Posts tagged Breakfast
Sunday, August 12, 2007

banana bread

glorious scent

The one true rule in our kitchen between me and KS is that we will do whatever we can to manage our perishables in such a way that we don’t have to throw them out if they start to spoil. Leftover herbs become pesto, tomatoes with a couple of small spots get either a slow roast in the oven or processed into homemade tomato sauce, stale bread becomes croûtons. Sometimes this means deviating from trying something new as a recipe in order to salvage an ingredient or two. In every kitchen, there are most likely a few stories like this from time to time.

one hour away from bliss

Ever since we got back from South Carolina, the cooking hasn’t stopped. I’m already behind in writing all the food we’ve prepared – and I’m warning you, one picture in particular (pork chops, why won’t you photograph well?) doesn’t make you run-run-run to the kitchen and start cooking. But I’ve been wresting with meat photography – and no matter what I do, it just looks gross to me. No matter what angle, day light or otherwise, meat comes out looking gross and well, dead. Could it be my former vegetarian reacting? But never mind about that for now.

early sunday morning snack

We brought home with us a few bananas that served us as our snack food on the road. And you know how bananas are. Lush and yellow in the grocery store, luring you with their sweetness and potassium. And then you bring them with you into the car and the sit in this scorching heat for a few hours and bam! – a few brown, soft spots appear and you’re left with mushy, brown bananas. Personally, I prefer to eat my bananas while they’re perfectly yellow, but when it comes to baking – well, bring on the soft, the over-ripe, the bruised!

crumbs

And so yesterday, while cleaning up in the kitchen, I glanced over to see the sad-looking bananas hang out on the counter, probably convinced that their fate was to wind up in the garbage. Not so, I thought and dug up my trusty Martha Stewart cookbook. In ten minutes, the batter was made, poured and what was to become banana bread was happily sitting in the oven. Instead of nuts (because I’m weird and don’t like nuts in my banana bread, go figure), I added cranberries. Every year, around Thanksgiving time, I buy two extra bags of cranberries and freeze them. And then through the year, dip into my stash for things like banana bread or whatever else. It’s served me well through the years and in my opinion, it beats those Craisins every time. The cranberries are magical in banana bread, truly making the flavor pop and develop a whole new dimension. And magical is more than I could have asked for, considering that the initial goal was manage a spoiling food and what I got in return was a sweet, dreamy treat!

Continue reading banana bread.

Friday, May 4, 2007

lemon ricotta pancakes

lemony clouds

In every relationship there is stuff you agree on, and there’s stuff you work out. If your values and fundamental beliefs are in agreement, provided you share the same goals about your future, things have a much better way of working themselves out. Of course, there’ll be little thing here and there to tweak. Right side of the bed or left? Squeeze the toothpaste from the middle or bottom? Fold clothes neatly and put them away, or throw them on a chair in hopes that they will magically hang themselves?

To all that above, I say, these are the passing, fleeing moments, that while might cause a slight bit of friction for some (though not for all), aren’t indicative of much, or all that weighty. They’re topical, superfluous, and they do not a relationship make. Or break.

There is of course the issue of breakfast. I’m convinced that everyone, and I mean everyone, loves breakfast. Even if you think you don’t love breakfast, you really do, you just don’t know it yet. Brunch, is even a more glorious event combining the growling of a hungry breakfast stomach with a weekend leisure a weekday cannot simply afford. At least for those of us who have to be at work before 8 am.

colors pleasing to the eye

Lucky for me, both KS and I are breakfast people. Hardly a weekend goes by without our morning sit-down meal, which typically, is eggs and toast, sometimes accompanied by bacon, always doused in hot sauce, often served with coffee, but sometimes tea. And jam – jam is key for me, people. And were it not SO economically pointless for me to make it, this site would be full of jam recipes.

But when you dig deeper into the breakfast preference, two camps firmly emerge: the eggs camp and the pancake/French toast camp. I, proudly, place myself in the latter camp, but with a caveat. The pancakes have to be lighter than air, melting in your mouth almost instantly, leaving you with a full, but not a heavy feeling. And that is hard to find. KS, on the other hand is an eggs-for-breakfast devoté, usually preferring them over-easy, sitting atop a toasted bread.

butter, melted - exalt!
And since you can’t really just make pancakes for yourself, seeing as the smallest batch of batter feeds at least 2-3 people, we rarely, if ever make them at home. But a few months ago (yes, months, I am this backlogged), I convinced KS that we had to have lemon ricotta pancakes for breakfast. This was right after our trip to the Bowery Kitchen Supplies, housed in the Chelsea Market building, where we stopped at an Italian grocery store and I went crazy with glee, picking up creamy ricotta among other items. The ricotta was begging to be cooked, and who was I to refuse it?

And so I did some research online and approximated which recipe out there (as there are many) would produce the lightest, fluffiest, most delicious pancakes. And the winner was Bobby Flay, who has yet to fail me with his amazing take on recipes – the man is a genius, really! And while I tweaked the recipe a bit, I have to credit him with the inspiration and the base. These were truly the most incredible pancakes I’ve ever had. I won’t tell you how many I had, but it was a bit embarrassing, as I had more than a few.

plentitude

I took out the lemon curd altogether. I don’t know if it’s just me, but anything that has a name “curd” attached to it, is an automatic turnoff. Maybe because it rhymes with “turd”? Who knows, really? I also used buttermilk instead of milk, because I find that the tingly sour taste of buttermilk makes the pancakes softer, lighter, full of air. Milk tends to bring out the heaviness in pancakes.

And since it was a gloomy, sunless, cold winter day, anything lemon flavored was akin to letting a little bit of warmth, sun and the promise of spring into our winter existence. And for me, it was the next best thing.

Continue reading lemon ricotta pancakes.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

blood orange yogurt cake

Blood Orange Yogurt Loaf

One of the greatest thing about the blogging community, namely the food blogging community is that is provides continuous inspiration and reasons for self-improvement.

Aside from sharing content and enabling the flow of information all over the world, you are allowed to learn from the blogs your read and admire. Things that worked for them, things that didn’t. Things that they chose to improve and develop.

Take this yogurt cake, for instance. Featured first by Ina Garten of the indelible Barefoot Contessa, as a lemon yogurt cake, it was reincarnated as a grapefruit yogurt cake with the help of Deb of SmittenKitchen. The pictures looked so good, I think I drooled a bit on keyboard. Oftentimes, I am rendered helpless at mere sight of food, pictorial or otherwise, and I feel compelled to recreate it in my own home.

In this case, I was all set to make the grapefruit/lemon version of this cake because I was curious to see how these two citrus flavors would marry. But then something happened in a local Tribeca corner store: I spotted blood oranges, brazen and menacingly blood red, and had a different plan.

superior citrus

I brought a few oranges home, just enough to make the cake and squeeze some fresh juice for drinking. Because how can I pass up the opportunity? When I can’t stop talking about the blood orange juice from Citarella, available all year round people, and a treat far worthy than ice cream or a cookie; when blood orange sorbet from Ciao Bella (available, alas, seasonally) is my favoritest sorbet in the whole wide world! I am, what I would call, a blood orange junkie.

And I so hoped that the blood red color would stain my yogurt cake to a lovely pinkish hue, but my hopes were for naught – as the loaf stayed a yellowish color, no pink in sight. The taste however, was sharp, citrusy and had a bite to it.

While I dialed up the zest to twice the amount the recommended amount and added a bit more juice and sugar, I think that in the end, what would have made this cake completely irresistible would have been some of the blood orange flesh. Next time perhaps.

I also omitted the glaze, being that I dislike super sugary things and find most sugar glazes unappetizing and a killjoy for me. But most of you out there, I am sure, would disagree.

crumbs

In the end, the cake was devoured as quickly as it was created, leaving behind it a few lonely, unattended crumbs as evidence of the cake’s one time existence. And for what it’s worth, I can’t wait to make this with lemon, grapefruit, orange – you name it. And perhaps this loaf will inspire someone out there to go and concoct a version all their own. Because, as I said before, one of the most beautiful things about the internet and blogging is this forum of sharing, improvement and inspiration. Let us continue to share.

Continue reading blood orange yogurt cake.

Friday, December 23, 2005

banana muffins with vanilla and cayenne

Warm Muffin

It was over a breakfast discussion of holiday treats that we began a muffin conversation. A coworker lamented about not having a muffin for breakfast and I offered to bring some in the next day. I thought, I’ve not cooked in awhile, and having just made soup the previous day, I was on a bit of a roll, if you can call it that.

After a run for a haircut, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up the baking essentials, and by another store for my muffin baking pan.

I decided to make banana muffins because of how comforting bananas can be in cold weather. The smell of banana bread on a winter morning is enough to get me out of bed. I abstained from putting nuts in it, in case any of my coworkers were allergic to them. And my high hopes of adding cranberries for that extra zing, were dashed when I realized that Christmas-ready shoppers bought up all that the store had. So these are pretty plain-Jane muffins, yummy as they are. Perhaps adding a bit of lemon zest would have done the trick? I think this now, a bit late for this batch, which has already been hungrily consumed by my team, ready for their Christmas to commence.

What I did add was a bit of vanilla extract, because Radish loves all things vanilla and a teeny tiny pinch of cayenne pepper. Trust me, on this.

Continue reading banana muffins with vanilla and cayenne.