Breakfast Archive

Monday, May 7, 2012

bacon, egg and leek risotto

bacon, egg and leek risotto

Seeing as I once argued that rice pudding should be breakfast food (what? grains, milk, a bit of sugar, sometimes berries — just like oatmeal!) it shouldn’t be any surprise that I’m now wondering if risotto could also be welcome in the earliest parts of the day. I mean, what if contained bacon and eggs? What if I warned you that if you start making risotto with leeks and bacon and finish it with a fried egg that you might not be able to go back to eating it another way? You can’t say I didn’t give you a heads-up.

leeks, still gritty
cooking, not crisping, the pancetta

I got the inspiration for breakfast risotto from an article I saw a few months back. Okay, it was many months. And every time I was about to make it, I found something better to do. Like, flossing. Or chasing my toddler around the apartment with a comb, trying to explain that he would one day thank me for not letting him leave the house looking like an unkempt Muppet. (Obviously, it didn’t work.) Eventually I had to admit that risotto, while lovely to eat when someone else makes it, is hardly my favorite way to dirty pots and pans. It’s the stirring, and also the starchiness; it’s the sleepiness of the usual inclusions (maybe mushrooms, asparagus and other delicately-minded green things), and that always requires that you make something else (a salad, or maybe some protein) that will make it seem more of a balanced meal. Risotto: It’s awfully demanding.

prep: pancetta, leeks, rice, cheese

Continued after the jump »

Monday, April 30, 2012

cinnamon toast french toast + book preview

cinnamon toast french toast, a smitten kitchen cookbook preview

Guys, I wrote a cookbook.

When I was 32 weeks pregnant in the summer of 2009 (in fact, this was overflowing on my kitchen counter during my first meeting across town) and should have been doing normal third trimester things like eating jars of Peanutella by the spoonful and repainting the baseboard trim (which still looks awful, not that this will surprise you), I instead decided that I really wanted to write a cookbook. Because new mothers are swimming in free time (“new babies are always sleeping!”), I thought I would finish the book in six months; nine, tops. Stop laughing. Quit it.

Two and three-quarter years later, the “baby” is 2 1/2, I am the proud owner of 2 1/2 gray hairs and, oh, right: The book is done. Even though these have been the busiest and most overwhelming years of my entire life, they’ve also been the most exciting and inspiring. I am so proud of this book. I can’t wait to show it to you. I wish it were out tomorrow. But today, I have a few things to hold us over.

the cover of the smitten kitchen cookbook

First, this above? That’s the cover. What’s that, you ask? It for a tiny recipe called tomato shortcakes. They’re savory. Those are biscuits with green onions. It’s a salad. There’s whipped goat cheese. My editor was visiting that day, and I was just fiddling around, trying to make us a little lunch. My favorite dishes happen this way.

buttered popcorn cookie from the smitten kitchen cookbook

Continued after the jump »

Monday, April 16, 2012

banana bread crepe cake with butterscotch

banana bread crepe cake

If this site could have a single prologue, it would go like this: It all started out so innocently. Because doesn’t it always? I wanted something simple but got carried away. A search for a lasagna I could love became a Mount Everest of a Lasagna Bolognese; a hankering for a great game-day snack became a mash-up of Welsh rarebit and pull-apart rye bread; and a hunt for a quiche that could serve a crowd became a 4 1/2 year vendetta until I triumphed over those 137 square inches of buttery flaky shell. Okay, I’m being a little dramatic. I’m likely scaring away people who just wanted something simple to cook (I promise, the next recipe will be so simple, you might, like me, weep and wonder where it’s been every rushed weekday night of your life thus far.)

speckly bananas are your friend
blending the batter

In this case, I started daydreaming about the place where a simple crepe would intersect banana bread and from there, I couldn’t stop. Well, I had to stop for a week because my book’s first pass pages came back (guys? It looks so pretty, I can’t wait to show you) and when they dragged it from my apartment (I, um, wasn’t done yet), I found that my cooking mojo had left with it. If you’d like a delightful recipe for banana flatcakes (what I affectionately called the first flop), I’ve got one. Then, I was so low on groceries, I had only the exact number of eggs I needed for the recipe, and like something out of a bad comedy skit, I managed to smash the egg on the outside of the mixing bowl, all of my hopes of getting this recipe to you in a reasonable frame of time dribbling down the side and puddling on the counter. (If this ever happens to you, promise me you won’t leave the kitchen in disgust, if only because cleaning up that egg an hour later is only going to double your grump.) Then my son demanded the last speckled banana, the one I’d been saving to try the crepes again (the nerve!), and it was a few days before the next batch were ripe enough to use.

I am, if little else, the queen of excuses right now.

batter thickens overnight

Continued after the jump »

Friday, April 6, 2012

over-the-top mushroom quiche

a tall wedge of mushroom quiche

This one is personal. Four years, five months and 19 days ago, I was bested by this quiche and as noted by the detailed date count, I may not be over it. Worse, it wasn’t even the quiche that bested me, but the crust. A flaky shell with even more fragility-enhancing butter than a standard pie dough, it was twice as big as a regular quiche shell, and then, instead of letting you press it into a shallow tart pan, it was draped inside the towering (okay, three-inch) walls of an open-hinged 9-inch springform ring. Without a base. This crust takes no prisoners and my 2007 take — a slippery, torn-up, leaky shell that only held half the quiche batter and dribbled much of that, too, onto the oven floor — was nothing to write home about. Not that this stopped me; this is, after all, an Internet Weblog.

the chilled buttery shell dougha ruler helps, sometimesto transfer the doughunfolding the dough inside

I finally got back to it last week and here’s the point in the story where I’m supposed to tell you that four years later, I won. In the Smitten Kitchen vs. Thomas Keller’s Buttery Quiche Shell smackdown, Smitten Kitchen prevailed. Take that, commenter who said “you know, this IS a Thomas Keller recipe so it’s not meant for the casual home cook,” and that “some things should be left to the pros.” Alas, I’d totally not seen and patched the tiniest of holes in my shell and a small amount of filling dribbled out. And then a huge chunk fell off the crust as I was trimming it. I did it to keep it real, okay?

draped over, like a blanketall pressed in pie weights and uncooked riceready to remove the weights

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, March 24, 2012

soft eggs with buttery herb-gruyere toasts

soft eggs with buttery herb-gruyere toast soldiers

I wish I could tell you that I had good reasons for sharing this recipe today, earnest ones. If I were a different sort of writer, I might dig deep into my past and crank out a few graphs about my late German grandfather, who ate a soft-boiled egg for breakfast every morning for as long as my mother remembers. (Also, brisket for dinner.) Maybe I’d tell you about the period of 2004 when I did the same, pining for the perfect crouton, perhaps buttered toast fingers raised to a previously unfathomable level of deliciousness, but didn’t get to it until this week.

romano and gruyere, finely grated
minced parsley

And while each story would be in some ways true, none are the actual truth, which is that we’re talking about soft-boiled eggs today because omg I found the cutest set of egg cups, egg cups with chickens! and I had to buy them. Yeah, shopping. I told you the story would be better left to more artful scribe. To buy them, however, I’d have to use them, and to use them, it was time to consider the crouton, and not just any crouton but the very most intensely delicious crouton I could dream up. There’s an ample amount of melted butter and a slip of Dijon mustard, there’s Gruyère and a tiny bit of Romano cheese, whose kicky/nutty saltiness has me fixated lately. There are herbs, too, and this whole mixture is literally caked onto fingers of sourdough bread, then roasted in the oven until bronzed, fragrant and tormenting.

sliced sourdough

Continued after the jump »


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