Breakfast Archive

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

essential raised waffles

buttery yeasted waffle stack

This recipe is nothing new. It was first published, as far as I can gather, in 1896 in The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer and has since been fussed over and had its virtues extolled by more food writers, newspaper dining sections and food bloggers than it has not been. It’s the equivalent Proust’s Madeleine/Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread/Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie*/Hey, Did I Tell You About The Time I Killed My Own Dinner? of modern food writing.

all you'll need + a good night's sleep
yeast is dissolved, a little foamy

But even if I’m not going to be making an unprecedented mark on the home cooking conversation today, it would be a glaring omission not to share it here as well because there’s so much that’s very important about it. The first is the book it hails from, the late, awesome Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book. Do you know anyone who just got engaged/about to get married/just moved into their own apartment/thinks they want to start cooking/trying to drop a hint to their significant other that certain meal shifts are up for grabs? What better place to start than at the top of the day, and this is the book everyone — yes, girls and boys — needs on their shelves. It covers all bases. It makes people happy. These are respectable cooking goals.

all risen

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Friday, April 26, 2013

yogurt panna cotta with walnuts and honey

yogurt panna cotta with walnuts and honey

Guys, I just discovered the ultimate weekend brunch treat/decadent dessert that still contains a whiff of moderation/preschooler snack. The ingredient list is so short, and the cooking process is so simple that you’ll have the recipe memorized by the time you make it the second time. And you will make it a second time, maybe even within a week. It looks pretty, tastes luxurious and… well, most of you probably discovered panna cotta a decade ago.

lemon, gelatin, sugar, milk/cream, yogurt
thick greek yogurt

I’m sorry, I’m just slow. For example, this week I started reading this new book that everyone was talking about in September … 2007. And that’s just the beginning. Gallery wall? Skinny jeans? Arrested Development? Quinoa? People, I am on it. True to sluggish form, it’s been a full four years since my friend Nicole gushed to me about the wonders of yogurt panna cotta. I put it on my cooking to-do list, blinked, and that about brings us up to last week when I saw it on my list and thought, “right, wasn’t I going to make that a few days ago?”

yogurt whisked with milk or cream

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

spinach and smashed egg toast

spinach and smashed egg toast

What do you make yourself for lunch, if nobody else is around? I bet you’re hoping I’m going to say something ambitious, like “a gently poached chicken breast, cooled and sliced across a vegetable salad with a hand-whisked vinaigrette,” because that happens, ever. Or maybe you’re hoping that this is where I tell you about my secret peanut butter fluff with crumbled potato chip sandwich habit, alas, I’m not even interesting enough at lunchtime to be scandalous. The sad truth is, if I’ve by some miracle found a couple hours to get work done in relative peace, I’m ecstatic, and I find hunger an inconvenience. If I must succumb, whatever I make for lunch must be quick, and tends to fall into the Stuff On Bread category: avocado, olive oil, lemon and sea salt, peanut butter (always low-brow) and jam (always fancy), or, smashed soft egg.

bread, spinach, dijon, shallot, goat cheese, eggs
minced shallot

I made a big fuss about poaching eggs a few years ago because I loved them but had a hard time getting them right at home. Once I did, I was triumphant, but nevertheless, have probably not made one in over a year, or not since I discovered that there’s an even simpler route to that cooked-white-loose-yolk-soft-edge nirvana. Soft-boiled eggs require no vinegar, no teeming water and no whirlpools, but they peel like a dream. My favorite way to eat them is broken open on toasted and buttered whole-grain bread, sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

two ounces of baby spinach

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Monday, March 18, 2013

coconut bread

coconut bread

Three weeks ago, we together rolled our eyes because it seemed like everyone was either celebrating spring (pea tendrils! meyer lemons!) or on vacation without us, cluttering our social media feeds with shiny, happy scenes on distant beaches. We had a brief but unequivocally necessary pity party because while we were stuck here, shivering, with a fresh layer of sleet accumulating outside. We consoled ourselves with blood orange margaritas.

And then — EH TU, DEB? — I turned on you too.

worst week, ever

Really, I have some nerve. There we were, finally getting caught back up after a fall and winter of extended absences while I hopped from Atlanta to Austin, Boston to Bridgewater, Minneapolis to Montreal, Salt Lake to St. Louis and I unpacked my thick sweaters and wool socks only long enough to replace them with sunscreen and flip-flops.

What a terrible week.

morning view

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Friday, March 8, 2013

my favorite buttermilk biscuits

my favorite buttermilk biscuits

I won’t lie: I generally feel — being a Jewish kid from suburban New Jersey — about the least qualified person on earth to talk about biscuits. My grandmother didn’t make biscuits. I am almost certainly the first person in my family to keep my fridge regularly stocked with buttermilk. And growing up, our breakfast breads were a rotation of Thomas’ English muffins, bagels and maybe corn/blueberry or bran muffins, so it’s not like I have a deep well of biscuit nostalgia to tap into when I decide, on a whim, that what our morning, slicked with heavy snow, really needs is freshly baked biscuits.

flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, soda, butter, buttermilk
butter into bits

Odds are, however you make your biscuits, you’re making them wrong. Either the flour isn’t right (all-purpose when it should be White Lily, cake flour or something equally delicate), the leavener is unacceptable (commercial baking powder instead of a homemade blend of baking soda and cream of tartar), you chose the wrong fat (shortening instead of lard, lard instead of shortening, butter instead of shortening or lard), you pulsed your fat into the flour instead of rubbed, you beat instead of rolled, you dropped instead of cut, you used a cookie cutter (gasp!) instead of a juice glass. I’m totally cool with this: I make my biscuits wrong, too.

buttermilk into dry ingredients

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