Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Granola parfaits – another breakfast idea

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

It seems that I’m always looking for a little inspiration when it comes to breakfast ideas.  When traveling and looking for healthy breakfast options,  yogurt parfaits are always at the top of my list.  And why not make them at home?  Better yet…if you have children….why not let them assemble parfaits for the family.

You’ll need three ingredients.  Granola (for which there is already a recipe in a prior post, should you need one), yogurt, plain or flavored and then some kind of fruit.  In this case I used blueberries but any berry or combination of berries is awesome.  You can use about any fruit you care to try. The parfaits are especially attractive assembled in a clear glass of some kind but even a coffee mug will do. 

The order of things is not critical but the idea is to layer the color and the textures so that every bite in interesting and delicious.  Here I started with the berries…

then the yogurt.  I used the plain yogurt and would normally leave it unsweetened but if you prefer a sweeter result…

then you can drizzle it with honey. 

Then add your granola and repeat the steps for a second layer.

If the parfait is large enough it stands on its own as a complete breakfast but if it’s smaller toast up an english muffin or bagel and you are set for the day!

Fun and carefree alternative to the classic cmelet

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

A few years back my brother in law, who is quite the outdoorsman, shared a most creative and ingenious technique.  It’s a clever way to make an omelet in the great outdoors.  Since then I have seen others use this same method.  If you’ve eaten eggs from a camp stove they are generally way over cooked and reach your plate ice cold.  This technique will produce a perfectly shaped omelet served piping hot.  Here’s how the camp version is made but the procedure can be prepared just as easily on your home stove.

Start by filling a large saucepan with water and set it over the camp stove bringing the water to a vigorous boil. 

While the water is heating up, scramble two or three eggs in a bowl (however many you would use for one portion) just as you would at home.  Feel free to include cheese, onions, peppers, cooked sausage or any number of ingredients. 

If you choose to use onions, peppers and other vegetables, it’s always a good idea to saute them first for maximum flavor.

Then pour the eggs and those fillings into a ziploc bag or any resealable bag and squeeze out all the air you can. 

Drop the bag into the boiling water and let it cook for a few minutes. 

Every once in a while, nudge the baggie with a spoon to mix up the contents inside the bag.  That way the eggs cook evenly.  The cooking time will depend on how many bags you’re doing at one time and how many eggs you’ve used for one portion but it generally takes about three minutes.

What’s really neat is that the eggs take on the shape of the bottom of the bag, which ends up looking like a French rolled omelet.  When the eggs are done take them out of the water and leave them inside the bag until you are ready to serve them.  That’s what keeps them nice and hot.

So as I mentioned earlier…why save this technique only for camping trips?  Make them at home.  It’s a clever way of making a delicious, trouble-free omelet and I think kids would really get a kick out of selecting their own filling ingredients and then participate in the cooking procedure.  And here’s another thought…if breakfasts are a little hectic for your family assemble the bags the night before, set out your pot of water and the next morning all you have to do is bring the water to a boil and drop in your bags.  Cool!

Kumquats – a recent discovery

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

I recently have become acquainted with kumquats.  They are truly an intriguing little fruit.  The ones I tried were quite small and condusive to simply plopping in the mouth, whole.  The fruit can be larger but those might be a little too big for eating whole.  The first taste is shockingly sour but is somehowed mellowed with a sweeter finish.  They make a wonderful snack but can also be used for jams, chutneys and relishes.  They are also encorporated in baking items like muffins and cake batter. When trying to imagine their many applications compare them to orange and lemon rinds. 

Kumquats can be used in much the same way, but the entire fruit can be used (not just the rind), removing seeds first, and then sliced or chopped to the size you need.

They can also be used as a garnish in salads.  When stored in the fridge they have a decent shelf life giving you plenty of time to find places for them.

Finally a simple answer to poaching and frying eggs

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

poach-frying an egg

Here’s a tip I learned from my mother not too long ago. As we were making breakfast one morning she showed me a slick way to cook eggs.  It’s what I would call a combination of poaching and frying egg.  True frying can be tricky and poaching is a bit troublesome so this simplifies and blends the two methods.

What you do is simply take an aluminum pan or a non-stick pan and spray it lightly with a vegetable spray.  Also, make sure your pan has a lid that fits or a least round up a plate that you can use as a lid.

Turn the heat to medium and wait for the pan to warm up.  When it’s ready, crack your eggs on the heated surface.  And as soon as the eggs are cracked, sprinkle a few tablespoons of water along the edges of the pan.  Then right after the water is added, cover the pan and turn the heat down.  The water in the pan, actually steams the eggs and the results are a combination of frying and poaching.  You don’t have to turn the egg or mess with it at all because the steam from the water cooks the top just as poaching liquid would.

What’s really great about this method is that as the eggs are cooking you can lift the lid and see how done they are.  By touching the yolk with your finger you can determine how hard or soft the center is.  And watch out because it doesn’t take long for them to cook when the lid is on.  If you think the eggs need more water, just add a little more.

It’s a great technique.  You avoid the mess of poaching liquid, you hardly use any fat to cook them in and it’s easy to tell when they’re done.  Give it a try and see what you think.

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