French Toast

This is quite literally the best French toast I have ever made. It is rich, decadent, custardy, and the only French toast recipe I will ever return to.  There’s nothing quite as sweet as starting a Sunday splitting French toast with your toddler.  Life is good.

Ingredients

  • 10 slices of bread
  • 4 large eggs, whisked vigorously
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 4 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions

  1. Mix together the ingredients.
  2. Let the bread really soak up the wet ingredients.
  3. Cook on griddle for 3+ minutes per side.
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Julia Child’s Scrambled Eggs

I rarely make eggs for breakfast.  I usually opt for hearty grains– steel cut oats  or bulgur,  occasionally sweetened quinoa with nuts and fresh fruit.  If a weekend morning finds me at a brunch table, mimosa and cappuccino on hand, then I might select an egg dish, but all too often those quickly produced eggs are dry and scratchy or just plain bland.  And I do not know the art of the egg.  I know the cook should be patient, the heat low, but still, all too often, my own eggs, scrambled or fried, were unmemorable enough to be forgotten while still on the tongue.  And so, this morning, I turned to Julia Child.

Julia’s simple instructions were perfect and for the first time my scrambled eggs were remarkable enough to merit comment and a promise of repeat performances.  The following is instruction for two servings but can easily be doubled for a larger morning meal.

Julia writes, “[Scrambled eggs] preparation is entirely a matter of stirring the eggs over gentle heat until they slowly thicken as a mass into a custard.”

Ingredients for 2 servings

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp milk
  • salt and pepper
  • (I added) a sprinkling of chopped, fresh parsley and chives
  • a bit of butter for the frying pan

Directions

  1. Beat the eggs with a wire whisk in a bowl with the seasonings and milk for 20 to 30 seconds, just to blend yolks and whites.
  2. Smear the bottom of a small frying pan with butter.  Pour in the eggs and set over moderately low heat.
  3. Stir slowly and continually, reaching all over the bottom of the pan. Nothing will seem to happen for 2 to 3 minutes as the eggs gradually heat.  Suddenly they will begin to thicken into a custard.
  4. Stir, rapidly, moving pan on and off heat, until the eggs have almost thickened to the consistency you wish. Then remove from heat, as they will continue to thicken slightly.
  5. Serve promptly.  Season to taste, if desired, and top with parsley if you have it on hand.

 

adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Sweet Quinoa Breakfast

This sweet coconutty breakfast is a new favorite of mine and good for you, too!

Ingredients for one serving

  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (or regular coconut milk)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of honey (use your judgment, it depends on how sweet you want it)
  • slivered almonds, a healthy palmful, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan, combine the quinoa and coconut milk.  Bring a  boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 12 minutes (closer to fifteen if you double the recipe).  Check occasionally, when nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed, it’s done.
  2. Meanwhile on a small pan toast the almonds, coconut, and sesame seeds over a low heat, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning and to ensure that everything toasts evenly.
  3. Add the honey and cinnamon to the cooked quinoa, mix in the toasted ingredients and enjoy.

 

Why is this healthy?

  • Quinoa is a resistant starch which means it stays with you longer and makes you feel fuller.  Resistant starches are also good for your colon.  Additionally, quinoa is packed with vitamin B, vitamin E, and antioxidants.  It is also gluten-free.
  • Cinnamon, even less then a teaspoon, improves how your body handles sugar by turning on your insulin receptors.
  • Almonds are high in antioxidants, have vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Coconut flakes are a good source of protein, fiber, iron, and zinc.

 

Green Juice

I’ve been juicing for a few months now.  My favorite juices are vibrant green, sweetened with an apple or pear, full of spinach and kale, a pop of ginger, and a spritz of lemon.  I have them for breakfast or take them in a mason jar to work and sip between tasks.  They are super healthy, give me energy, and generally make me feel good about what I’m pouring into my body.

Recipes for juicing, I quickly discovered, are just general sketches of what can be thrown together.  When I first started juicing, I wanted specifics, but now I scour the farmer’s market and then my home fridge for ingredients.  On a weekend morning (or an ambitious weekday), this is my juice of choice.  Because of the number of ingredients, all of which need to be washed and prepped, it takes longer to make then a simple kale-cucumber-apple type juice, but the extra effort is worth it.

Ingredients

  • 1 Bosc pear
  • 1 apple (or half an apple if you don’t want the juice to be quite so sweet / full of sugar)
  • Several leaves of kale (3? Up to you)
  • A healthy handful of spinach
  • 3 stalks celery (leaves on)
  • A cucumber (or just half, again, up to you)
  • A plentiful palmful of parsley
  • A nub of ginger (cut off peel)
  • A lemon (peeled)

Throw everything into your juicer.  Serve with a few ice cubes.

A note about the greens: I usually run the spinach and kale through the juicer first, empty the fiber-catch basket back into the juicer, and run the pulp through a second time before adding everything else.

Snow Day Eggs Florentine

Every time I make Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine, I swear I will never make them again.  The level of intricacy and length of time are commitments that I like to avoid before breakfast.  And yet… here I am posting about Eggs Florentine.  This morning I woke up to a snow day (cue New York and general panic, also cue teacher delight) and decided that I would try this process once more.  I’m a morning eater and a slow cook, also, apparently a glutton for punishment.  The final product was quite good and maybe, just maybe, I’ll make these again (but grains are delicious and so easy in the AM, if only I wasn’t terrified by the hollandaise sauce found at so many brunch locals).

This recipe is from Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  I’m providing it more or less as printed, although in future I would reduce the amount of butter in the hollandaise (or perhaps serve without the sauce altogether– less time and a healthier breakfast).

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lb spinach, stems removed, cut into ribbons
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • nutmeg, just a pinch
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 8 eggs

Ingredients for the Hollandaise Sauce

  • 10 Tbsp butter (consider reducing significantly)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (reduce if you’re not crazy about citrus– I really like it)
  • Salt to taste

You will also need

  • Ramekins for the individual servings (so much better than poaching eggs and layering, but, if you don’t own ramekins, you can poach away)
  • Blender

Directions

  1. I like to prep ahead (maybe this is why I’m such a slow cook), but before I really started I did the following:
    • De-stemmed, cut, and rinsed the spinach
    • Chopped the garlic and onion
    • Separated the yolks for the sauce
    • Squeezed the lemon juice
  2. Preheat over to 375ºF.
  3. Heat a large saute pan or pot over high heat and cook the spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes (the wet leaves from washing is all the liquid you need).
  4. Squeeze the excess liquid out of the spinach (I used a cheese cloth) and set aside.
  5. Wipe dry your skillet and melt 2 Tbsp of butter in it over medium heat.
  6. Cook the shallots and garlic for about 6 minutes.
  7. Add spinach, S&P, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  8. Raise the heat and add the heavy cream.  Cook for about 2 -3 more minutes.
  9. Butter the ramekins and distribute the spinach mixture into each.  Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet.
  10. Break an egg (or two) into each ramekin and place in oven for 10 – 15 minutes (one egg per ramekin) or 15 – 18 (too egg dishes).
  11. While the ramekins are in the oven, break out the blender to make the Hollaindaise sauce.
  12. Melt the butter.
  13. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt to the blender.  Blend for about 30 seconds.
  14. Add the butter slowly through the pour spout (while blender in running).
  15. If the sauce becomes too thick, add water or more lemon juice.
  16. Top ramekins with hollandaise.  Serve with English muffins.  Pretend that the spinach cancels out the butter and eggs.

A make ahead suggestion: You could make the spinach and divide into the ramekins a day in advance, then add the eggs and whip up the hollaindaise quickly.  This tactic might inspire me to try this again.  Otherwise, too much work for my morning meal.  Although, it does look quite fancy served in the individual ramekins.

 

Bulgur Wheat Breakfast

I enjoy a hearty, healthy breakfast.  Often I opt for steel cut oats with sliced apples and walnuts and many mornings I juice (green, vibrant, full of kale and spinach), but today, a lazy Saturday just after Christmas, I wanted something different.  Voila, Super Natural Every Day cookbook and a totally unique, tasty breakfast experience.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk (I used the low fat kind, but either is fine)
  • approximately 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of bulgur wheat (you can also substitute quinoa for bulgur wheat, but add a bit of cooking time)
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted (vary depending on taste)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds

Directions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk and water to a simmer.
  2. Add the  bulgur and a pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes (time will vary depending on the type of bulgur wheat you have on hand– add more liquid if needed, add more time if needed– it can take up to 2o minutes).
  4. Meanwhile toast the almonds and sesame seeds.  Zest the lemon.
  5. Stir honey into bulgur, add almonds and sesame seeds, and enjoy.

Serves 2