Tag Archives | Breakfast

New Year, New Breakfast with OXO

My father is a master breakfast maker. When he was very young, he did some time as short-order cook at IHOP and learned things like the difference between basted eggs and those cooked over easy. He became comfortable with poached eggs (and passed his worry-free poaching skills along to me). And he became a master pancake maker (evidence here).

Having spend a lifetime training at his elbow, I value breakfast time and take at least a few moments each day to make myself a morning meal (often, I post pictures of such creations to Instagram!).

Recently, my breakfast game got a serious upgrade thanks the to folks at OXO. They sent their Microwave Bacon Crisper, a snazzy Microwave Omelet Maker, an Adjustable Temperature Kettle, and a Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank. I’ve been making easy omelets, boiling water in no time, and making perfect cups of coffee.

The kettle was the biggest upgrade to my morning routine that they sent. It’s not my first variable temperature kettle, but it’s the most intuitive and easy to use that I’ve had. It’s also incredibly speedy. I feel like I switch it on, turn my back for a moment, and just a minute later, it’s ready. I also didn’t realize how much I’d enjoy having a glass kettle. I so enjoy watching the swirl of bubbles as the water reaches a boil.

I really love the omelet maker for its ease and speed. Grease the silicone pan (I use a dab of butter that I scoot around with my fingers), lay out your omelet ingredients, add the egg and microwave for a few minutes (timing depends on the amount of egg in the pan and the age/power of your microwave). Tuck a piece of cheese inside, fold over, and wait a few seconds. Done.

I’m also in love with the pour over coffee maker. I’m the only coffee drinker in my household, so I’ve always used a pour over system of some kind. But as an impatient person, I would just dump the water in and then end up drinking a mediocre cup. This brewer slows me down, removes the guess work, and prevents lousy coffee.

Finally, the bacon crisper. I must confess, this is the only piece of gear that didn’t rock my world. I’d never cooked bacon in the microwave before and the finished results left something to be desired. I can see using this tool to quickly crisp some bacon for a sandwich, but if it’s playing a starring role in the meal, I feel like the stovetop would serve better.

If you’re curious about the products I’ve mentioned,  Microwave Bacon Crisper, Microwave Omelet Maker, Adjustable Temperature Kettle, and Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank, head over to the OXO site to check them out!

Disclosure: OXO sent me the products you see pictured here for review and photography purposes. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions are entirely my own. 

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Preserves in Action: Old Fashioned Oatmeal with Applesauce

finished oatmeal with applesauce (146)

Last week, just before I hopped a plane for Portland, I made applesauce. I had gone apple picking with a friend over the weekend and needed to do something with all the apples that I couldn’t jam into the crisper.

I quartered and cored enough apples to entirely fill my 9 quart Dutch oven, added a splash of water to prevent them from sticking and cooked over low heat for an hour or so, until the chunks of fruit lost their shape and slid away from their skins. I ran the cooked apples through a food mill fitted with the coarsest screen to remove the peels and spiked the finished sauce with cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg.

That batch made enough to fill a canner load of seven pint jars, plus a little bit more. Once the jars were on the counter cooling (they spent 20 minutes in the boiling water bath and did siphon more than a little – it happens to the best of us) I was able go on my trip, unencumbered by thoughts of wilting fruit.

oatmeal with applesauce

I got back late Wednesday night to an apartment that my husband thoughtfully and vigorously cleaned. You see, before I had left, I had woken up one morning, feeling mad at him. Once I cleared the cobwebs, I realized the anger was the result of a dream, in which he had trashed our home and I had to come home to a mess. I shared the dream with him when the feelings of it were still fresh and I think it made an impression.

Thursday morning, more than a little jet lagged, I stumbled to the kitchen to find coffee and breakfast. There was fresh milk, old fashioned oats in the jar on the counter and the rest of the applesauce that hadn’t fit into the canner load I’d done the week previous.

In my smallest saucepan, I combined half a cup of oats with one cup of cold water and a pinch of salt. Covered and set to low, I let the oats slowly warm. This makes them wonderfully creamy (if you start with hot water and cook the oats too quickly, they never break down nicely). After six or seven minutes at the barest simmer, I raised the heat and brought the oats to a bubble. Once they were nearly done, I stirred in a splash of milk and half a cup of the applesauce.

Adding applesauce to oatmeal does two things really well. It contributes flavor (in this case mild sweetness and a hint of cinnamon) and it bulks them up without making them an overly indulgent meal. I often do the same thing with fruit butters, though since they can be more intensely flavored, I reduce the volume to a third of a cup or so.

I topped my bowl with toasted almonds for protein and some dried blueberries for more sweetness. I predict many more morning bowls of applesauce oatmeal in my future this fall.

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Breakfast Baked Eggs in Half Pint Jars

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Two or three times a year, Scott and I come to the slow realization that our eating habits need a bit of a reset. I’m sure many of you know how this is. You go from making oatmeal for breakfast each morning to picking up a bagel and cream cheese around the corner from work. The meals that include heaping portions of green vegetables become fewer. And ice cream goes from a once-in-a-while treat to a grocery list staple.

custard cups

One of the best ways I’ve found for me to restore some reason to my eating habits is to spend a week or two actively increasing my greens and proteins and avoiding sweets, treats and anything made with flour. For those of you who like to put labels on such things, I guess you could call it a modified low carb diet.

cups/jars with sauteed vegetables

As we all know, eating better takes a little bit of planning, particularly when you’ve fallen into a habit of the morning bagel from the neighborhood deli. For me to get out of that rut, I have to make something tasty that I can easily take to work with me and will keep me satiated for a few hours. And that is where these cute little egg cups come in.

unbaked egg cups

I’ve been making these in various forms for years now (as this two year old Slashfood post attests). I used to make them in a six-cup muffin tin, but recent realized that I should apply the bake-in-jars trend to this savory breakfast item. It means I don’t have to transfer them to another container after baking and instead can just screw on a lid once they’ve cooled down. And you all know I how much I love to eat my breakfast from a jar.

baked egg cups

Unfortunately, several of my wide mouth half pint jars were recently pressed into canning duty, so I didn’t have quite enough to go around and had to employ some vintage Fire King custard cups to serve as well (I have an embarrassing number of these as I can’t resist them when I find them for $.25 at thrift stores). Still, you get the idea.

A word to the wise here. If you decide to follow my example and bake eggs in jars or glass, please make sure to give your vessels a good greasing. I was in a hurry when I made these (it was past 11 pm on a Sunday night) and took the cheater’s way in the form of the Trader Joe’s version of Pam. However, when I have a bit more time to play with, I grease the cups with butter.

And a final note. The recipe below calls for onion and asparagus. That’s because that what’s in season right now. During the summer, I use spinach or shredded zucchini. Kale or chard is good. I’ve even used leftover brussels sprouts in these. It’s all good and it all works. Use your imagination and pick out a couple of vegetables that taste good to you.

On reheating: When it comes time to eat these, I do one of two things. I either pop them into the microwave for a minute or I eat them after they’ve sat at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, until they’ve lost their refrigerator chill. You can reheat them right in the jars. If you want to reheat them in the oven or toaster oven, I’d recommend starting them in a cold oven so as not to shock the glass.

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Lemon Curd and Yogurt

lime curd on plain yogurt

This isn’t a recipe post. Nor does it contain a giveaway. It is simply an gentle nudge in the direction of something delicious.

In pursuit of cookbook greatness, I made a lot of curds last week. Lemon curd. Lime curd. Vanilla orange curd. And all of this week, I’ve been eating the run-off from those projects stirred into plain yogurt (greek yogurt. Homemade yogurt. Trader Joe’s creamy European-style yogurt. We go through a lot of yogurt).

Sometimes topped with granola. Sometimes plain. Always delicious.

empty lime curd jar

I exhort you. While citrus is still in season, do yourself a favor and make up a batch of curd. Meyer lemons are wonderful, though limes add a more tropical feel. If you want to feel like you’re eating pie for breakfast, search out some tiny key limes.

This recipe is nice, though I’ve heard that the bits of zest are a textural challenge for some folks. If you want a perfectly smooth curd, rub the zest into the sugar before cooking, that way it imparts all its flavor but doesn’t end up in the final product.

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Dark Days: Breakfast

dark days breakfast

Typically, Sunday nights are my fall-back position for these Dark Days meals. Waiting until then means that I have Saturday to hit the Rittenhouse Square farmers’ market and the Fairfood Farmstand and restock my week-ravaged pantry as well as most of the day to cook (if I decide to do something time-intensive).

However, I knew heading into this weekend that I wouldn’t be around on Sunday night to cook dinner (I’ll be in New York, having dinner with these two lovely ladies instead). And having sprinted through the week cooking several dinners that all included some local ingredients but weren’t all local, that left Saturday morning.

So I did what I’ve seen a lot of lately (at least on the Dark Days circuit). I made a local breakfast. And lo, it was good. I peeled and cubed some elderly potatoes (Winter Harvest) and tossed them with bacon grease (Meadow Run Farms), salt and pepper in a cast iron skillet. While they roasted, I gently scrambled six eggs (Winter Harvest) and made toast (baked with my own two hands, from a combination of local and non-local flours).

Scott immediately squirted ketchup on his eggs (Heinz Organic, which is at least headquartered, if not made, in the state) and I ate my toast with a few dabs of plum jam I made last summer (six months in the jar, it tastes so bright and summery). Then we went off to do a cooking demo at Foster’s Homewares, well-fed.

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