Tag Archives: Breakfast

Gingered Rhubarb and Honey Jam

Gingered Rhubarb and Honey Jam

Gingered Rhubarb and Honey Jam

For my birthday this past year my mother-in-law gave me The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving to further encourage my canning aspirations.  Marc and I have been making jam and applesauce for years, dabbling in the occasional fruit butter.  However, I was looking to move beyond the traditional strawberry, blueberry, and peach jam and into the world of unusual jams, marmalades, conserves, and pickles.  Unfortunately, my birthday is in January so I have been staring longingly at the book and waiting for the day when I could pick it up and start using it.

The key players

The key players

Finally, those days are here.  In anticipation of the start of u-pick fruit season and our veggie CSA I sat down with the book a few weeks ago and found myself tagging lots and lots (and lots) of recipes that I want to make.  The first one I picked was for a strawberry lemon jam made without added pectin and cooked in the microwave.  I made two pints of that yummy, deep red jam and I was hooked.

Lots of honey

Lots of honey

Next up, this rhubarb and honey jam.  I was fortunate to be able to take an armload of fresh rhubarb stalks from the many plants at my in-law’s house and immediately set about prepping and chopping.  Overall, this recipe is pretty easy to make.  The prep time is relatively low as all you have to do is clean and chop two cups of rhubarb and one tart apple (I used a Granny Smith) and zest and juice a lemon.  The fruit cooks with a little water until is is bubbling and starting to break down.  Then you add sugar, a lot of honey, lemon juice and some candied ginger.  You cook the whole thing until it forms a gel, ladle into prepared canning jars, and process for 10 minutes.  Because it is a small batch (makes 3 cups plus a little more) it cooks relatively quickly.  In fact, it only took about 6 minutes of strong boiling for my gel to form.  The finished jam is balance of tart and honey-sweet with the occasional bite of ginger.  It is a nice option for those who like their jams a little less sweet than typical commercial products.

A couple of things to consider:

  1. Make sure to follow the most recent guidelines for safe boiling water canning.  Properly preserved, this jam will last for a year in a cool, dark place.
  2. Take a few minutes to read about how to test to see if your jam is set.
Gel is almost set

Gel is almost set

Gingered Rhubarb and Honey Jam
Ingredients:
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 lemon zested and juiced (reserve 1 tbls lemon juice)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 1/2 tbls diced candied ginger
To Make:
Prepare your jars, rings, lids, and canning vessel.  I used a small stockpot with 5 jar rings tied together to serve as a rack.  A nice thing about small batch canning is that I don’t have to bust out my large speckled canner which uses an enormous amount of water.
Combine the rhubarb, apple, and lemon zest in a stockpot or large saucepan with 1/2 cup of water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat, cover, and simmer until fruit is tender and starting to break down, about 15 minutes.  Add the sugar, honey, lemon juice, and ginger to the pot.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Turn the heat back up and bring the contents to a rapid boil that can’t be stirred down with the spoon.  Boil, uncovered, stirring frequently until the jam starts to set, anywhere from 6-12 minutes. I recommend using the freezer test (link above) to test if your jam is gelled.  If you watch it closely, you will see when the mixture starts to thicken and change into its gelled form.
Once the jam is set, ladle into your hot jars leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.  Get rid of any bubbles, wipe the rims, top the jars with the lids, put the rings on, and tighten until they are finger tight (don’t crank them on).  Place the jars in the canning vessel, cover, and bring the water to a rapid boil.  Once the water is boiling set your timer and process for 10 minutes.  Once the 10 minutes is over, remove the canner from the heat, take the lid off, and let the jars sit for 5 more minutes.
After 5 minutes, carefully and gently remove the jars to a towel or rack set in a draft free area.  Then walk away.  Leave them alone and don’t touch them until they are sealed and cool (can take 12-24 hours).  If you are lucky, you will hear the tell-tale “pop” of the jars sealing.  If you have a jar that doesn’t seal you can either reprocess with a new lid or simply put it in the fridge and eat it first.  Once the jars are sealed and cooled, remove the rings, wipe off any wayward stickiness, and store.
Apple and lemon juice both add nice amounts of pectin so you should be able to achieve a good gel.  However, pectin levels vary by individual fruit so if you can’t get a good gel, process it anyway and use it as a delicious ice cream topping.
To Serve:
I probably don’t need to tell you how to serve jam.  This jam is delicious on toast or biscuits but would also work well in more savory applications such as on top of a piece of roasted chicken or pork chops.  Makes 3 1/2 cups.

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Filed under Add-ons, Breakfast, Gluten-Free, Recipes

Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza

 

Breakfast pizza recipes can be found all over the internet.  They have a sort of siren song.  There is something about taking one of our favorite foods, pizza, and making it a breakfast food that feels fun and just a little rebellious.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they are completely delicious.  Cheese, bacon or sausage, and a chewy crust, all topped with an egg that is baked until it is just set… sounds like breakfast nirvana to me. 

Mmm, butter

 

You can imagine how intrigued we were when we came across a breakfast pizza recipe with a bit of a twist.  Instead of using a traditional pizza dough as the base, this recipe called for a biscuit dough to serve as the crust.  I have to admit, I was a little skeptical.  I was afraid that the biscuit would be too heavy or that the top of the pizza would be cooked before the biscuit crust was properly browned and crisp. 

Waiting crusts

 

Thankfully, Marc was not afraid and convinced me to try it.  Not only were my fears about the biscuit crust unfounded, it was actually one of the most delicious breakfast pizzas I have ever had.  The crust was superb.  Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.  The flavor of the biscuit complemented the cheese, sausage, and of course, the egg.  I encourage you to put aside your skepticism and make these pizzas for breakfast this weekend.  You will be very glad you did. 

Who's hungry?

 

Breakfast Pizza 

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook 

Ingredients: 

For the crust 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

2 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp salt 

1 stick (8 tbls) cold butter, cut into small pieces 

1/2 cup plus 2 tbls milk 

For the toppings 

1 tbls butter 

1 medium onion, sliced into half moons 

1/2 pound bulk sausage, bacon, or ham 

1 to 1 1/2 cups finely grated cheese (a blend of cheddar and monterey or colby jack works nicely but feel free to use whatever you have on hand) 

4 large eggs 

To Make: 

Put your oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.  Preheat to 450 degrees.  Butter two baking sheets. 

Cook your sausage or bacon until cooked through.  If using bacon, coarsely chop into small pieces.  Set aside. 

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Blend in the butter with your fingers or with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add the milk and stir just until the mixture forms a dough.  Gather the dough into a ball and gently knead it six times on a lightly floured baking sheet.  Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.  Pat each portion into a round that is between 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Using your fingers, create a rim around the edge of each crust.  

Top each crust with onion, meat, and cheese.  Make a little well in the cheese and carefully crack an egg into the middle of each pizza. 

Bake pizzas, switching positions of the sheets half way through, until the yolks are almost set, about 12-15 minutes.  If you want firmer yolks, feel free to add another minute or two to the cooking time. 

To Serve: 

Sprinkle the egg with salt and pepper and serve immediately.  Your family will thank you.  Serves 4.

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Crispy Seltzer Waffles

Crispy Seltzer Waffles

If you are hosting Easter brunch this Sunday and are struggling with the menu, consider these waffles.  It’s true that waffles can be kind of a pain because you need to make them individually and they are best hot off the iron, but these waffles are worth it.  

A Winning Morning Combo - The Beginning of Waffle Batter and a Hot Waffle Iron

 

They are great for two reasons.  First, as far as Belgian waffles go, they are very easy to prepare (one bowl, plus something to melt the butter in), no egg whites to whip separately.  Second, they are absolutely perfectly crispy outside.  It can be difficult to get waffles that are light and fluffy but with a crisp outer shell.  This recipe manages to do both of those things.  Seltzer water provides moisture, lightness, and a crispness that rivals deep frying.  While the original recipe calls for plain seltzer, it would be delicious to use lemon flavored seltzer and toss in some lemon zest.  Then you could top your waffle with a squeeze of lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Or use raspberry seltzer and top with fresh raspberries.  The possibilities are delicious. 

Time to Make the Waffles

 

Crispy Seltzer Waffles 

Adapted from Gourmet Today 

Ingredients: 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

2 tbls sugar 

2 tsp baking powder 

slightly rounded 1/2 tsp salt 

4 tbls (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 

2 large eggs 

1 3/4 cups (14 fl oz) seltzer or club soda (from a new bottle) 

cooking oil for brushing waffle iron 

To Make: 

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Add butter, eggs, and seltzer and whisk until smooth.  Lightly brush a very hot (preheated) Belgian waffle iron with cooking oil.  Pour in enough of the mix so that the batter just barely fills the bottom grid (the amount will vary based upon the size of your waffle iron, we used about 2/3 cup of batter).  Cook according to your manufacturer’s instructions.  You can use a regular waffle iron if that is what you have. 

To Serve: 

Serve warm topped with pure maple syrup or whatever else you desire.  Makes about 6 waffles (this will depend on the size of your waffle iron).

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Filed under Breakfast, Recipes

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Pancakes

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Pancakes

In our house, weekday breakfasts are typically composed of utilitarian fare like cold cereal, yogurt, or the occasional oatmeal.  However, on weekends, we like to pull out all the stops and make things a little more interesting.  We often find ourselves trying out various pancake recipes; buttermilk, cornmeal, buckwheat, etc.  Then one day, we stumbled on this recipe for chocolate chocolate-chip pancakes and we were hooked.

Mixing in the chocolate chips

These pancakes are thin and light (which is how I like them best) and just barely crispy around the edges.  They are full of rich chocolately flavor courtesy of cocoa powder and chocolate chips but they aren’t too sweet.  They are delicious topped with fresh fruit, especially strawberries or blueberries, maple syrup, dusted with powdered sugar, or eaten warm off the griddle.

Fluffy egg whites

If you are looking for something to make a weekend breakfast a little more special, definitely whip up these pancakes.  With all of the chocolate, you really don’t need maple syrup, but if you want to pour it on we certainly won’t judge.

On the griddle

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups milk

4 tbls (1/2 stick) butter, melted

2 eggs, separated

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

To Make:

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites in a clean metal or glass bowl until they hold soft peaks.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, egg yolks, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  The batter will still be slightly lumpy and that is okay.  You don’t want to over mix.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Gently fold in the whipped egg whites.

Drop batter by 1/4 cup fulls onto pre-heated and lightly buttered griddle.

To Serve:

Serve warm.  Makes about 18 4-inch pancakes

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Maple Toast Cups

Maple Toast Cups

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had a nice day.  Marc and I spent New Year’s Eve making (and eating) a big bowl of kettle corn and watching Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince.  It wasn’t the most exciting evening ever but it was very relaxing and babysitters are tough to come by on December 31.

Maple brushed bread with bacon

If your New Year’s Eve was more typical, then you might have a need for a good breakfast the “morning after.”  If so, then these maple toast cups are a sure thing.  These are reminiscent of McDonald’s McGriddle sandwich except that they are much, much better.  They are both sweet and salty, soft from the egg and crisp from the bacon and the toast.  1 or 2 of these and you have all your breakfast needs covered, except for the coffee of course.

Raw eggs in bread cups

Maple Toast Cups

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

6 slices bread (Make sure to use a tight crumb, good quality bread.  We used homemade maple buttermilk bread and it was delicious)

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

6 large eggs

To Make:

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Butter six regular muffin cups.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter with the maple syrup.

Remove the crusts from the bread.  Flatten each slice with a rolling pin.  Brush both sides of the bread with the syrup mixture.  Put one slice into each muffin cup and sprinkle the bacon pieces evenly into the cups.  Carefully break an egg into each cup (be careful or the white will run out).  

Bake until whites are set and the yolks are still a bit runny.  It took about 20 minutes in our oven but since ovens vary, you should start checking after 5 minutes.

To Serve:

Lift toast cups from the pan and serve immediately, drizzled with additional syrup, if desired.  Serves 3 to 6, but is easily multiplied.

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Sweet Potato Muffins

Sweet Potato Muffins

Do you know the Muffin Man?  No, I don’t either.  Personally I am somewhat ambivalent about muffins.  I think that many times, they try to be too much – cake, breakfast pastry, quick bread – but end up not being particularly good at any of it.  The monstrous muffins that are routinely served at coffee shops are too often dry or crumbly or dense without much flavor.  When I eat a muffin, I like it to be moist and tender with a light sweetness that doesn’t overpower my tea.  

Mashed sweet potato

Muffin batter

 

 

 

 

 

When I came across this recipe for sweet potato muffins, I knew that I needed to try them.  In addition to being really simple to make, the sweet potato adds moistness and flavor while the mix of white and wheat flours and flax seed meal adds a nice nuttiness.  Plus, since we are heading out on a (long) road trip for Thanksgiving, I wanted to have some easy and delicious road food to keep us all full and happy.  These muffins fit the bill nicely.

Ready for the oven

The texture of these is great.  They are light and springy, not dense and dry.  They are sweet enough that Thing 1 loves them, especially the mini ones which she refers to as “baby muffins”, but not too sweet for me or Marc.  So if you are boiling up some sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, boil one extra and make these muffins for the morning after. 

Mmm, freshly baked

Sweet Potato Muffins

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato (about 1 1/3 cups mashed)

1 stick of butter (salted or unsalted), softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup flax seed meal

1 tbls wheat bran

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is preferable)

1 tsp salt (use only if you are using unsalted butter, otherwise omit)

cooking spray or muffin papers

4 tsp sugar mixed with 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon for topping (optional)

To Make:

Peel and cube the sweet potato.  Place in boiling water to cover and simmer until tender when poked with a knife, about 15 minutes.  Drain and mash.  You should have about 1 and 1/3 cups of mashed potato.  Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, flax seed meal, wheat bran, baking soda, spices, and salt (if using).

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter until light in color.  Add the sugars and cream until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.  Next add the milk, vanilla, and sweet potato and mix until well combined.  The batter will look slightly curdled.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.

Fill prepared muffin tins about three-quarters full.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar if desired.  Bake in the 350 degree oven until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean, about 14 minutes for mini muffins and 18 minutes for regular ones.  Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To Serve:

These muffins are great as breakfast or as a snack.  They are particularly nice for kids because they taste yummy but at least hint at healthiness.  The original recipe says it makes 12 muffins but they must be the huge ones you get in coffee shops because I made 12 regular muffins and 12 mini muffins from the same amount of batter.

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Filed under Baked goods, Breakfast, Recipes, Vegetarian

Ham and Swiss Strata

Ham and Swiss Strata

Breakfast for dinner.  My husband likes to tell me stories about how in his fraternity house, they would have the cook prepare breakfast for lunch every Wednesday.  From my perspective, this is about the only of his college traditions that is worth keeping alive. 

Egg Mixture

Strata Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

While we often whip up pancakes or omlettes for a quick meal, occasionally we want something a little different.  If you have never had strata before, you are missing out.  A good strata is like the best parts of an omlet and bread pudding, mixed together into one savory dish.  You can put just about anything in it (we used ham, swiss cheese, and green onions in this incarnation), it uses bread that probably wouldn’t get eaten otherwise, and best of all, it has to be made in advance.  This makes it a very versatile dish that works equally well for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Layer 1 of the Strata

Ham and Swiss Strata

Ingredients:

4-5 cups bread (preferably bread that is slightly stale), cubed into bite size pieces

5 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

4 oz swiss cheese, shredded

3 scallions, finely chopped

1 smoked ham steak, cooked and diced

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbls fresh parsley, chopped

To Make:

Grease an 8″x8″ glass baking dish.  Spread about 1/2 of the bread into the dish.  Sprinkle the bread with the diced ham steak, the scallions and 3/4 of the shredded cheese.  Add the other half of the bread cubes.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs.  Add in the milk, chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or over night.  Once or twice while the strata is chilling, gently push down on the bread cubes to make sure they of them soak up the egg mixture.

When you are ready to bake, place the strata in a preheated 325 degree oven.  Cook until the eggs are just set and the top is golden brown and slightly puffed, about 60-65 minutes.  Sprinkle with additional fresh chopped parsley if desired.

To Serve:

Serve this either warm or room temperature.  Serves 4-6.

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