Archives for category: breakfast

IMG_0335

Pomegranates are in season now which means I am eating them as much as I possibly can. They are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber. They also happen to be delicious. One of our favorite easy things to eat these days is take some yoghurt, stir in a hefty scoop of peanut butter and top it with Pomegranate seeds. My sister-in-law who is a Registered Dietician would put a scoop of peanut butter in her morning yoghurt to boost the protein content and stay full until lunch. I tried it once and was hooked. Peanut Butter lends an amazing richness to the creamy yoghurt that I just love. Pomegranates are the perfect complement and add a burst of sweetness, acidity and crunch.  My 4-year-old is skeptical of the seeds so I stir them in well so she doesn’t see them. My 2-year-old gobbles it up any way and asks for more. You can use any full, non or low-fat plain yogurt but I prefer Greek because of the thicker texture and tangier flavor. It’s so good we’ve been known to eat this for dessert!

Advertisements

Zucchini Pie

Before this summer is over, I had to get a post for Zucchini pie in, while the zucchini are local and abundant. When I was a kid my mother used to make broccoli or zucchini pie all the time, using a recipe from the back of the Bisquick box. I knew there must be a recipe out there without the Bisquick (what is Bisquick anyway?) so I did a quick search and found one posted by Real Simple magazine. I tweaked it just a bit to get it to taste how I wanted to so here it is. Try to pick small firm zucchini with skins that aren’t bruised. The larger ones tend to be filled with seeds, aren’t as sweet and have tougher skins. If zucchini flowers are available, you can arrange them on the top to form a delicious and decorative pattern.

This is super easy to make and tastes great cold, which is how it is often eaten, standing at the fridge with the open door in one hand and pie in the other. It’s sort of like a crustless Quiche, with some flour in the filling to give it structure. And kids like it too!

Zucchini Pie

Adapted from Real Simple Magazine

Serves 4-6

3 Cups zucchini skin on, grated

1 small onion, finely diced

1 cup AP flour

1 cup provolone cheese, grated

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup vegetable oil

4 Tablespoons Parmigiano, grated

2 Tablespoons basil, chopped

1 tsp baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground

3-4 Zucchini flowers (if available)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 or 10 inch corningware (or other glass or ceramic baking dish; I don’t like it in metal) with butter or vegetable oil.

2. Combine all ingredients except eggs in a large bowl, reserving a little Parmigiano to sprinkle on top.

3. In a small bowl beat eggs, then fold into zucchini mixture.

4. Pour into baking dish. If you have Zucchini flowers arrange in a decorative pattern on top of mixture (don’t submerge completely). Bake 45-50 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 3/4 of the way through cooking sprinkle with reserved Parmigiano. If you desire more color you can stick it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the top.

5. Let rest for about 20 minutes before slicing so that the pie sets up and cools.

So I’m late on this post. Ramp season is just about over. I have been working like a madwoman and haven’t had time to post, but  it’s absolutely necessary to get an entry in on them, so better late than never. I promise I’ll be on time next year. What are ramps, you ask? In the restaurant world, ramps are the first sign of spring, after a long winter of butternut squash and apples but much more delicious than fiddlehead ferns (which are also an early spring thing but to me taste like dirt.) They are a type of wild onion, closer to a leek, with a delicious leafy stem and tender bulb and they grow wild in New York, but often come from places like West Virginia and Oregon first. In the northeast you can by them at greenmarkets, as I have never seen them in an actual store, but you better get there early before the restaurants snap them up. They are delicious and sweet yet spicy and grassy.  You can use them much like an onion or scallion, or just simply char them and serve them in a heaping pile of steaming deliciousness aside grilled fish or meats.  Trim off the root end, then use a paper towel to peel off the thin top layer, stem down to the root to get rid of the sand. If they are particularly sandy you can wash them, but be sure to dry them well or the tender leaves will rot and you don’t want that.

They are versatile and yummy and not at all difficult to work with. Anywhere you would put an onion, you can put a ramp, but since the flavor is more delicate you want to highlight it instead of mask it so keep the other ingredients simple.

Scrambled eggs with ramps is a great first dish, simple to execute but the outcome is totally sophisticated. Separate the white part from the green and slice the white finely. Then rough chop the green. Gently sauté the whites in butter or olive oil, until translucent and buttery. Sprinkle a little salt and then add your scrambled eggs. Toss in the greens and cook gently until the eggs are soft and creamy. Serve on toasted baguette, ciabatta or crusty whole grain bread.

Ramps lend themselves particularly well to other spring vegetables, because things that grow around the same time and area generally taste good together. If you want to expand on the egg idea, you can make a dinner fritatta with potatoes, asparagus, ramps and mushrooms. I like oyster or hen of the woods (maiatake) but any mushroom will do.

Spring Vegetable Fritatta

1. Parboil some spring potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from water and turn out onto a plate lined with a paper towel to dry.

2. In a large sauté pan, (preferably NOT non-stick*), heat some oil until just smoking and add your mushrooms, not too many so you don’t crowd the pan. Don’t touch the mushrooms. Don’t stir the mushrooms. Let them pick up some color before you move them. Moving them constantly won’t get that delicious caramelization that you want which will intensify the flavor. When you see some browning happening, then you stir them. You do, however want to monitor your heat. The pan needs to be smoking before you add the shrooms, which will then lower the temperature of the pan. But then the temp will rise again, and if you see lots of white smoke, or if your pan is looking too brown on the bottom, lower the heat. Conversely, if your temp is too low and your pan is not hot enough the mushrooms will steam as they release water instead of browning. Look at it and judge. Add a little salt halfway through cooking to draw out the moisture. Once you see color developing you can stir the mushrooms. If you need more oil because mushrooms inherently soak up oil, add a little drizzle around the edges of the pan. Cook until the mushrooms pick up color, throw in some asparagus sliced thin, sauté briefly to take the rawness out of the asparagus but leave still crunchy and then remove mixture to a bowl and reserve.

3. Cut up the potatoes to the desired size and cook in a sauté pan, along with the white part of the ramps in oil or butter until crunchy (just like home fries).

4. Scramble your eggs, add in the reserved veggies and season withe a little Salt and pepper. Add this mixture to the hot sauté pan with the potatoes. Cook until set and lightly brown on the bottom, adjusting the heat so it is hot enough but doesn’t burn.

5. At this point you have 2 options. You can turn it out onto a plate and then flip it over. Or you can stick the whole pan into a preheated 350 oven. The stove top yields a flatter fritatta with a creamier center. The oven yields a little puffier with a more cooked interior.

6. Cook until done. Turn out onto a plate and shave parmigiano over the top.

* Non-stick pans are not made for high heat. To get a good sear on something never use nonstick, as heating the pan too high will cause the coating to degrade and release chemicals into your food. Besides, you won’t get the beautiful browning you are looking for anyway. Non-stick pans are fine for scrambled eggs and omelettes, but not much else.

YUM!!!!

We love eating pancakes on the weekends and I happen to have the best pancake recipe ever.  I don’t even remember where it came from but they always come out perfectly tender and cakey with a little bit of sweetness.  My husband didn’t want me to share it because he wants to serve them in our restaurant someday but I was able to sway him with a little convincing.

If you would like to amp up the nutrition factor you can cut the white flour with buckwheat flour. If I do it, I usually use 1/3 – 1/2 buckwheat flour and the rest All Purpose Flour. Buckwheat has little to no gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat flour that gives it it’s structure and strength. In something like a pasta or a bread, you want structure and strength, since chewiness and bite are attributes you aspire for. In pancakes you want them to be delicate, so you don’t want much gluten. With 100% buckwheat you end up with a batter with no structure and pancakes that are dense and need help from things like beaten egg whites to add lightness and stability. I prefer the flavor, texture and ease with less of a ratio of buckwheat flour but you may not. Experiment and see what works for you.

This recipe calls for sour cream, which gives it richness and a little bit of tang. I am obsessed with Wallaby Organic sour cream lately because it’s thickness and flavor is heads and tails above the others I have tasted. It’s so good you could put it on berries,  drizzle with a real Aceto Balsamico (Balsamic Vinegar from Modena) and dust with confectioners sugar to be eaten for dessert. Because the sour cream is so thick, I often need to add a splash more of milk to get the pancake batter to the right pouring consistency.

We eat the pancakes with butter and real maple syrup. Did you know that there isn’t even any maple in products like Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima Syrup? They are primarily flavored with things like Fenugreek, a spice with a maple-like aroma, and then high fructose corn syrup,  a cheap way to make it sweet. Besides being minimally processed and all natural, the real stuff just tastes so much better.

Sifting the dry ingredients  not only ensures that there are no foreign objects in the mix (something you have to worry about more in a commercial kitchen) but also aerates the flour to prevent the pancakes from being dense. You can sift by putting dry ingredients through a fine strainer and tapping the side with your hand, or stirring the flour with a wooden spoon to help it through.

Here is the recipe.

Best Pancakes Ever

Serves 4 (about 12 pancakes)

1 1/2 cups AP Flour

3 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Sift together dry ingredients except for salt because kosher salt won’t go through the sifter, the kernels are too large. Add salt after sifting.

2. In a separate bowl whisk together remaining wet ingredients. Add wet to dry mixing only until combined.

3. Rest 30 minutes to relax the gluten. If you need to skip this step they will still come out fine.

4. Mix batter just to recombine. You may have to adjust consistency depending on the kind of sour cream you use. Batter should be thick, but able to pour off the spoon, not glop off. If needed to thin add milk, a few drops at a time. Heat griddle and place a pat of butter on. Swirl around to coat griddle with a thin layer.

5. Test one pancake by gently dropping a small ladle full onto the griddle. Cook until lightly browned on one side and then flip with spatula. Cook other side. If you are happy with the consistency, cook the rest.

%d bloggers like this: