Saturday, August 11, 2012

Breakfast: Part 1

The most important meal of the day!

 



I love breakfast. It is without a doubt my favorite meal. It was the first meal I learned how to cook anything for and I am kind of known for my over medium eggs. Though eggs are my specialty, I don't think there is a single breakfast food I don't like. I even like every breakfast situation, on the go, a family gathering, buffets, and don't even get me started on breakfast for dinner (LOVE IT)!

Yogurt with Frozen Fruit and Granola


I like to buy plain Greek yogurt in one of the bigger tubs and add in my own flavor combinations. My favorite is strawberry, blueberry, honey. I find it is best to use frozen berries and let them thaw overnight in a covered bowl of yogurt. That way the juices seep into the yogurt, but the fruit isn't just mush on the bottom. Then in the morning I add a generous dollop of buckwheat honey, which has this amazingly rich flavor, and sprinkle on some oats and honey granola. YUM! I like to pair this with a whole wheat English Muffin, lightly buttered and call it my quick healthy breakfast.

Breakfast Breads

 


Any kind of bread is good for breakfast. I even eat garlic bread sometimes with steak and eggs. This is the bread my grandmother makes when I visit. It is divine!

Cinnamon Bread

 

Ingredients
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP cinnamon
2 tsp dried orange peel

Directions
  1. Grease and flour a 9 X 5 X 3 (large loaf) pan.
  2. Mix batter and pour half in pan.
  3. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle 3/4 on the batter in the pan.
  4. Pour on the rest of the batter and marbalize slightly.
  5. Sprinkle remaining topping on top.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cool for ten minutes before removing from pan.

Biscuits and sausage gravy

 

 

Shannon and I occasionally like to overindulge with this unhealthy treat. I had never really gotten into it before since I seem to lack the ability to bake any sort of bread. Luckily, Shannon is rather skilled in that area, making biscuits and gravy a frequent request when he cooks breakfast.

Biscuit Recipe
Makes 10-12 biscuits

Ingredients:
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sugar (can add more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter, cold (8 tablespoons)
3/4 cup of buttermilk, cream or half-and-half

Directions:
   1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
   2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
   3. Cut the stick of butter into pieces, and work into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender    until it resembles pea-sized crumbs.
   4. Add the liquid, mixing until a bit loose and sticky.
   5. Pour dough out on a floured surface, and knead for a minute. Dough should be smooth and no longer wet. You can sprinkle more flour on the surface if you find it’s sticking.
   6. Take dough into a ball, and hit it with a rolling pin, turning it and folding it in half every few whacks. Do this for a couple of minutes.
   7. Roll out dough until it’s 1/4 of an inch thick, and then fold it in half.
   8. Using a round cutter (can use a glass or a cup if don’t have a biscuit cutter) cut out your biscuits from folded dough.
   9. Place on a greased baking sheet close together (so they rise up not out), and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Tip: If you don’t want to roll and cut them out, after kneading and beating the dough you can drop the dough onto the baking sheet with a spoon. They’re not as symmetrical (dropped biscuits are also known as cat head biscuits) but they’re no less delicious in your favorite sausage gravy!

 

Bagels

 

Ingredients
Makes 1 dozen
 
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon salt 
1 tablespoon white sugar

Directions
  1. In large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour and yeast. Mix water, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt together, and add to the dry ingredients. Beat with a mixer for half a minute at a low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl clean. Beat at a higher speed for 3 minutes. Then, by hand, mix in enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough.
  2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). Cover, let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Cut into 12 portions, shape into smooth balls. Poke a hole in the center with your finger, and gently enlarge the hole while working the bagel into a uniform shape. Cover, let rise 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, start a gallon of water boiling. Put 1 tablespoon of sugar in it, mix it around a bit. Reduce to simmering.
  5. When the bagels are ready, put 4 or 5 bagels into the water, and cook 7 minutes, turning once. Drain them. Place on a greased baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, eat hot or cold.
  6. Broiling option: For a glossier surface, place raised bagels on an ungreased baking sheet prior to boiling them. Broil them five inches from heat for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes on each side. Then put them into the hot water to be boiled as above. Note: do not bake broiled bagels as long as non-broiled ones, 25 minutes should be long enough.

Blueberry Angel Waffles

 


This last one I came up with by accident the other day. The diner I work at makes great Belgian waffles and I had recently bought some cinnamon ice cream. I knew the two must meet. I didn't want to put the ice cream on top of the waffles because it would melt too quickly and then I would be left with soggy waffles (and I can't cut through two waffle quarters at once with a fork). Instead of dirtying both a plate and a bowl, I decided to trap my ice cream between two waffle quarters so it wouldn't slide off my plate and then realized immediately that it looked like an angel. I happened to have some blueberries in the fridge so I filled in the "skirt", topped with butter and syrup and proceeded to enjoy immensely.

Eggs


As I mentioned before, eggs are my specialty. I cook them every way and any way except sunny side up. I don't feel comfortable with them unless I flip them.

Hard Boiled - Place eggs in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover them with cold water. Make sure the tops of the eggs are covered by at least an inch of water. How much water will depend on the size of the pot, but in general, a bigger pot is better. Crowding the eggs risks cracking them. Bring the water to a full boil, uncovered, then remove the pot from the heat and cover it. Let the pot stand untouched for 17 minutes. Remove the boiled eggs from the water and transfer them to a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. Then either peel and serve or refrigerate.

Soft Boiled- Once the water is boiling, place refrigerated large eggs into the boiling water, cover, and remove the pot from the heat. Allow the eggs to steep in the nearly boiling water for seven minutes. As soon as seven minutes are up, remove the eggs and place into an ice water bath. This will chill the exterior of the egg serving two purposes. When rapidly cooked, eggs, like most dense foods, do not heat evenly. The outside portions of the egg (the egg whites) are much hotter than the interior (the egg yolk). By shocking the shell with ice water, we lower the temperature of the egg whites to a temperature below that of the egg yolk and this causes the egg yolk to stop cooking. Otherwise, the yolk would continue to draw heat from the whites and raise its temperature while the egg white temperature lowered resulting in overcooked egg yolks.Let rest for one minute before you peel.

Over Easy - Heat a small non-stick skillet over low heat and add butter. As soon as the butter stops foaming, crack the eggs into the pan. Lift the handle about an inch so that the eggs pool in the far corner of the pan. Hold for 30 seconds or until the whites start to set, then lower the handle and give the pan a jiggle just to make sure there's no sticking. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and continue to cook over low heat until the whites become opaque. Tilt the pan again and slide your spatula carefully under the egg. If it sticks it is not ready to flip, if it goes under with minimal jiggling you are good to go. Keep the pan angled when you flip them so that the exposed yolks experience the softest landing possible.

Over Medium-

 

Over Hard- Heat a pan over low to medium and coat the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Crack an egg gently into pan. Cook for about 6 minutes, flipping the egg over halfway through cooking. Eggs cooked over well are done when the yolk is fully cooked.


Poached- Always use fresh eggs. If you can't see the difference between the "thick" white and the "thin" white, the yolks will probably break in the pan. Always deliver the eggs to the pan with a custard cup or large spoon. Avoid cracking directly into the pan. When using a non-stick skillet cook in no more than an inch of water. If you don't have a non-stick pan, poach in a deep saucepan containing at least 3 inches of water. Always acidulate the poaching liquid with either vinegar or lemon juice (1 tsp per each cup of water). Bring liquid to a boil, add eggs, then remove from heat and cover. How long you ask? It depends on how many eggs. I like my yolks barely runny so I'll cook 4 eggs for 7 to 8 minutes depending on there size. Since more eggs will absorb more heat from the water, they will take longer to cook, so for large batches always include an extra "test" egg. Always remove eggs with a slotted spoon or other straining utensil. Poached eggs can be refrigerated in ice water for up to 8 hours, then reheated in hot water. Do not re-boil.

Scrambled- I find the trick to creamy scrambled eggs is a good amount of butter, NO milk or cream and most importantly, a constant movement of the eggs in the saute pan without allowing any of it to stay on the bottom. Takes a little longer but the taste is well worth the effort.

Omelet-



Egg Sandwich- I started making this sandwich in high school and my family still has them almost every Sunday after church.


You start with two slices of toast, one buttered one lightly covered with mayo. The buttered toast goes on bottom. On the buttered toast you layer an egg (cooked however you like) with some shredded cheese melted on top. Then you give it two pieces of bacon and some fresh baby spinach, freshly sliced tomatoes,  and top with the mayo covered toast.


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