Category Archives: breakfast

World’s Greatest French Toast

For years I thought that French Toast was my least favorite breakfast food (sorry Mom). But then my sister invited me over for brunch and made this sensational French Toast, and it changed my opinion completely. I think, like with most simple recipes, the difference comes from really good quality basic ingredients. Collyn brought me home some ridiculous bread from Penn State on one of her work trips, so I used that, and then milk and eggs from Hillside, this really great vanilla, etc. It ends up being sort of a custardy, breakfast-y French Toast/Bread Pudding, which is obviously the best dessert of all time. I would wake up early to make this, and for how much I love sleep, that’s saying a lot. 

WORLD’S GREATEST FRENCH TOAST (makes enough for 4 lucky breakfast guests)
– 1/2 a loaf of really good bread, sliced thick.
– 1 tbsp. vanilla
– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tbsp. ground nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
– Pinch of Kosher salt
– 1 cup milk
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 3 eggs
– Approx. 4 tbsp. butter

1. In a pretty big bowl, beat the eggs. 

2. Add the milk & cream, then the vanilla. Then add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a pinch of salt. 


3. Whisk this mixture well.  Soak the bread slices in this mixture as you melt the butter.


4. In the largest skillet you have, melt the butter over medium low heat.  Here’s the secret – ready?  You have to cook these really, really slowly. The french toast should kind of swim in a little pool of custardy deliciousness, slowly forming a golden crust, over maybe 10-15 minutes in total (flip 2-3 times during this process).


5. When French Toast is ready, keep warm in the oven on low heat while you make the other batch. 

6. Serve with maple syrup and enjoy. Even Brendan couldn’t eat more than 3 pieces, he was so full. Finally that 24 year old metabolism has met its match!!!


Olive Oil-Poached Eggs with Thyme

I kind of couldn’t believe how awesome these turned out. Poaching these eggs in olive oil means an almost-fried egg with that great runny center of a poached egg, which was fantastic. You end up using a bunch of olive oil that you have to throw out afterwards, which is kind of a drawback, but the thyme infuses it with this really light, savory flavor that was perfect. We topped avocado-feta toasts with these and had them with some heart-shaped fruit salad for a full, healthy, protein-filled breakfast.

OLIVE OIL-POACHED EGGS WITH THYME
– Eggs (2 per person)
– EVOO approx. 1.5 cups
– Thyme sprigs
– Kosher salt & pepper

1. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. You’ll know when it’s hot enough because you can dip a wooden spoon into the olive oil and the bubbles will kind of cling to it. Add the thyme bundle to let that flavor start infusing into the olive oil.

2. While EVOO is heating, get the eggs out, but only crack 1 at a time to add to the olive oil.

3. When EVOO is hot enough, add individually cracked eggs, 1 at a time, to the oil. Let it cook for approx 45 seconds on one side, then gently flip over and cook for approx. 1 minute on the other side while floating in the olive oil, or until the white is set.

4. With a slotted spoon, remove poached egg and set aside. When ready to serve, top with kosher salt and pepper.

Avocado Feta Toast

This has the double benefit of being really great for you and also totally delicious. I would eat avocados and feta at just about every meal and on just about everything, so anytime I can combine those two things, plus get a filling breakfast, I’m down.

AVOCADO FETA TOAST
– Good bread (this makes a difference, you want something a little hearty that will stand up against the avocado-feta mix). I used an organic rosemary-olive oil loaf this time.
– Approx. 1/4 avocado per toast slice
– Crumbled Feta, approx 1 tbsp. per toast slice
– Kosher salt

1. Mash the avocados, then add the feta. Blend well and add Kosher salt to taste.


2. Spread on good toasted bread. Top with olive-oil poached eggs for a full heart-healthy fats and protein kind of  breakfast.

Breakfast Bake: Leeks, Smoked Salmon, Cheddar & (a little) Cream Cheese

So…I guess you can make things that are full of eggs, and still have them be kind of healthy?  This recipe uses local/organic eggs (mostly whites), leeks (which are one of my favorite foods), cheddar, smoked salmon for some flavor, cream cheese, dill, etc. It was delicious, looked pretty fancy, and actually kept really well for a couple of days. And, was surprisingly really light – not to mention carb-free – for how much went into it!


BREAKFAST BAKE: LEEKS, SMOKED SALMON, CHEDDAR & (A LITTLE) CREAM CHEESE (serves 4-6)

– 12 eggs – 5 yolks & whites, 7 whites
– 2 bunches of leeks (white parts only), washed and cut into half moons
– 1/2 vidalia onion, cut into half moons
– 1/3 C. smoked salmon (approx. 4 oz), roughly chopped
– 1/4 c. milk
– 1 tbsp dill (or less, if you don’t love dill as much as I do)
– 1 c. grated cheddar
– 1 tbsp butter
– 3 tbsp. cream cheese, cut into little dots
– kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375.


2. Wash the leeks – these are kind of tough to clean, because all the dirt from the ground gets in between the little sections. The easiest way to clean them is to lop off the green parts and the very end of the white parts, cut them in half lengthwise, and submerge them in water for a little bit, kind of flipping through the sections of them as if they were a deck of cards. This will loosen and release any dirt hiding in them.


3. Over medium heat, melt the butter. Chop the onion and the washed leeks, then add to the pan when butter is melted and cook until wilted, approx. 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add eggs, smoked salmon, cheddar, dill, milk, salt & pepper. Mix to combine well.
pre-mixed

5. Lightly grease a larger pie pan or casserole dish (either with butter or cooking spray), then add the leek/onion mixture to form a base for the Breakfast Bake.


6. Add the egg mixture on top of the leeks, and kind of bang around the pan so the mixture gets in between the cracks of the leeks and onions, and combines with everything.

7. Bake for approx. 15 minutes, until it starts to set. Remove from oven and dot with the cream cheese. Put back into the oven and bake for another 30 minutes or so, or until the dish is set and fluffy.


8. Remove from oven and let sit to cool for 15 minutes.  Cut and serve. We had this with a Shaved Asparagus Salad, and it was a perfect little brunch.  Happy 4th of July!









Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon, Creme Fraiche, & Chives

Ah, breakfast for dinner.  This is indulgent enough for suppertime, served with some good sourdough, or a real treat for breakfast.  If you can’t find creme fraiche, just substitute cream cheese, which is also awesome (so awesome, in fact, that I used to eat it by itself as a snack when I was a kid. I know).

SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH SMOKED SALMON, CREME FRAICHE, & CHIVES (serves 2)
– 6 eggs (3 yolks, 6 whites)
– 1/4 C. roughly chopped smoked salmon (approx. 2 oz.)
– 2 tbsp. creme cheese or creme fraiche
– 2 tbsp. half & half or heavy cream
– 1 tbsp. butter
– really good quality sourdough (or whatever kind you’d like)
– chopped chives
– kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper

1. In a smaller saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat.

2. Whisk the eggs lightly together with the half & half (or cream), salt, & pepper.
3. When butter is melted, pour the eggs into the saucepan. The key to cooking them is to use a wooden spoon, and kind of push the uncooked parts around the pan so they can get some heat, not letting the cooked parts stay on the heat too much. Keep a pretty close eye on these until they’re finished (approx. 5-7 minutes). You want them to be soft & creamy, not overdone.

4. When eggs are almost finished, add salmon & stir to heat.

5. Remove eggs from heat, add the cream cheese or creme fraiche in little dollops, and stir to combine all of it.  The heat from the eggs will melt the cream cheese a bit, which is perfect.

6. Top with torn chives. Serve with toasted buttered sourdough.


— My new little indoor herb garden!!!  I love springtime. This has been a really transitional 6 weeks or so, but the gorgeous new apartment and the new experiences – and cooking in the new kitchen! – are all helping, a lot.  It’s a watershed moment in my life, and I’m really looking forward to everything that’s yet to come.



Breakfast Bake: Egg, Baby Kale, & Feta

Baby kale!  Who knew? I was so excited when I saw this in the grocery store.  Kale is great for you, but traditionally it’s really hearty and kind of tough.  Baby kale is so much more delicate, doesn’t require any prep work, and can be used in place of spinach leaves for just about anything, so I started with this. Throw this “breakfast bake” together in 15 minutes, bake it for 30-35, and you have a super filling breakfast that gives you the added benefit of another serving of veggies for the day.  We ate this over the next 2 days, and it was still delicious.

BREAKFAST BAKE: EGG, BABY KALE, & FETA (makes 6 servings)
– 1/2 a container of baby kale (I used Olivia’s Organics, so approx. 6 oz.), or regular-leaf kale, “ribs” removed, and chopped roughly
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– 3 shallots, thinly sliced
– 1/2 – 1/3 C. crumbled feta
– 8 eggs – 4 with yolk, 4 egg whites only
– 1/4 c. milk
– 1 tsp. Herbamare, which is the greatest seasoning ever, or just regular salt & pepper if you can’t find it
– 1/2 tsp. fresh chopped dill (optional)
– Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Rub a little olive oil in an 8 x 8 (or similar) casserole dish.

3. In a large sautee pan, heat the 1 tbsp. EVOO, then add the shallots and cook until they soften, approx. 2 minutes.  Add the baby kale and sautee until wilted, which shouldn’t take longer than a minute.  If you’re using regular kale, it’ll take about 2 minutes until it’s just wilted.  Add the tsp. Herbamare and the dill, and stir to combine everything.


4. Remove from heat and spread the kale/shallot mixture in the casserole dish. Top with the crumbled feta.


5. Lightly beat the eggs and milk.  Add however much salt & pepper you would typically add for scrambled eggs.


6. Pour the egg mixture over the kale/shallots/feta.  Use a fork to gently sort of poke the egg mixture down into the kale & shallots, so that the eggs get evenly distributed.


7.  Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the eggs are set.  Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes.


8. Cut into servings and enjoy, then save your leftovers (if there are any!) for a quick breakfast over the next day or two.

Whole-Grain Sour Cream Pancakes with Caramelized Peaches

I like to say that I’m not much of a “traditional” Valentine’s Day kind of girl. But between the delicious breakfast this morning (the first one I’ve made all year), the beautiful flowers, Veuve Clicquot & a ridiculous bottle of Pinot Noir from B, 2 very sweet cards and a fantastic steak dinner at home planned for tonight, I might have to rethink that.

I got the gorgeous Smitten Kitchen cookbook for Christmas this year, and the recipe for sour cream pancakes with peaches almost leapt off the page and bit me. They seemed so rich but so light, sweet but not overly so, and with the option of making them from scratch instead of a mix, I was able to edit them to incorporate whole-grain flour and make them a little healthier (ha).

By the way, I also like to say I’m not much of a breakfast person.  So after making these for our Valentine’s Day breakfast, I’m rethinking two things about myself today. These were amazing.

WHOLE-GRAIN SOUR CREAM PANCAKES WITH CARAMELIZED PEACHES (makes approx. 7 medium size, but completely filling, pancakes) – recipe taken almost exactly from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 1/2 tsp. baking soda
– 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
– pinch nutmeg
– 1/4 tsp. table salt
– 2 tbsp. sugar (organic, preferably)
– 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1 large egg
– 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
– 2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced 
– Butter

1. Whisk together the sugar, vanilla, egg, & sour cream in a large bowl.  
pre-whisked
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, & salt. 

My Mom got me these awesome “odd-measure” cups for Christmas this year
pre-whisked
3. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just incorporated (don’t over-mix this, or the pancakes will be tough).

4. Melt 1.5 tbsp butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  When sizzling, add batter – enough to fill a large skillet with 4 pancakes with enough room between each.  Top the batter with peach slices.


5. Let pancakes cook until the edges start to brown, then flip the pancake/peach slice like a pro. Let the pancake & peach slices cook & caramelize for approx. 3-4 minutes on the other side.

6. Keep pancakes warm in the oven (low heat – approx. 250) while you make the second batch.  For the second batch, add another pat of butter, the pancake mixture & peach slices, & cook exactly as the first batch.  For the second batch, I also added a couple of slices of peaches to the pan & topped them with a tiny bit of sugar, then flipped them when I flipped the pancakes. The peach slices were so delicious I wish I made even more of them.  Serve with syrup & butter, & wish your tastebuds a happy Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day breakfast table
Lilies, Hydrangea, Orchids, & Twisted Willow…gorgeous flowers from a man who knows me well!
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all.  <3

Breakfast Burritos!

I’ve never been much of a breakfast person. I tend to subscribe to the ´╗┐whole “food doesn’t fit into a specific time slot” theory of eating, which basically means that if I’m craving pancakes, it’s usually for dinner, and whatever leftovers I have from the night before (especially pasta), it’s what’s for breakfast.  That said, I am completely obsessed with breakfast burritos. Not only are the healthy, versatile, and filling, but you can make a whole batch of them and freeze them, then nuke them individually for maybe 2 minutes and your breakfast is ready to go. For those people who love sleep and consequently are pretty hurried in the morning (me), these are a great timesaver, and a much better option than the sodium breakfast sandwiches available at just about any of the places you can stop at on your ride in to work.
HAM, ASPARAGUS, & CHEDDAR BREAKFAST BURRITOS
Ingredients (serving size can be whatever you want it to be – it’s usually 1.5 egg whites per burrito, and other ingredients to your desired filling, so this recipe made 8 burritos):
– Eggs
– Breakfast ham
– Vidalia onion, diced
– Asparagus, chopped
– Grated Cheddar
– Small whole-wheat wraps – don’t use the regular burrito size, because these will be enormous
– Butter, EVOO
– Kosher salt and pepper to taste

 1. Dice up 1 vidalia onion and maybe 1/2 a bunch of asparagus. Asparagus spears will naturally break off at the part of the stem that gets woody if you just bend it until it snaps.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When melted, add the asparagus and the onion, cook until soft. Remove from heat and transfer the asparagus/onion mixture to a plate.
3. Dice some breakfast ham, and add to the pan that the onions and asparagus were in. Cook until browned, then remove from heat and transfer ham to the plate with the asparagus/onion mixture.
´╗┐
4. Using that same pan, melt a small tab of butter and add eggs that have been whisked. I used mainly egg whites, maybe 1-2 egg yolks. Yolks are chock full of cholesterol, sure, but they mainly just gross me out. Scrambled eggs though – yummo! Once these are set, leave them in the pan but turn off the heat.
5. With your little assembly station ready (scrambled eggs, ham/onion/asparagus mixture, cheddar cheese, burritos), place one burrito on a flat surface, then add eggs, asparagus/ham/onions, and cheddar. I am pretty terrible at rolling burritos, so I can’t even tell you if this is where the ingredients are meant to be placed, or how to roll them well. I kind of just winged it, and they turned out fine, which means I’m sure you’ll be all set, too. 

6. Once you’ve rolled your burrito, roll it up in a paper towel (this will help it not get soggy when you microwave it, I find that Viva “choose-a-size” is perfect for smaller burritos), and then wrap that tightly in a piece of aluminum foil. Put the assembled, paper-toweled, foil-wrapped burritos in a freezer ziplock bag. 

When ready for breakfast, remove one of the burritos, remove the foil (as I learned from watching my babysitter when I was 6 microwave a hamburger still in foil, microwave + aluminum foil = bad news bears), and heat for 1 minute on one side, flip to the other side, and microwave for 1 minute more.

These are super tasty, and keep really well too. I thought that 1 burrito might be too little, but it ends up being a perfect breakfast portion for both me and Brad, which says enough!