I usually make omelets for breakfast on Sunday mornings. I have found it is a great way to use up the left over vegetables. This time I had some potatoes that I did not want to waste.
8 slices bacon or ham, cooked and chopped
2 cup Frozen hash brown potatoes
1 1/2 cups Shredded old cheddar Colby blend
6 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Thinly sliced green onions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook bacon in large frying pan until crisp. Drain, reserving 3
tablespoons of drippings. Saute potatoes in drippings until browned,
about 10 minutes.
Divide potatoes among 4 individual greased 1 cup
shallow baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese, then bacon. Beat eggs, milk and onions; pour into dishes. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until set. Serve with salsa.
Make your own hashbrowns by shredding 2-3 russet potatoes.
When I lived in West Palm Beach Florida, a friend of mine and I would roller blade from her apartment five miles to the New York Bagel shop, devour an everything bagel toasted with light cream cheese and a hot chocolate. On the way back we would stop by the pool to swim laps. By the time we made it back to her apartment we passed out on the couches from pure exhaustion.
Now that I am not coasting the 10 miles to burn off a bagel I placed them on my unfortunate catastrophes list. Never to enjoy again. The grocery store carries mini bagels that are the perfect size for little kids and adults alike. At 70 calories for the whole bagel I can enjoy a simple pleasure once again.
Whole wheat mini bagel, toasted or untoasted
Cook eggs according to preference. Slather cream cheese on a half of a bagel. Top with a portion of cooked egg and a dollop of salsa.
Today I decided to pay tribute to my favorite Great Aunt. I was simmering a pot of polenta when my mouth started watering for my Aunt Ruth’s cheesy grits. To me polenta is just a fancy Italian term for grits (Don’t tell tall and handsome. He thinks polenta is fab but can’t stand the other.) which is a good thing since living in California I have only been able to find quick grits, nasty stuff.
My Aunt Ruth’s traditional breakfast fare included fried eggs, bacon, biscuits and cheesy grits. Talk about southern hospitality my friend. She really does have an enormous heart. She is fun and witty. Caring and supportive. Even though she never had children of her own she played the doting mother to several children myself and distant cousins included. It makes me sad to think my children will not get to really know her as we live on opposites sides of the US.
1 cup polenta
4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Bring salt and water to a boil. Add polenta, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add butter and cheese. Make adjustments to taste.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a breakfast fanatic. I could eat breakfast foods for every meal if I let myself. The idea for pecan sour cream buttermilk pancakes came from a book I was reading about a woman who loves to cook, a hitman for the US government, her best friend’s conniving vicious mother and the Italian Mob. Every morning Agnes gets out of bed and makes breakfast for her friends and family who have gathered around her place in anticipation of her God daughter’s wedding. Her specialty is sour cream and buttermilk pancakes studded with pecans. I have been thinking about those pancakes ever since. Cook’s Illustrated was the closest match combining melted butter, sour cream, buttermilk and two eggs.
These pancakes are amazing. The sour cream gives the flavor a boost that other buttermilk pancake recipes lack. They are tender and thick but not mushy. Agnes served hers with a fried ham steak.
Grazie Agnes il mio amico. Buon appetito
Source: Cook’s Illustrated
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, room tempertature
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
1-2 tsp vegetable oil
Pecans, broken or whole
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, sour cream and melted butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Gently stir until just combined; it will be lumpy and thick. Let sit for 10 minutes
Using 1/4-cup measurement pour batter on the medium heat hot griddle. Dot with pecans. Cook until bubbles form on top, about 1-2 minutes then flip. Continue to cook about 1 minute longer or until bottoms are golden brown.
Makes 16 four-inch pancakes
-For this recipe use Gold Medal or Pillsbury. If using a higher protein flour such as King Arthur, use an extra two Tbsp of buttermilk.
Tips: Do not over mix the batter. It will become too runny. It is still edible but for fluffier pancakes gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry just until combined.
There are so many recipes for banana bread and zucchini bread it is enough to make the head spin trying to decided which one is going to turn out right. So I have a couple of recipes for you to try. One is a traditional zucchini bread with a hint of cinnamon. The other combines sweet potatoes with an assortment of spices.
Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread
Source: Bon Appetit Magazine, November 1992
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup grated zucchini
1 1/2 cup peeled and grated sweet potato
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and set aside.
Sift the first 7 ingredients into a medium sized bowl. In a separate, large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in the zucchini and sweet potato. Add the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Fold in the nuts and cranberries and stir well.
Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool bread in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the edges of the bread with a butter knife and turn out on a rack to cool completely. Can be prepared 1 day in advance. Wrap in foil and keep at room temperature.
Variations: By Joy the Baker
-The nutmeg and the cloves are optional.
-For less fat use 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 cup apple sauce in place of the 3/4 cup oil.
-Use 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar.
-Replace the 2 cups flour with 1 cup all-purpose and 1 cup whole wheat flour.
This is a nice version of zucchini bread with less sugar and half the oil.
Classic Zucchini Bread
Source: Coconut Lime
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 and 1/2 medium sized)
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Beat eggs separately and add sugar until fluffy. Fold egg mixture into dry ingredients. Add oil, shredded zucchini and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
Divide batter into two greased loaf pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack, then remove from pan and continue cooling on rack.
For muffins, bake for about 15-20 minutes.
-Add 4 tsp cinnamon for a spicier flavor.
-Add 1 cup chopped walnuts for crunch.
-Half the oil and replace the 1/4 cup with applesauce.
Years ago while I lived in South Florida I was unofficially adopted by my two most favorite people in the world Ty and Sheri Houck. Mind you I was 20 years old at the time when Ty referred to me as his orphan. I did not mind because I loved them dearly. The extended family that consisted of Ty’s mom, dad, sister and her husband were just as delightful. I looked forward to their visits. One morning Ty’s brother-n-law surprised us with his specialty,bagels with cream cheese topped with sliced green olives. That with a glass of oj by the pool over-looking the ocean was perfection.
I happened to have a bag of mini whole wheat bagels, whipped cream cheese and a jar of jalapenos. The only thing missing was my beloved family of friends.
“Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go.” Although to my Grandmother Jepson’s house we had to go a round a lake and pass farm lands of south central Florida. On the way home from our Sunday trips we would stop off at a Dairy Queen that marked the halfway point from Grandmother’s house and ours. We stretched our legs while snacking on blizzards and dipped ice cream cones.
Casa De Fruta has become our halfway from the coast of California. I think we look forward to the fresh strawberries and cherries more than anything else. It is a nice little tradition to carry over from childhood. I made sure to buy an extra flat of strawberries to make strawberry jam with. This recipe uses tart sweet apples and lemon juice in the place of pectin.
Source: Ball, Complete Book of Home Preserving (c. 2006)
5 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, stem and blossom ends removed, cores intact, chopped coarsely
1 lemon or lime, unpeeled, finely chopped
8 cups halved hulled strawberries
5 1/2 cups granulated sugar
In a large deep sauce pan, combine apples, lemon and enough water to prevent sticking. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, partially cover and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until mixture is very soft.
Working in batches, transfer mixture to a fine sieve. With the back of a spoon, press the mixture through the sieve to yield 2 cups applesauce. Discard skins and cores.
Prepare canner jars and lids by cleaning jars, rings and lids in hot soapy water. Line a large pot with a rack to ensure the jars do not touch the bottom of the pot. Simmer the jars and lids (it is necessary to heat the rings) until ready to use. Do not boil.
In a clean large sauce pan, combine applesauce, strawberries and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Boil stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and mounds on a spoon, about 20 minutes. (Test the jam by pressing the back of a spoon into the mixture. Cool slightly. When you pull a finger through the jam the area should remain clear.) Remove from heat and skim off foam.
Remove jars and lids from the water bath. Place on a clean towel. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace by adding more jam. Wipe rims clean. Center lid on jars. Screw on lids.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Cover. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool. Make sure the lids are sealed by pressing in the center. If they click they are not sealed. Press the lid down and wait another 10 minutes. If a lid does not seal store in the refrigerator to use right away.
-This type of jam is meant to be soft and loose.
-Stephen does not like whole clumps of strawberries in his jam so I mashed them a little while cooking to make them a bit smaller.
A couple of weeks ago we took the kids to an annual blueberry festival at a local farm. The kids enjoyed plucking ripe blueberries and cherries, munching a few along the way. The highlight of my day was Mason’s dirt streaked face. Evidence he had the time of his life crawling through tunnels made of bales of hay.
Once home I reserved enough cherries to freeze for this cherry cake. It is easier to remove the pits from thawed cherries. Just squeeze and they pop right out.
Source: Rachael Ray
4-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
Two 10-ounce bags frozen cherries, thawed and drained
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
In a medium bowl, using your fingers, combine 3 cups flour, the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix in all but 2 tablespoons butter until large crumbs form; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the egg and the buttermilk.
In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the egg mixture and stir to form a thick, smooth batter. Fold about a third of the reserved crumb mixture into the batter; spread evenly into the prepared baking dish.
Scatter the cherries over the batter; sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top. Bake the cake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
Replace cherries with favorite fruit.
When I was a kid I used to go to a daycare in the afternoon until mom got home from work. We went swimming at one of the owners pool, took trips to the movie theater and the park. Linda was one of my favorite teachers there. Her daughter and I quickly became friends. She and her daughter lived near the Piggly Wiggly a few blocks away from my house. Whenever I was in the vicinity I would stop off for a visit. Linda made a great peanut butter and honey sandwich. The bread was whole wheat dotted with wheat berries and always tender. To this day I am a sucker for a great PB&J.
The first night I spent the night at Linda’s house the next morning we made french toast. It was the first time I had ever made french toast. We carefully cracked the eggs, whipped in a little cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and within minutes were digging into syrup covered bliss.
Years later when I was in college it was a nice surprise to see Linda again as the owner of one of my friend’s apartment complex. My friend Stan was heading off to the military. He, I and a couple other friends got together to make breakfast the day of his departure. Of course I volunteered to make the french toast and as luck would have it I overcooked them resulting in tough and dry sheets of cardboard. Not the type of impression I was going for.
There are so many ways to make french toast out there. Including bread specifically designed for making french toast. This is the classic no fuss version. The general rule is 1 tablespoon milk and 2 slices of bread per egg.
1/4 cup Milk
6 Bread slices
1 tsp Vanilla (optional)
Dash Nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
Heat a large skillet on medium heat.
Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl until frothy and well blended. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, whisking until combined.
Submerge a slice of bread in the egg mixture for a few seconds. Transfer to heated skillet. Cook until light golden brown on each side. Top with butter, syrup, powdered sugar, yogurt, nuts or fruit.
-Try Portuguese sweet bread. The bread is tender so quickly dip the bread rather than submerge.
-Stuffed toast is another fun way to serve French toast. Lather on some cream cheese and preserves or compost in between two slices of bread. Put the slices together then dip in the egg mixture.
I adapted this recipe after my friend Marilyn’s skillet potatoes. She slices the potatoes and adds them to a cast iron skillet with oil, salt and pepper. Covers the pan and simmers, tossing occasionally until tender. I use her method when cooking diced potatoes for breakfast; adding chopped onions and garlic. Tonight, I wanted something garlicky. I had some left over bacon that would pair nicely with a garlic butter sauce.
5 potatoes, sliced thick
2-3 slices bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried dill weed
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
Cook the bacon in a skillet. Remove the bacon and add the garlic and potatoes. Cover and cook until tender. Add pepper, dill, garlic powder, butter and bacon.
Sometimes I add 1/2 -1 cup water or broth and simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are done.