near the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio area, you should go.  The place is amazing.  Awesome baked goods, beautiful local and organic foods…I can’t say enough good things about it.  I would go every day if I could!

Alright, so back to brunch!  I wanted eggs and bacon to go with the croissant, but the mixed greens are Brian’s favorite, so that’s where breakfast became brunch.  I really wanted to use the Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam (seriously, how good does that sound?) but I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  As I was eating the Danish, I had an inspiration:  make a vinaigrette for the salad!

022313100158

I got this from the same folks at the farmer’s market where I got the Tuscan Glaze, so I had every confidence it would be good.  I chopped up a garlic clove very finely, added a big spoonful of this strawberry goodness, and whisked it with olive oil until it looked like a vinaigrette.  I tasted it and it was super yummy.  I tossed some of the mixed greens with the dressing and put them in the fridge to stay cold.

From there, it was simple – scrambled eggs, some amazing thick cut bacon (after having thick cut bacon, I will never buy another kind), and a couple kinds of jam for the croissants.  I went with blueberry preserves (my new favorite, I think) and strawberry/blackberry jam, mainly because I had both in the fridge.

The green salad with the strawberry vinaigrette was perfect to offset the breakfasty foods (considering we ate this around 1 o’clock in the afternoon) and the croissants were heavenly.

All in all, it was a great way to start a Saturday! (Saturday night I made a weird but excellent pizza – look for that to come soon!)

What’s you favorite meal to start your weekend? 

 

Banana Granola

Breakfast this morning - vanilla Greek yogurt, banana granola and a spoonful of blueberry preserves.  Yum!

Breakfast this morning – vanilla Greek yogurt, banana granola and a spoonful of blueberry preserves. Yum!

Anytime I start to think about eating healthier breakfasts, I think of granola.  I love the idea of granola – crunchy, earthy and wholesome.  Granola makes me think of nature, of weekends backpacking in the woods, of trees and blue skies…

021213210041

The finished product.

But do not trust granola, my friends – granola can be deceptive.  Most granola, especially store-bought, is loaded with fat and calories.  So a few months ago, I went on a search for a healthy, tasty homemade granola that I could eat without guilt.

I finally found a recipe that sounded good – no oil, no dried fruits or raisins (I am NOT a fan of raisins).  The oats and nuts are held together by a banana mixture that you whir up in a blender.  No muss, no fuss.  I made it a few times, changing it a bit each time,  until I got it just the way I wanted.

My sister perfers a crunchier granola, so she likes it broken into smaller peices and cooked until it’s all a dark brown.  I like my granola to be a little softer with a chewy center, so I leave it in bigger chunks.  Hey, to each their own, right?

Banana Granola

(Original recipe found here.)

If you consider it 6 servings (3/4 cup each), it’s about 200 calories per serving.  If you’re just using it as a topping on yogurt, you’ll probably get more servings (and consequently, less calories per serving.  Woo hoo!).

  • 2 heaping cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1  1/2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • a large pinch of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the oats, sunflower seeds and walnuts in a medium size bowl.  Set aside for now.

021213195701

In a blender, combine the bananas, water, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt.  Blend until smooth.  It does turn a funny brown color – don’t worry.

021213200406

Mix the banana mixture into the oat mixture.  Let sit for about 10 minutes – this gives the oats a chance to soak up some of that banana goodness.

Dump the granola onto a cookie sheet and spread it out to make a single layer.  Don’t worry that it looks sort of wet – as it cooks, it will crisp up.

021213201550

Bake the granola for about 40 minutes.  Every 10 minutes or so, break up the granola with a spatula and toss it around.  Make the granola chunks as large or as small as you wish.  When it’s all brown and crispy, it’s done!

Now I can enjoy healthy granola with a light heart and happy tummy.  What a great way to start the day!

Flavor Sensation

We managed to snag some jam from Kim. (I have this secret little fantasy that if anyone complains about not getting jam, Kim will turn into the Jam Nazi and refuse to part with any. “No jam for you! One year!”)

Forgive me, I digress.

Anyway, I snagged some glorious jam yesterday and cracked it open this morning. I had no crackers, but who needs crackers when you can smear Kim’s mixed berry jam on a slice of good Havarti cheese? Glorious, indeed!

Why are you still reading this?!?! Go put some of Kim’s jam on a slice of Havarti. You will thank me.

What’s that you say? No jam? That’s very sad. I would have taken a picture for you, but it is all gone…

Drinking in Scotland

Scotland’s national drink is Whisky. There is no “e” in scotch whisky. Whisky can be had as a single malt, meaning it comes from only one distillery; or as a blend, which consists of many single malts and grain whiskys to create a signature flavor.

There are only 3 ingredients in whisky: Water, barley, and yeast. Yet each single malt tastes SO different. There are many factors which include the water source, the barley and how it is dried, the shape of the still, etc. etc. etc. Elyse and I just had fun trying as many as we could!

We did manage to go on a distillery tour while on the Isle of Skye. The smell of a distillery is like nothing else I have ever experienced. It’s a combination of bread factory (the fermenting mash) and ethanol. They really need to bottle this smell.

We also visited a whisky shop while in Edinburgh. The Cadenhead whisky shop was unique in that they will bottle whisky for you straight from the cask! No extra coloring or filtering. Needless to say we got a bottle and sampled a few casks to make sure it was the right one (and got buzzed in the process).

The bounty from the trip:

Scotland’s other national drink is a soda called Irn Bru. It outsells Coke! It’s very orange in color but doesn’t taste orangey. It’s vaguely fruity with a little vanilla and gum inserted. It also has a bit of quinine.

And a few more favorites: