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Archive for Breakfast

TIP OF THE DAY: Breakfast Salad

Breakfast Salad

Breakfast Salad

Granola Breakfast Salad

[1] Bacon and egg over Caesar Salad. [2] Deconstructed Eggs Benedict: poached egg, julienned Canadian bacon and English muffin crouton atop a mixed green salad. [3] Romaine, apples and grapes with a honey-yogurt dressing, topped with granola (all photos courtesy Food Network; the recipes are below).

 

We first heard of breakfast salad in 2014. Someone sent us a recipe, but it got lost in the shuffle.

In the ensuing two-plus years, the concept has spread. So if you’re ready to move on from the last breakfast trend—overnight oats—here’s a roundup of the latest.

Breakfast salad is a fusion of conventional breakfast items with salad greens or other raw or cooked vegetables. Example: bacon and eggs on a lettuce wedge, or yogurt and fresh fruit salad atop mesclun greens.

For years we have served what we never thought to call “breakfast salad”: an omelet topped with lightly dressed baby arugula and watercress; and for brunch, poached egg on top of a frisée salad with lardons, or on top of a Caesar salad.

So we decided to take a look at what other people were eating. We found:

  • Some were following the breakfast food-and-greens or vegetables concept.
  • Some were serving up fresh fruit atop greens.
  • Some were throwing an egg on top of a grain bowl.
  • Some were featuring luncheon salads (Cobb, spinach-egg-bacon) for breakfast.
  • Some were medleys of cooked vegetables (bell peppers, potatoes, root vegetables) with chickpeas for protein.
  • Some were featuring sandwich ingredients (smoked salmon and avocado) atop greens.
  • Some served what we would call side salads breakfast salads (diced squash and pomegranate arils atop greens, with some almond butter in the dressing).
  • Some tossed greens atop avocado toast.
  • Some even featured a liquid salad, i.e., a green smoothie.
  •  
    BREAKFAST SALAD RECIPES

    We decided to go purist. Here are some recipes that fit our bill of breakfast salad fare:

  • Bacon & Egg Breakfast Caesar Salad, the egg yolk served cooked on top of the salad instead of raw in the traditional Caesar dressing.
  • Egg, Sausage & Avocado Breakfast Salad.
  • Eggs Benedict Breakfast Salad, deconstructed Eggs Benedict.
  • Frisée Salad With Eggs & Bacon (what’s frisée and another recipe).
  • Greens, Grapes & Granola Breakfast Salad, romaine, apples and grapes tossed with a yogurt dressing and garnished with granola.
  • Grilled Wedge Salad With Fried Egg & Cranberry Feta Cheese.
  • Potato Breakfast Salad, an opportunity to eat pan-fried potatoes with some egg white and chickpeas for protein.
  • Quinoa, Ham & Pepper Breakfast Salad, a Western Omelet deconstructed on top of quinoa (or greens, if you prefer).
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    Do you have a favorite breakfast salad recipe? Please share!

    And feel free to eat breakfast salad for lunch or dinner. The concept is no different from an omelet or any luncheon salad.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Omelet Roll

    Omelet Roll

    Baked Omelet Roll

    Ham & Cheese Omelet Roll

    Omelet Roll With Salad

    Pesto Omelet Roll

    Chinese Omelet Roll With Chicken

    [1] The inspiration for this article, from The Wholesome Fork. [2] With a bright garnish from Fabulessly Frugal. [3] Ham and cheese roll from Mangia Bene Pasta. [4] Omelet roll with a side salad, from All Recipes. [5] A chunky pesto roll from A Little Bit Of Spice. [6] A Japanese-style steamed chicken omelet roll, from Yi Reservation.

     

    Recently, we were reminded of one of our mother’s breakfast specialties: omelet rolls. She had two favorites: cream cheese and jelly, and cream cheese and smoked salmon.

    We loved them, but the one food we can’t seem to make well is an omelet (sorry, can’t explain it). Personally, we’ve never seen rolled omelets at restaurants, except for sushi restaurants, which slice the plain pan-cooked egg “loaf,” tamago (literally, grilled egg; but often called egg custard) into pieces for sushi or sashimi.

    When we landed on Esther Schultz’s website and saw the top photo, a re-visitation was required.

    Esther’s inspiration was to make a wrap sandwich using eggs in place of bread. Her turkey arugula omelet roll, is below.

    Esther prefers healthy recipes, so we’ll share her enthusiasm that “Just one of these turkey arugula omelet rolls contains a whopping 19 grams of protein. That is about the same amount of protein as you would find in 2 ounces of roast beef.

    “The calorie count is just 173 calories, making it an excellent protein-rich snack, or a delicious lunch when paired with a salad.

    “It is also a wonderfully child-friendly choice. You can let your children choose their own fillings and roll them themselves making them a fun, customizable lunch.

    “And the best thing about them? They only take 10 minutes to prepare.”

    They taste great at room temperature; and if you don’t like your omelet flipping skills, you can bake the omelet in a pan.

    However you make them, if you slice them you can call them pinwheels.

    IDEAS FOR FILLINGS

    We like the idea of omelet rolls for brunch, or instead of (or in addition to) tea sandwiches, even as cocktail nibbles. The choice of fillings are endless. Consider pairing your favorite:

  • Breakfast meat (bacon, ham, sausage) with lettuce and tomato (for example, a BLT roll)
  • Cheese, e.g. cheddar, pepperjack, swiss/gruyère
  • Cheese and vegetable(s), e.g. goat cheese and spinach
  • Deli meat, bacon or sausage with cheese, e.g. ham and swiss, bacon and cheddar
  • Dessert roll*, such as mascarpone or cream cheese with preserves
  • Cream cheese and jelly* (Mom used grape jelly)
  • Cream cheese or Boursin-type cheese (with garlic and herbs), smoked salmon and onion
  • Fruit roll*, such as mascarpone and berries or ricotta and shaved chocolate/chocolate chips
  • Leftovers roll, such as cranberry sauce and stuffing
  • Pesto roll, blending the pesto with ricotta or other soft cheese for body
  • Soft cheese roll, savory with herbs or sweet with preserves or dried berries, such as goat cheese, basil and dried cranberries
  • Sweet roll*, such as cream cheese and jelly
  •  
    Next, consider:

  • Garnishes: cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, toasted nuts
  • Savory toppings: barbecue sauce, pesto, salsa
  • Sweet toppings: fruit sauce, syrup
  •  
    For a light lunch, serve with:

  • Green salad
  • Raw or cooked vegetables (e.g., crudités with dip)
  • Soup
  •  
    RECIPE: TURKEY ARUGULA OMELET ROLL

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 5 minutes.

    Ingredients Per Roll

  • 2 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt, freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 slice deli meat (Esther uses reduced sodium turkey)
  • ½ cup arugula
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the eggs with the salt and pepper.

    2. HEAT a skillet over a medium heat with a splash of oil. Add the eggs and cook slowly without stirring. When the eggs are mostly set, gently flip the omelet and cook for another 30 seconds.

    3. PLACE the omelet on a plate, topped with the turkey and arugula. Carefully roll the omelet, cut in half and serve.

    ________________

    *Add a pinch of sugar instead of salt and pepper

     

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Steak For Breakfast & The History Of The Doggie Bag

    When life gives you leftover steak, make steak and grits. That’s what we did when we happily brought home a doggie bag from a midtown steakhouse Friday night.

    The next morning the leftovers became part of breakfast (or brunch*, if you prefer).

    You can make steak and eggs, of course; but we don’t have grits often enough. And there’s no reason why you can’t combine all three, as in photo #3.

    We were inspired by this photo from Publican Quality Meats of Chicago to recreate a version of their recipe with mushrooms, radicchio and parmesan cheese (photo #1). You can go as plain or fancy as you like.

    RECIPE: STEAK & GRITS

    The ingredients can be cooked up to two days in advance, then assembled and heated. This is especially great news for those who demand the best, creamiest grits, which can take 90 minutes cooking time.

  • These can be made up to 2 days ahead, cooled to room temperature, then covered and refrigerated. To reheat, break the congealed grits into pieces and whisk in enough boiling water to loosen (up to about 1 cup). Heat over low heat, stirring constantly.
  • If you’re cooking steak from scratch, you can cook it the day before, and slice prior to warming and serving. Undercook it, since it will cook a bit more when you heat it.
  •  
    Ingredients

  • Grits of choice (Anson Mills heirloom grits are the best)
  • Optional: for cheese grits, grated cheese of choice
  • Mushrooms, cleaned (we like a mix of wild mushrooms)
  • Radicchio, julienned
  • Butter or oil for sautéing
  • Steak, cooked
  • Optional garnish: shaved parmesan
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the grits per the package instructions. While the grits are cooking…

    2. SLICE the steak and place it in a microwave-safe dish.

    3. SAUTÉ the radicchio and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes. When ready, warm the steak in the microwave.

    4. SPOON the grits onto plates and arrange the sliced steak, radicchio and mushrooms. Garnish as desired with freshly-shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve with a peppermill.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF THE DOGGIE BAG

    Since Elizabethan times at least, taverns and public houses provided extra-large napkins—not only because people ate with their hands, but they used them to wrap up and take home any leftovers.

    Long before then, well-to-do ancients were accustomed to bringing napkins when invited to dinner, initially to clean one’s hands and mouth. Hosts provided the food, but not the linens. Around the 6th century B.C.E., they started using their napkins to wrap leftovers to take home (here’s the history of the napkin).

    It was also common practice to distribute leftovers to vassals, slaves and servants; and since there was no refrigeration, remnants went to dogs and pigs.

    In postwar times (that’s post-World War II), customers of steak houses would ask to take home the meaty leftovers, “for the dog.” (For those with no dog, it became a decorous way of taking the food home, for people accustomed to the frugal practices of wartime rationing.) There are different claims to the origin of the doggie bag:

    In 1949, Al Meister, owner of Bagcraft Papercon, a Chicago-based packaging company, developed a coated paper bag that was grease-resistant. He is credited with inventing the “doggie bag”—and the take-out bag, for that matter. See the footnote† below for other references.

    Grease-resistant bags soon evolved into foil-lined bags with drawings of Fido—a way to explain why nice people were leaving the restaurant with paper bags.

    Yet elsewhere, many people were criticized by embarrassed family and friends with whom they dined, who felt it was in poor taste. According to one article, well into the 1970s etiquette columns in newspapers got letters asking if it was O.K. to ask for a doggie bag if they didn’t have a dog.

     

    Steak & Grits

    Steak and Grits

    Steak, Eggs & Grits

    Steak & Grits

    Doggie Bag

    [1] Turn leftover steak into steak and grits, here topped with radicchio (photo courtesy Publican Quality Meats| Chicago). [2] Stretch leftover steak by adding vegetables (here’s the recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen). [3] Have it all: steak, grits and eggs, plus some greens (here’s the recipe from Framed Cooks). [4] A peppery approach: bacon-wrapped steak, pepperjack grits and a jalapeño garnish (here’s the recipe from Erica’s Recipes). [5] Turn that leftover steak into steak and grits for breakfast or brunch (photo courtesy Disposable Plastic Wear).

     
    With the exception of Elizabeth Post, Emily Post’s granddaughter by marriage, advice columnists invariably approved of doggie bags as “sensible if not downright virtuous.”

    That remands on trend. No one wants to throw out good food, including the restaurants. (Seattle has even enacted laws to create less kitchen food waste.)

    So no matter how large or small the amount of leftover food, don’t hesitate ask for it. If not, you’ll wake up the next day, sorry you didn’t take it home.

    ________________

    *Breakfast is the first meal of the day, lunch is the second meal, after breakfast. “Brunch” evolved as a weekend meal for later risers, who combined the two meals. Brunch is typically eaten during the late morning or early afternoon and can include both conventional breakfast items (eggs, pancakes) and lunch items (frittatas, starts, quiche, soup and salad, panini or other lighter fare). The other benefit of brunch over breakfast: cocktails with juice (Bellini, Bloody Mary, Mimosa, etc.)

    †Sources vary as to the origin of the term:

    >According to the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 113): “Although leftovers have long been packed up for customers, the term ‘doggie bag’ dates in print to 1963. Two claims have been made for the idea under that name, Lawry’s Prime Rib, a Los Angeles restaurant that dates it usage back to the 1930s, and the Old Homestead Steak House in New York City, whose owner, Harry Sherry, also began to use the term in the 1930s.”

    >According to Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2nd edition, 2007 (p. 253), notes that the doggy bag (or doggie bag) presumed the dog to be the beneficiary of the contents. A 1943 print reference notes that in San Francisco and Seattle, a bag called the Pet Packit was used to take home leftovers.

    >Restaurants in San Francisco and Seattle started to providing waxed paper bags for customers to take home leftovers “for the dog”; the custom rolled out nationwide.

    >Yet another claim says that the doggie bag was born in 1949 at Dan Stampler’s Steak Joint on Greenwich Avenue in New York City. Their grease-proof doggie bags bore an image of the proprietor’s Scottish terrier. They were manufactured by Bagcraft Corporation of Chicago, which sold them to other restaurants as well. Subsequently, the wife of the co-founder of Bagcraft, Jane Meister, wrote a poem that appeared on the bags: “Oh where, oh where have your leftovers gone? / Oh where, oh where can they be? / If you’ve had all you can possibly eat,/ Please bring the rest home to me!!”

    For more information see the article in Smithsonian Magazine.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pho & Ramen Breakfast…Or Perhaps Some Miso Soup?

    Asians drink soup for breakfast: Japanese miso soup and Thai pho, for example. Americans looking for something quick, hot, nutritious and comforting should consider the option.

    Both can be packed with vegetables, and carried in a travel mug or thermos.

    Your soup supply can also be part of a low-calorie, healthful lunch or snack.

    EASY BREAKFAST MISO SOUP

    Miso soup for breakfast? Sure: That’s how millions of Japanese people start the day.

    All you need to make a bowl of miso soup is hot water and a spoonful of miso paste, available in many supermarkets as well as in Asian food stores. Seriously, it’s as easy as instant coffee.

    You can have it plain, add tofu cubes as served at Japanese restaurants, or add vegetables of choice, as shown in this video.

    The tofu can be cubed in advance; in fact, the whole soup can be made in advance and microwaved in a minute, which is especially convenient if you want your soup with cooked veggies.

    There are also instant versions in packets with freeze-dried tofu cubes, which just require water and heating.

    We were heartbroken when Pacific Organics discontinued their terrific pho soup base. It was so easy to whip up a delicious, nutritious noodle and egg soup that can be served for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner.

    Pho is one of our favorite foods in the world, especially when the broth is cooked for days to extract amazing layers of flavor (go to a Vietnamese restaurant that makes it from scratch, not from a commercial base. It may be one of your life’s memorable food moments.)

    Since then, we’ve discovered Nona Lim’s flavorful broths: pho, miso ramen and spicy Szechuan.

    All can be drunk straight or enhanced with noodles, eggs and vegetables. You can add meat for a hearty lunch or dinner dish, and top it with fresh herbs for color and more flavor.

    Savory Choice, which for years has been our go-to chicken broth base, now makes pho concentrate packets in beef, chicken and vegetable.

    You can also find powdered concentrates in Asian food stores and online.

    So what’s stopping you from making a delicious Asian breakfast?

    RECIPE: PHO & RAMEN BREAKFAST

    Ingredients For 4 To 6 Servings

  • 12 ounces Nona Lim plus one cup water or other equivalent* pho broth (substitute Szechuan broth or miso soup)
  • 5 ounces ramen (one packet)
  • 1 head bok choy or ½ head chard or kale, sliced into ½” ribbons
  • 3 green onions/scallions, green and white parts, chopped roughly
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped roughly (substitute basil, chervil, mint or parsley)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD water to the the broth concentrate per package directions, then heat. When it boils, add noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes.

    2. ADD the greens and scallions and simmer for another 3-5 minutes, until the greens are bright and tender but still have texture.

    TIP: If you have wilting veggies in your crisper, or a piece of uncooked chicken or fish that needs to be used, this is a perfect way to use them up. Just shred/slice and toss ‘em in!)

    3. BRING a small pot of water to a boil, then add the eggs and simmer for 7 minutes and 20 seconds. Remove from water and place in an ice bath; peel when cool.

    4. LADLE out bowls of noodles and broth, adding a handful of fresh herbs and a halved egg to each.
    ________________

    *The Nona Lim package plus the water equals 16 ounces of broth.

     

    Ramen - Egg Soup

    Nona Lim Pho Broth

    Savory Choice Beef Pho

    Kikkoman Instant Tofu Miso Soup

    [1] A delicious Asian breakfast, this soup triple-tasks for lunch and dinner. [2] Ready to heat: Nona Lim’s pho base (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [3] We alternate using both Nona Lim and Savory Choice concentrate packets (photo courtesy Grub Market). [4] A quick substitute: instant miso soup packets. There is also a version with tofu and spinach (photo courtesy Kikkoman).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Bread Pudding

    Mushroom Bread Pudding

    Applewood Bacon Bread Pudding

    Broccoli Goat Cheese Bread Pudding Recipe

    Individual Bread Puddings

    [1] Mushroom and radicchio bread pudding with Gruyère cheese (recipe below from Good Eggs/Tartine Bakery). [2] Chestnut and applewood smoked bacon bread pudding (here’s the recipe from La Brea Bakery). [3] Broccoli, goat cheese and tomato bread pudding (here’s the recipe from the New York Times). [4] Individual spinach-shiitake bread puddings (here’s the recipe from Food & Wine).

     

    Bread pudding is a popular dessert—sweet, custardy, comfort food. It turns no-longer-fresh bread into something sublime.

    Leave out the sugar and you have a savory bread pudding, to be served as a side with dinner.

    In fact, bread pudding was originally a savory dish, served as a side with dinner (for the poor, it might have been the dinner).

    It remains a welcome side dish, but can also replace a frittata, strata or quiche at brunch.

    THE HISTORY OF BREAD PUDDING

    Bread pudding originated in the 11th or 12th century as a way to use stale bread.

    Pieces of bread were cut or torn, combined with other ingredients (cheese, onions, mushrooms and other vegetables, bits of meat), topped with custard and then baked until the top was set but the inside was soft and creamy.

    Bread pudding is closely related to the Italian dish, strata. The difference is that stratas are typically made with more eggs than cream, making them eggier and more breakfasty—kin to a frittata or a quiche rather than a custard.

    The same ingredients can be used with all. The differences are in the proportions; and a strata traditionally uses milk instead of cream.

    A soufflé dish or casserole makes the nicest presentation at the table, but you can make bread pudding in a baking pan. Another nice touch is individual servings, made in ramekins, custard cups or even muffin pans.

    If you don’t like mushrooms and radicchio, substitute the same quantity of ingredients you do like; or check out the recipes in the photos or the list below.

    TIP: Proteins—chicken, meats, shellfish, smoked fish—are delicious add-ins. Dice or shred leftovers and toss them in.

    RECIPE: MUSHROOM & RADICCHIO SAVORY BREAD PUDDING

    This recipe hails from San Francisco, courtesy of Tartine Bakery’s Chad Robertson and Good Eggs, the Bay Area’s premium grocery delivery service.

    You can assemble the dish a day ahead and refrigerator it, letting it come to room temperature before baking.

    Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time is 50 minutes. Bake the pudding an hour before you plan to serve it.

    Ingredients For 4-6 Brunch Servings

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine or stock
  • Olive oil
  • 2 pounds assorted mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps halved
  • 1 head treviso or other radicchio, leaves separated
  • 5 eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Pinch pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2/3 and ½ cup grated Gruyere, divided (substitute Cheddar, Jack or other semihard* cheese)
  • 3 ounces smoked ham, chopped
  • 2 slices day-old country bread, torn into large chunks
  •  
    ________________

    *Semihard cheese is a classification based on the weight and texture of the body (paste). They are not hard cheeses, like Aged Gouda, Mimolette or Parmesan, but yield easily to a knife. Examples include Colby, Comte, Edam, Gouda, Jarlsberg, Manchego, Queso Blanco and “Swiss.”

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. While the oven heats…

    2. MELT the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine evaporates—about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

    3. HEAT a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is smoking, arrange the mushrooms cut-side down in the pan and cook without stirring until they are seared and caramelized, about 1 minute more. Stir the mushrooms; add the radicchio and cook until it is wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste. Remove from the heat.

    4. MAKE the custard. Whisk the eggs and salt in a bowl until well blended. Add the cream, milk, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, 2/3 cup cheese and ham and whisk to combine.

    5. PLACE the bread chunks in an 8-inch soufflé dish and add the leeks, mushrooms, and radicchio. Pour in the custard all the way to the rim. Sprinkle evenly with the ½ cup cheese. Let stand for 8 to 10 minutes until the custard saturates the bread.

    6. BAKE until the custard is no longer runny in the center, about 50 minutes. Let the pudding rest for 15 minutes before serving.

    MORE SAVORY BREAD PUDDING RECIPES

  • Artichoke Bread Pudding
  • Butternut Squash Bread Pudding
  • Chestnuts & Applewood Smoked Bacon Bread Pudding
  • Cranberry, Pecan & Bacon Bread Pudding
  • Mushroom, Leek & Parmesan Bread Pudding
  • Portabella Bread Pudding
  • Savory Sausage and Cheddar Bread Pudding
  • Spinach Bread Pudding With Lemon & Feta
  • Spinach & Garlic Bread Pudding
  • Spinach-Shiitake Bread Pudding
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