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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

 

This meal is very adaptable.  It could be breakfast, lunch or dinner.  The title basically tells you all the ingredients that you need.  Pancetta is Italian bacon, or unsmoked pork belly.  It is fatty and salty.  You cook the pancetta (which I have never purchased before) until crispy, and then cook your potatoes in the oil left over from this salty meat.  When the potatoes are cooked to your liking, you add broccoli and cover the pan for a few minutes to soften it up.  Then add your crispy pancetta back in and place a poached egg on top.   The pancetta makes the potatoes salty and delicious, and the broccoli gives the meal a nice crunch. 

Now…the poached egg.  Having never made eggs of the poached variety, I set out to find instructions.  I particularly liked the directions that included a drop of distilled white vinegar and a whirlpool of water.  You heat water in a saucepan with a drop of the vinegar, and before the water starts to boil, but is very hot, you create a whirlpool in the pot by taking your spatula or spoon and swirling the water around.  Once you have this whirlpool effect going, you drop your egg in, and wait a few minutes before using a wide slotted spoon to retrieve it.  I suggest putting the egg in a small dish, and sliding it in the water instead of cracking the egg into the pot.  You may need to help the egg along with your spatula or spoon.  I tried to guide the egg whites, but I do not think it did much.  Also, be very gentle removing the egg from the water because you do not want it to break.  I went through several eggs before getting a few decent looking ones.  Practice definitely helps, and once you go through 6 or so eggs, you will get the hand of it.  One more helpful hint that I can provide is to only use maybe 3 or 4 inches of water.  You do not need to fill the saucepan, and in fact, too much water will not work well.

Potato Hash with Broccoli, Pancetta and Poached Egg (adapted from SmittenKitchen)

 1/4 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice

6 red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1/2-inch diced cubes

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cups broccoli florets, slightly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs, poached

Heat a large pan with a lid over medium heat and cook the pancetta until brown and crispy.  Remove pancetta from the pan and place on a paper towel.  Using the oil in the pan from the pancetta, cook the potatoes until browned.  Cooking the potatoes may take awhile, depending on your desired level of crispiness.  When the potatoes are almost done, add the onions and cook for 3 minutes.  Then add the broccoli, and place lid on pan for 3 minutes or until broccoli is tender.  Remove lid, then add pancetta.  Toss the potatoes, onion, broccoli and pancetta together.  Serve with a poached egg on top.

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We bought a truck load of grapefruits from Costco the other day, and I finally had my excuse to make this cake that I saw on another blog not too long ago.  I find grapefruits to be hit or miss, so as I sliced one of the many, in half, I hoped that it would be a sweet one. The recipe calls for pink grapefruit, and although my grapefruits were not especially pink, they still gave this cake a citrusy punch. 

I have seen variations of this cake floating around out there, but this one also called for yogurt, which I still had remaining from previous recipes (and which was about to be past its due date shortly).  This cake was very easy to put together.  I gathered all my dry ingredients and whisked them up.  I smashed grapefruit zest and sugar together with a fork to produce a “fragrant sugar”, as promised by a fellow food blogger.  This zest and sugar combination was my favorite thing about making this cake.   I beat eggs with this beautifully scented sugar concoction, until pale yellow and thick. I added whole milk yogurt, oil, and vanilla to the pretty yellow liquid and stirred it up. I poured the dry ingredients into the wet ones, and combined.  Perfectly simple.  My batter went into a Bundt pan, although a springform pan or loaf pan would work too, and cooked for 30 minutes.

When the timer went off at 30 minutes, I tested the cake with a wooden toothpick.  The toothpick came out clean, but the top of my cake did not look done-it was white in color (not golden by any means), and it looked a bit wet.  I believe the toothpick doesn’t lie, so I pulled out the cake and let it cool completely.  Once cooled, I turned it over and plopped it onto a dish.  The top, which is now the bottom of the cake, was so sticky that the cake refused to move on the plate, but this sticky top now bottom added texture to this cake.  I totally recommend letting it stay a little sticky on top and remove before it turns golden brown for three reasons.  One, the cake was extremely moist throughout and I fear that any additional time in the oven would have resulted in a dry cake, which commonly occurs with these citrus based cakes.  Two, the rest of the cake is a perfect golden brown.  Third, the sticky bottom of the cake has a great consistency-chewy and light, and it nicely contrasts with the rest of the cake’s texture.

Now that I have overly explained the aspects of this cake, it is necessary to discuss the glaze.  I would not call this a glaze by any means, although it did make the cake glisten.  You boil juice from one grapefruit and three tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar, then let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Sounds easy enough, but the liquid never got very thick.  The juice continued to reduce, and I was afraid that I would be left with very little to glaze with, so I removed it from the heat and poured it over the cake from the saucepan.  This was a slightly messy process, so I recommend pouring the glaze into something like a small pitcher to pour over the cake or use a brush to brush it on.  Although the glaze did not resemble your typical glaze, it brightened up the cake and provided a lovely sheen as well as a strong citrus sweetener. 

When I took a bite of my cake I had two thoughts-that I couldn’t really tell that it was grapefruit, but it definitely tasted like a citrus fruit and that it would be a great breakfast cake (yes, you can have this cake for breakfast since it has fruit in it 🙂 )   

 Pink Grapefruit Yogurt Cake (replicated from JoytheBaker, The Greyston Bakery Cookbook)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Juice and zest of 1 pink grapefruit.  (1/2 cup of juice and 1 tablespoon of zest) 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a Bundt pan (springform pan or loaf pan)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  On a plate or medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and zest.  Using a fork, rub the zest into the sugar. 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and grapefruit sugar until the eggs are thick and pale yellow.  Add the yogurt, oil, 1 tablespoon of grapefruit juice and vanilla extract.  Stir well to combine.  Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool, then remove cake from pan. 

In a small saucepan, combine the powdered sugar and the remaining grapefruit juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes while stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, pour glaze into a small pitcher to pour over cake or use a brush to brush onto cake.

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We had a lot of leftover plain yogurt from a previous recipe, and I wanted to do something with it before it went bad.  I was thinking dessert, and I came across variations of chocolate yogurt muffins and cakes.  Some recipes included different extracts (vanilla and almond) and some included fresh mint.  I wanted to keep it simple, but I printed out several similar recipes for future use. 

Last night when I returned home, it was later than usual and I wanted something sweet.  I did not want to stay in the kitchen for hours, and so this recipe was the perfect fit.  It literally took minutes to create.  The only tools needed were two bowls, a spatula, and a spoon.  Easy clean up.  All the ingredients just flopped into their respective bowls, then they were combined, chocolate chips were added and the muffins went into the oven.  Thirty minutes later, we had light and fluffy chocolate muffins with spots of melted chocolate goodness (from the chips.)

You can use plain or vanilla yogurt for this recipe, but I am not sure if you could use Greek yogurt. My guess is that you could add it for a much stronger flavor-think added sourness, less sweetness.

Chocolate Yogurt Muffins (from CookieMadness)

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup melted unsalted butter

1 cup plain yogurt

1 egg

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

Stir brown sugar and melted butter together in a bowl.  Add yogurt, egg, and vanilla, and stir until completely blended.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.  Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring until blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into paper muffin cups.

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After Easter, we had so much food left over that I did not need to cook for the next few days.  When deciding on what to make for dinner last night, I decided I wanted something a little lighter than all the heavy foods we had been eating from the holidays, and I wanted to use my leftovers as much as I could.  We had plenty of eggs left over from Easter since I bought 4 or 5 dozen, due in part to dying eggs as well as the unsuccessful 15 egg Easter bread.  We also had olives and feta cheese left over as well.

Frittatas seem to be popular these days.  Lately, whenever we go to breakfast/brunch on weekends, there always seems to be a “frittata of the day”.  I do not typically order frittatas in restaurants though because I find them to be too heavy.  However, upon browsing through several cookbooks the other night, I came upon two recipes for frittatas from Weight Watchers, and I decided to sort of meld the two together.

The two recipes both called for a combination of whole eggs and egg whites.  I decided to substitute mozzarella for feta cheese, and I added spinach, chopped kalamata olives and oregano.

What you need:

 3 whole eggs

4 egg whites

10 ounces frozen spinach thawed and drained

5 kalamata olives

1 Tbsp oregano

1/3 cup low fat milk

1/8 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled.

 First, gather your eggs together.  Crack three eggs into your medium sized mixing bowl. Then, add the four egg whites.  To separate the egg whites, I typically use the shell of the egg and move the yolk back and forth, while letting the whites slip out into the bowl.  I recently learned a trick during a cooking demonstration to use your hands.  Crack the egg open, and allow the whites to slip through your fingers while the yolk remains in your hands.  At first, I did not enjoy the messiness of this, but now I find it to be a much easier way to separate egg whites.

 Add the milk and the spinach (thawed and drained) to the eggs, and whisk together.  Chop up the olives, and stir in the olives, oregano, salt and pepper to the egg/spinach mixture. 

Spray an omelet pan (or small-medium frying pan) with some cooking spray so the eggs won’t stick, and heat the pan on a medium heat.  Once the pan is warm, pour the egg mixture into the pan.  Now, add the feta cheese.  The feta will give the frittata a saltier taste, so if you prefer something less salty, go with the mozzarella.  When the eggs firm up around the edges, start trying to lift the sides of the frittata with a spatula, just so you can get it ready to be flipped. 

When the mixture appears to be firm in the middle (no runny egg), then flip the frittata.   This frittata is pretty hefty because of the amount of spinach, so I suggest using two spatulas to flip it.  Place both spatulas under the frittata, be brave, and flip it. When I flipped mine, a little piece in the middle came apart, but once it cooks on the other side it will meld together again. Cook for a few more minutes, and then you are done.  I like to cut the frittata up like a pizza to serve.

The result:  A lighter-kind of frittata.  What made this frittata the best was the oregano.  Using good oregano is a must.  Fortunately, we were lucky enough to have oregano direct from Greece (via my aunt), and it had a strong and distinct flavor.  Typically, oregano from the spice jar in the grocery store lacks flavor and when added to recipes, gets lost among the other flavors.  However, the oregano we used in this frittata was definitely noticeable.  One bite and we were both reminded of the eggs my aunt made us for breakfast when we visited Greece two summers ago.

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