breakfast


So I go on vacation for two weeks and carefully mete out prewritten posts so that my devoted blog fans will not have to suffer in my absence. Then I come back and promptly neglect to post for almost as many days as I was away. Sorry about that.

I was here.

I hope these eggs—poached in a spicy tomato sauce—will make up for my absence. I made them the morning I got back, and they went a long way to helping me making me feel better about the sad fact of no longer being on vacation. They are just superb eggs. On mornings where I don’t need to console myself but am instead merely delighted that it’s the weekend, I’m sure I’ll like them even more.

Vacation consolation.

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A while back, I had a fabulous breakfast with kitchenplay at the Green Eggs Cafe in Philadelphia. I was hesitant—I don’t generally enjoy oatmeal or other gloopy breakfasts—but on her recommendation, I tried the quinoa porridge. And then I was hooked. It tasted creamy and fresh and interesting, not at all the bland bowl of wholesome I was expecting.

After months of daydreaming about quinoa porridge, I decided it was finally time to see what I could do about it at home. I made a big batch on Sunday night and looked forward to Monday morning’s breakfast. But on Monday, even after stirring in some blueberries and adding a fair amount of salt, the result was disappointingly meh. I was ready to call off the whole experiment and go back to eating eggs.

But on Tuesday, I remembered that I’d had the presence of mind at the Saturday farmer’s market to buy some  strawberries and mascarpone cheese. I stirred in a spoonful of cheese and chopped up some strawberries, and there it was—a delightful bowl of breakfast quinoa. This was the creamy, intriguing  dish I remembered, with the sweetness of the strawberries the perfect foil to the cinnamon and cardamom in the quinoa.

Mmmm, glop.

Someday soon I’ll have to go back to Green Eggs to see if my version really can compete with theirs. But for now, I’m perfectly happy to keep eating a bowl of this every morning.

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There’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to write about for a week or so now, a recipe that has completely revolutionized my mornings. For the first time in eons, I eat breakfast—two of these little beauties—and then am not hungry again until noon. I am astonished by the effect this simple recipe is having on my life.

Breakfast beauties.

But I’ve been struggling with what to call these. You see, the source for this recipe calls them “egg muffins,” and I had many reasons to quibble with that name. For one, I’ve already written about “egg muffins,” and it meant something completely different—eggs on an English muffin. Also, arguably a “muffin” means a baked good eaten in the morning that is suspiciously reminiscent of a frosting-less cupcake. Something totally unlike that can’t be deemed a “muffin” just because it’s cooked in a muffin tin, right?

These were my hesitations until a few days ago.

And then there was Betty White.

And now I have to call these something besides “muffins.”

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Mornings are difficult for me. Difficult to the point that I’m sometimes surprised, when I get to work, that I’ve managed to dress myself in a socially appropriate way.

My stomach, like my brain, tends to take a while to fully wake up, so breakfast can be something of a challenge. Historically, my breakfast has been orange juice, cereal, and blueberries—something I can assemble and eat without a fully alert brain or stomach. The problem is that I’m ravenous again just a couple of hours later, and it’s still a ways until lunchtime.

So recently I’ve decided to experiment with an exciting new food product I’ve been hearing a lot about. It’s cheap, healthy, and full of protein. It’s an animal product, so vegans, this is not for you. And it’s a little gross if you think too much about it, but  somehow less gross if you shell out and get it at the farmer’s market from the local organic producer guys, who also happen to be really attractive.

That’s right, I’m talking about eggs. Specifically, taking eggs and making them into McMuffins. (When I was a kid, I called all chicken nuggets “McNuggets.” In hindsight, that’s depressing.) More specifically, making them into a Starbucks-inspired hoity-toity version of McMuffins; even more specifically, making them in bulk and freezing them so that they can be nuked and enjoyed first thing in the morning, even when brain dead. They’re cheaper, healthier, tastier, and—especially with farmer’s market eggs and gooey havarti with dill—much, much classier than the original. And hey, with the freezing-and-nuking, they’re faster, too.

WARNING! STUPID SHAKESPEARE PUN: I goo, I goo; look how I goo, Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's boo.

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There are, of course, far more than two kinds of people in the world. But when it comes to breakfast/brunch food, people tend to fall into two camps: those who want savory breakfast (some variation of eggs, usually), and those who want a more dessert-like breakfast (pancakes, waffles, french toast). Then there are the people like me, who can’t decide. Ideally, if I’m at a restaurant, I’ll be eating brunch with someone who’ll share with me, so I can get a little of each. But if I have to choose, I tend to go the savory route, just because the sweet breakfast foods are usually nothing but overwhelmingly sweet, in addition to being nutritionally vapid.

I don’t often cook breakfast—usually, in the morning, it’s all I can manage to pour milk over cereal—but that might change now that I’ve discovered these pancakes, which are anything but nutritionally vapid and which reheat beautifully in the microwave. Chock full of blueberries, oatmeal, and whole wheat flour, they might actually count as health food, but they don’t taste that way. They taste awesome. Tender, moist, and not too sweet. Plus, since I used buttermilk powder and frozen blueberries, they were made completely with ingredients I happened to have on hand in yet another massive DC snowstorm.

Even better with bacon!

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