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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

egg salad

Egg salad is another thing (like coleslaw) that I thought was pretty disgusting until I made it myself. And then I realized that it’s delicious — and easy, and cheap. And endlessly variable. Here are some guidelines: egg salad is best when it’s freshly made, slightly warm, not too mayonnaisey, and served open-faced on a piece of toasted bread. It needs something a little acidic, something a little onion-y/crunchy, and a little spicing.

Another guideline: Egg salad likes to have other things mixed into it, or eaten on top or alongside it. Consider egg salad your canvas! I have listed a couple suggestions for toppings and side munchies below, which I’ve distinguished by whether you want to put them directly on top of your sandwich and eat altogether in one bite (toppings) or whether you want to eat between bites of sandwich, for a change of flavor/texture (side munchies). Side muchies can, I suppose, also be toppings, depending on how adventurous you are.

And, as the last feather in egg salad’s cap of endless flexibility, it should be noted that it can serve as any of the three meals of the day: a savory breakfast, a quick lunch, or a light supper. So get crackin’. (more…)

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Breakfast salad of Champions

Fact: 1780294 out of 1780294 American Gladiator contestants who ate this for breakfast kicked the patooties of contestants who ate Wheaties or Kurt Vonnegut’s 1973 novel for breakfast. You just can’t argue with those numbers.

For a long time, I always skewed to the “-unch” side of “brunch,” taking the non-breakfast savory route out whenever possible. In college, that usually meant settling for last night’s tofu parmigiana over danishes or “Eli’s Breakfast Sandwiches.” And I was one of roughly two people I can remember who could fathom touching the salad bar, even if brunch ran from 11 to 1h30. But now, in this post-mandatory meal plan age, I can create a happy compromise between my palate and gastronomic acceptability norms. It’s a breakfast salad. And it’s so freaking nutrient-packed that dietitians should shed low-sodium tears of hushed awe upon beholding its calcium-rich glory. And it tastes like sweet, nutty victory.

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corn muffins

There are certain packaged foods that are simply the Platonic ideal of their kind, never to be bested by homemade versions: Oreos, Heinz ketchup, and Coca-Cola being my top three. Is the taste of these foodstuffs so perfectly irreplaceable because they are actually perfectly formulated? Or is it just that we are so used to those flavors that nothing else will quite do? If I had grown up eating Newman-O’s and Hunt’s ketchup, and drinking Pepsi, would I now be just as insistent on those brands as the apotheosis of sandwich cookies, tomato-based condiments, and corn-syrupy carbonated beverages?

I have one more to add to the list, but this one I feel guilty about: JIFFY Corn Muffin Mix. I felt way more guilty about it until my recent realization that EVERYONE loves Jiffy, or at least everyone who wasn’t born and/or raised in the South (and here, “everyone” mostly means my Gossip-Girl-dinner-party-club and Deb at Smitten Kitchen, which is a large and varied enough sample size for me).

Still, while I have no need for homemade Oreos, ketchup (Heinz or otherwise), or Coke, I would actually like to make cornbread from scratch. I’ve made it a couple times in the last year, always with recipes from Southern cookbooks and always in a cast-iron skillet. And it always came out great, but as an entirely different species of cornbread than I am used to — crunchy on the outside, very bready, and extremely savory. What I want is soft, cakey, and sweet. There, I said it. All Southerners can now crucify me. (more…)

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Tortilla española with a side of purple kale
Tortilla española with a side of purple kale

Last night I had a few friends over to bid bon voyage to a friend who is leaving town for the summer. Fired up the grill, slapped on some steaks, potatoes au gratin, wine, dessert – the works. However, this morning one thing became clear – my graduate student “income” handles treating friends to a steak dinner just about as well as my head handles a bottle and a half of wine. In situations like this, I turn to my go-to, budget-easing, good-for-what-ails-ya, all-purpose meal solution – tortilla española.

Despite what my friends always think, tortilla española is not a type of burrito (so stop bringing salsa!). Rather, it is the hearty potato-and-egg concoction that Spaniards eat pretty much constantly. I learned how to make tortilla when I spent a semester abroad in Spain, where I ate tortilla at least four times a week (best on Sunday at about 2PM after a long sangria-filled night). I knew I needed the recipe.

In Spain I lived with a host family, and it was my host mother Josefa (jet black eyes, fiery dyed red hair, even more fiery temper) who taught me everything I know about tortilla. Josefa imparted the technique to me as if she were revealing a secret magic spell with apocalyptic power. Each step came with a grave warning (e.g. You can add zucchini, but NEVER EVER EVER anything else!). Yet despite Josefa’s stern admonitions I have found the recipe to be rather malleable, and I encourage you to experiment once you’ve got the basic technique.

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100_1810Boot Camp is a back-to-basics series focusing on some classic easy-cooking staples. If you would describe your cooking ability as “my-easy mac-is-on-fire,” then this is a great place to start, and if you’re more of a veteran, we hope you’ll pick up on some new ideas and add advice of your own as a comment. If you’re only interested in how to sous vide heirloom romanesco, you might want to move on.

As I’ve worked my way into my twenties, I’ve lost my teenage ability to sleep in, especially when I’m away from my own bed. So when I go with friends to the beach or a cabin, etc., I am often among the earliest risers. In recent years, I have actually come to take a strange and almost certainly excessive pleasure in being the first person awake in a house. I really love having a quiet hour to myself to start the day, and it feels like winning to me in some way that probably suggests I’m in need of some good psychotherapy.

But it’s not an entirely selfish pleasure. My third favorite early morning activity, after drinking 2.5 gallons of coffee and reading in the morning air, is making breakfast for everyone. Scrambled eggs are always a good option for feeding a lot of people, but there’s something about a pancake breakfast that just feels special.

And with a little practice, pancakes are not very difficult. They require near-constant attention while cooking, but they’re much more forgiving than you might assume. The most frustrating aspect of making pancakes is that you wind up with a lot of batter-covered dishes to wash.

But given that you’ve just fed a houseful of people, I bet there’s something that can be done about that.

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100_1725

Sorry for the inconvenience, but we’ve moved. You can now find this post and the recipe for this delicious granola here:

http://foodjunta.com/2009/03/31/breakfast-briefs-granola/

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100_1705

Before we go any further, you should know a couple of things about matzoh brei:

1) It doesn’t need to be Passover for you to cook it (or to find matzoh!);

2) Everybody makes it a little differently (including Claire!); and

3) It’s tasty, filling, and absurdly easy to cook.

The recipe below and the process I’ll describe will help you make matzoh brei the way my lovely mother makes it…which may not be quite the way you’ve had it before, but is definitely worth doing. I particularly recommend this recipe to people who, like me, are totally %$^&ing helpless in a kitchen and whose culinary attempts result in things like fires and irreconcilable interpersonal strife. If you have two left spatulas, give this a shot—you won’t mess it up. Probably.

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