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Archive for Breakfast

TIP OF THE DAY: Farinata, Chickpea Pancake Snacks

Like pizza but not the gluten? Try farinata.

Called by different names around the world, farinata is a thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe made of chickpea flour. Originating in Genoa, it become a popular food on the Ligurian coast, from Nice to Pisa.

It’s not like a conventional, airy European pancake. Without leavening, it’s dense, and enjoyed not for breakfast but as a snack food, served hot.

It is baked in bakeries and pizzerias on tinned copper pans the size of a large pizza pan. Triangular slices are sold and enjoyed as handheld snack, like a slice of pizza. They typically have a light seasoning or pepper and herbs. That’s tasty (think of plain foccaccia); but you Americanize yours with different toppings.

Farinata is made by stirring chickpea flour into a mixture of water and olive oil to form a loose batter. At bakeries and pizzerias, the batter is baked in a wood-burning oven in a tin-plated baking pan. In its simplest form, farinata is seasoned with fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.

You can make farinata in your kitchen oven with skillets, as noted in the recipe below. We didn’t try it with a pizza pan, but we may do that next.

Variations of chickpea pancakes are found the world over. Some examples sourced from Wikipedia:

  • Algeria: Karantita are garnished with cumin and harissa.
  • Argentina and Uruguay: Fainá is often eaten on top of pizza (known as a caballo, on horseback).

    Pine Nuts & Pepper Farinata

    Zucchini Farinata

    Top: with plenty of pepper, plus pine nuts and red onion at Vegan Lifestyle Associates. Bottom: Topped with zucchini and cut into wedges at In the U.S., chickpea flour (garbanzo flour) is sold in many supermarkets and natural food stores, as well as in Indian and Middle Eastern markets.

  • Genoa: The birthplace of farinata goes for fainâ co i gianchetti, farinata with whitebait. Alternative toppings are onions or artichokes. Fainâ is local dialect. A variation is panissa/paniscia, a thicker batter like polenta. When cut into strips and fried, it is called called panissette.
  • Gibraltar: The pancake is called calentita when baked and panissa when fried. Considered Gibraltar’s national dishes, they are typically eaten without toppings.
  • India: The name varies by region based on the local word for chickpea. The batter of chickpea flour and water is cooked on an oiled skillet. Cabbage, green chiles, onions are added, along with different and herbs and spices.
  • Nice: Socca is a specialty in southeastern France. It is topped generously with black pepper.
  • Sardinia: La fainé genovese reflects the island’s historical ties with Genoa.
  • Savona: This seaport town near Genoa prefeers farinata bianca (white farinata), made with wheat flour instead of chickpea flour.
  • Tuscany: Cecina (“made of chickpeas”) or torta di ceci (chickpea pie) is baked and served plain.
  • Pisa and Livorno: The pancake is stuffed into small focaccia or between two slices of bread (similar to the Argentinian “en caballo”).

    Pizza Oven Farinata

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/farinata puttanesca blossomNY 230sq

    Top: Farinata fresh from the pizza oven, from Bottom: Turned into a puttanesca “crepe” at Blossom Restaurant | NYC. We found it easier to eat with the filling on top!


    Here’s a recipe from Food and Wine for a lightly seasoned farinata. To turn the snack into lunch, top it like a mini pizza. We quickly steamed mushrooms, red onions and zucchini in the microwave with diced San Marzano tomatoes and baked it on top of the pancake, like pizza.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, passive time is 2 hours, baking time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

    1. POUR the water into a bowl. Whisk in the chickpea flour slowly, until you have a smooth batter. Let the batter stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 500°F. Skim any foam off the top of the batter. Stir in the salt, rosemary and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. (Note that using a different oil, such as canola, gives the pancake a notably different taste.)

    3. HEAT two 10-inch cast-iron skillets in the oven for 10 minutes. Carefully add 2 tablespoons of the oil to each skillet, swirling to coat. Divide the batter between the skillets; it should be less than 1/2 inch thick.

    4. BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp around the edges. Slide the farinata onto a board; cut into wedges. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.

  • Farinata With Sage, Olives & Onion
  • Sage Farinata With A Side Of Olives & Feta


    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Modern Oats Instant Oatmeal

    Two years ago we recommended Modern Oats, a packaging concept that places elegantly-flavored, gluten-free* oatmeal in stylish grab-and-go cups.

    All you have to do is add hot water to cover the oats in the coated paper cup. Put the lid back on, wait a few minutes and enjoy. No added sweetener, milk or microwave is required. The colorful designs give a boost to starting the day.

    Success has enabled the brand to expand the number of flavors to 10. The lineup now includes:

  • Apple Walnut
  • Chocolate Cherry
  • Coconut Almond
  • 5 Berry
  • 5 Berry No Sugar Added
  • Goji Berry
  • Just Oats
  • Mango Blackberry
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Vermont Maple

    Grab & Go Oatmeal

    Cheerful packaging adds to the enjoyment of these delicious flavored oatmeal cups. Photo courtesy Modern Oats.


    Suggested retail price is $3.50 per cup.


    Modern Oats Coconut Almond

    Coconut Almond, one of 10 flavors. Photo courtesy Modern Oats.



    The rolled oats in the containers are grown by family farmers in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They are minimally processed by steaming and flaking; you look into the carton and see what looks like “real oats,” instead of the small particles familiar to consumers of instant oatmeal.

    Not surprisingly, the oat flakes provide a textural differences that deliver a more solid bite (and, the company says, optimal absorption of nutrients).

    Modern Oats are produced in a 100% gluten free facility and are Certified Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Halal, Kosher, Vegan and 100% Whole Grain. (Whew: There’s no more room left on the carton for any more certifications).

    Bonus: Oats are the only major grain proven to help blood cholesterol†.


    If you can’t find the cups locally (here’s the store locator), buy them on the Modern Oats website.

    There’s a four-flavor gift-boxed set; an assortment of flavors makes a nice Easter gift for the nutritionally-focused.
    *To be certified gluten-free, they must be processed in a facility that does not also process grains with gluten. In the milling and processing process, oats are susceptible to cross-contamination; so not all oatmeal and other oat products are gluten free.

    †Eating three grams of soluble fiber from oats each day, as part of a diet that’s low in fat and cholesterol, has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. This may reduce the risk of heart disease.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Pasta For Breakfast


    Pasta For Breakfast

    Angel Hair With Fried Egg

    Top: Start with unsauced pasta (photo courtesy Middle: A breakfast version of Spaghetti Carbonara from Bottom: A fried egg tops pasta mixed with cherry tomatoes and chives, at


    Pasta for breakfast? Yes, although not cold or reheated with sauce.

    We’ve previously published recipes for gnocchi topped with a fried egg and breakfast pizza.

    But plain leftover pasta, unsauced, can be served up as breakfast with a fried or poached egg, plus any cooked veggies you have on hand: broccoli florets, mushrooms, peas, spinach or other leafy greens, for example. Got cherry or sundried tomatoes? Toss ‘em in.

    Our favorite leftover pasta for breakfast is angel hair pasta (capelli d’angelo) or other thin ribbon (capellini, spaghettini). If we’re cooking it for dinner, we make extra for breakfast or brunch. It will keep for a few days, if you don’t want to follow one pasta meal with another.

    You can also use standard linguine or spaghetti; and, while they don’t hold a fried egg as evenly, any cut of pasta from tubes (penne, rigatoni) to shapes: bow ties (farfalle), shells (conchiglie), wagon wheels (ruote) and so forth. (See the different types of pasta.)

    We adapted this recipe from, a blog by Susan Moran, who calls it “pure satisfying comfort food.” She enjoys it with her coffee.

    Don’t forget the toast!


    Ingredients For 2-4 Servings

  • 3 cups cooked pasta
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 4 slices cooked bacon (or substitute another 1/3 cup of ham, sausage or other breakfast meat)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Black pepper or red chili flakes to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley (substitute fresh basil or cilantro)
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional garnish: extra parsley and cheese

    1. REMOVE the pasta from the fridge and let it warm on the counter.

    2. COOK the bacon until crisp. Add the ham and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes, adding some olive oil if the bacon didn’t render enough fat to cook the garlic. If you’re using only ham, you’ll need about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

    3. COMBINE the Parmesan and eggs in a small bowl, with fresh-ground black pepper to taste.

    4. HEAT the pasta in the microwave at 30-second intervals until hot. Add the pasta and the egg mixture to the skillet and toss, along with the parsley.

    5. COOK until the eggs and cheese become a creamy sauce. If it is too thick, you can add some milk or cream. Taste and add salt as desired (or let each individual add his/her own salt to taste).



    TIP OF THE DAY: Cooked Grains At Breakfast

    Poached Egg With Whole Grains

    Eggs On Rice

    Baked Eggs In A Rice Nest

    Poached Egg Grain Bowl

    Top: Our most recent whole grain breakfast: poached egg, red rice, baby arugula, sautéed cherry tomatoes and mushrooms (photo courtesy InHarvest). Second: We’ve also eaten our poached egg with leftover white rice and veggies (photo courtesy Gardenia | NYC). Third: You can bake the egg atop the cooked grain instead of poaching it, as in this saffron rice nest (photo courtesy American Egg Board). Bottom: A poached egg with quinoa, broccoli rabe and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF).


    We’re not tooting our horn after all that Valentine candy, but we’re still holding on to our new year’s resolution to eat a healthy breakfast.

    We miss the bagels and cream cheese, the cheese danish, the cinnamon rolls, the weekend pancakes dripping with maple syrup. How long we’ll miss them we can’t predict, but so far, we’re still on the wagon*.

    Thank goodness, because it’s National Hot Breakfast Month, and we wouldn’t want to let a food holiday down.

    We recently featured a grain bowl for breakfast (bottom photo). We’ve been eating lots of them.

    We really enjoy the combination of grain, egg and veggies for breakfast; and we especially like the opportunity to use leftover grains and veggies in a most delicious way.

    All we need to do is poach the egg; although we’ve skirted that too, by using peeled, hard-boiled eggs that we pick up at Trader Joe’s. (Slice or halve them and heat them in the microwave for 10 seconds.)

    The recipe in the top photo was developed by Mike Holleman, a corporate chef with InHarvest Foodservice, a supplier of premium grains to restaurants and other food operations. He used red rice along with more familiar items.

    Just put together these ingredients, and hold off on Chef Mike’s creamy salad dressing in favor of a light toss with lemon or lime juice and olive oil:

  • Poached egg (or baked or other style if you can’t poach well—until you pick up an egg poacher or poaching pods)
  • Baby greens and other salad fixings
  • Optional: cooked veggies
  • Whole grain (see the list below)
  • Garnish: fresh herbs (substitute dried herbs)

    Most of us already eat grains for breakfast, in the form of cold cereal or porridge. Here are grains usually used as lunch and dinner sides, that can be part of your whole-grain breakfast.

    If you have leftover beans or lentils instead of whole grains, use them!

  • Amaranth
  • Barley (but not pearled barley)
  • Buckwheat (kasha)
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Chia/Salba®† ‡
  • Corn (whole grain corn or cornmeal, yellow or white—not grits†)
  • Farro (emmer wheat)
  • Flaxseed‡
  • Grano
  • Hemp‡
  • Kamut® (khorasan wheat)†
  • Millet
  • Oats (oatmeal, Whole or rolled oats)
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Rice: black, brown, red, wild
  • Rye (whole)
  • Spelt
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Triticale (a barley/wheat hybrid)
  • Whole wheat

    *The idiom “to be on the wagon” refers to heavy drinkers who are abstaining from alcohol. To fall off the wagon is to end one’s sobriety. The phrase evolved from an expression used in the early 20th-century American temperance movement, “to be on the water wagon” or the water cart, which meant that the person was sober, drinking water instead of alcohol. A horse-pulled water wagon or cart was used to hose down dusty roads. The phrase has evolved to encompass other addictions or compulsions. [Source]

    †Salba is a trademarked name for chia, Kamut® is a trademarked name for khorasan wheat. Grits are refined and are not whole grains.

    ‡These are whole grains that are used as seeds, due to their tiny size. Use them as a garnish, not as a base grain.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Chocolate Pancakes

    Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday this year, a day of the week when many of us have some extra time to make pancakes.

    What pancakes do you make for Valentine’s Day? Chocolate pancakes, of course! They can be the focus of breakfast or brunch, or served as dessert in smaller portions.

    Two recipes follow: All-Chocolate Pancakes and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes, which are regular pancakes packed with chocolate chunks.

    You can make either recipe with all-purpose flour, or use half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour for more nutrition and an added flavor element. But first:

    Not into chocolate? Make these Red Velvet Pancakes.

    People have been eating pancake-like foods for a very long time. According to Alan Davidson in the Oxford Companion to Food, the first mention of anything other than bread baked on a griddle is the oldest surviving cookbook, De Re Coquinaria (“On Cookery) by Apicius*.

    The book describes “cakes” made from a batter of eggs, milk, water and flour. They were fried and served with honey and pepper.

    Here’s more on the history of pancakes.


    This recipe was developed by Foodie Crush for

    Ingredients For 8-10 Pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Additional butter, for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving

    1. WHISK the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, mix the wet ingredients together until combined.

    2. ADD the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Set the mixture aside to rest for 10 minutes.


    Chocolate Pancakes

    Chocolate Pancakes

    Red Velvet Pancakes

    Top: Chocolate pancakes by Foodie Crush for Center: Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes made with a heart pancake mold, from The Baker Chick. Bottom: Don’t like chocolate? Make these Red Velvet Pancakes from Taste Of Home.

    3. PREHEAT a nonstick griddle to 325°F and cook the pancakes in batches. Keep them warm by placing a cooling rack atop a cookie sheet in a 250°F oven, until ready to serve.


    Ice Cream Pancakes

    Nutella Pancakes

    Dessert pancakes. Top: With ice cream or
    whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Photo
    by Robyn Mackenzie | Fotolia. Bottom: Add
    some Nutella. Photo by Dusan Zidar |



    The Baker Chick used heart-shape pancake molds for a special presentation.

    You can also use the molds to fry eggs, shape burgers, etc.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks or finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 4 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (more if you like)
  • Optional: pats of butter

    1. PREHEAT a griddle or skillet over medium-low heat.

    2. WHISK together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the oil, egg and buttermilk, and whisk together until thoroughly combined, adding a splash more buttermilk if the batter is too thick. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

    3. SPRAY or butter the skillet and pour in the batter. When bubbles form and pop in the batter, carefully flip each pancake, cooking until golden and baked through.

    4. MAKE the syrup: Mash the raspberries with a fork and blend with the syrup. Warm it to your liking.

    5. TOP the pancakes with butter and syrup and serve.


  • Have leftover pancakes? Reheat them by toasting them in a toaster oven. The outsides get nice and crispy. In our book, they’re even better than the original batch.
  • Pancake varieties: Check out the different types of pancakes.
  • Syrup: There are 14 different types of syrup—not flavors, but types. See them in our Glossary of Sugars, Syrups & Other Sweeteners.
  • Pancake mixes: Here are our favorite multigrain and whole grain pancake mixes.
    *“Apicius” is believed to be the pseudonym of one or several writers who authored the book. The manuscript of some 400 recipes is believed to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century C.E. Why the name Apicius? It had long been associated with gourmet preferences, named after Marcus Gavius Apicius, a wealthy Roman merchant and epicure who lived in the 1st century C.E. He is said to have once sailed all the way to Libya to eat some much-praised prawns, only to return home without having found any to his satisfaction. He hosted colossal banquets, which eventually drove him to bankruptcy…and suicide.



    TIP OF THE DAY: More Uses For Granola…& A Better For You Granola Recipe

    Yogurt Parfait

    Granola Salad Topping

    Spicy Thai Cole Slaw

    Granola Coated Chicken

    Granola Baked Apples

    Top: The original granola add-on: a yogurt parfait from Fruits From Chile. Second: Granola as a salad topping at Nuts About Granola. Third: Spicy Thai coleslaw with granola from Nuts About Granola (here’s the recipe). Fourth: Granola-coated chicken or fish, from (here’s the recipe). Bottom: Baked apples stuffed with granola from Reynolds Kitchen (here’s the recipe).


    Granola was originally devised by a doctor in 1863, as a spartan breakfast food. It was packed with fiber, intended to help people with digestive problems.

    Granola was reborn in the second half of the 20th century as a sweet breakfast creal, packed with dried fruit, refined sugars and fats. Most commercial brands of granola don’t qualify as a “healthy alternative” (just read the nutrition labels).

    Even when natural sugars are used—honey or maple syrup, for example—the calorie and carb count is just as high. Although natural sweeteners are theoretically “better” than refined sugars, the body metabolizes them exactly the same way*.

    Thus, today’s tip is to look for a granola that is low in sugars; or to make your own with agave or brown rice syrup, natural sweeteners with low glycemic indices.

    Then, try new uses for your granola: as a crouton substitute on salads, as a coating for chicken or fish fillets, etc. You’ll find ways to use it in every meal of the day, beyond the already-mainstay granola snack bars, cookies, muffins and yogurt parfaits.

    Be sure to try it with vegetables, from sweet potatoes to roasted carrots and other sweet veggies (beets, squash, sugar snap peas, rutabaga) but not corn: It’s overkill.

    Here’s a recipe for homemade, sugar-free granola, plus a way to use it to make crispy chicken breasts or fish fillets.


    Making your own granola lets you control the type and amount of sweetener and fat, while enabling you to add your favorite flavors: cinnamon, dark chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, vanilla, etc. You can make it organic, raw, whatever you like. Best of all, there is no “correct” recipe. Use whatever you like, in the proportions you like.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, bake time is 20 minutes.

  • 2 cups whole rolled (“old fashioned”) oats
  • ½ cup nuts, chopped or sliced
  • ¼ cup seeds (sunflower or pumpkin seeds, plus chia or flaxseed if you like them)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or brown rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, other healthy cooking oil or butter‡
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • Optional: ½ cup unsweetened dried blueberries, cranberries or other fruit†

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 300°F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix well and toss to thoroughly coat the ingredients with the sweetener and fat.

    2. SPREAD the granola in a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until lightly toasted. That’s it!

    3. COOL, then store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use it within 2 weeks.

    Instead of Corn Flakes, coat your chicken or fish fillets with granola. This recipe from Viki’s Granola uses crisp panko bread crumbs to cut the sweetness; but if you’ve made your own lightly-sweetened granola, you can lessen or eliminate the panko. You may also want to use a granola without added fruit†, although chopped nuts add some nice crunch.

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup granola (Viki’s uses its Honey Granola)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1-1/4 pounds chicken cutlets (substitute fish fillets)
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • Preparation

    1. PLACE the beaten eggs in a shallow dish. Pulse the panko and granola in a food processor and place in a separate shallow dish. Place the flour in a third dish.

    2. SEASON the cutlets with salt and pepper. Place 1/8 inch of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. While the oil heats…

    3. DIP the cutlets first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the panko, shaking off the excess with each addition. When the oil is hot, add the cutlets.

    4. COOK until the bottoms are golden brown, about 3 minutes; then flip and brown the other side. Transfer to a platter lined with a paper towel.
    *There are natural, low-glycemic sweeteners: agave, glycemic index (GI) is 32, half that of sugar; and brown rice syrup, GI of 20. Agave is 1.4 to 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and honey, so you don’t need to use as much. By comparison, the GI for honey is 58, pure maple syrup is 54 and refined sugar is 60-65.

    †You can keep your granola flexible by not adding dried fruit initially. It’s easy to mix it in when you want it.

    ‡Butter has recently been de-demonized as a bad fat. Margarine remains a demon.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Grain Bowl For Breakfast & Brunch

    Poached Egg Grain Bowl

    A new approach to breakfast: egg with grain
    and veggie. Photo and recipe courtesy Good
    | San Francisco.



    Traditional American breakfasts are echoes of the elaborate breakfasts of the English gentry, which fortified them for a day of sport. They’re much less elaborate today, but regular Brits can still enjoy a heaping plate of eggs, bacon, black and white sausage, beans, kidneys, kippers, mushrooms, potatoes and tomatoes, with a side of fried bread.

    In the late 19th century, the morning fare for wealthy Americans was similar: eggs with cutlets, ham, fried fish, deviled kidneys, black pudding (sausage), cold grouse or pheasant, fruit and pie. The less affluent made do with eggs or porridge.

    No wonder thousands of the well-to-do headed to spa-like sanitariums for rejuvenation. At one sanitarium, a physician named Caleb Jackson changed the way his clients breakfasted.

    In 1863, he developed a healthful, spartan, fiber-filled breakfast—the first cold breakfast cereal. Granula, as he called it, was an early version of Grape-Nuts, whose inventor, C.W. Post, first had it when a patient at another sanitarium.

    To make granula, baked sheets of graham flour dough were dried, broken into nuggets, baked again, and broken into smaller pieces. The resulting dense, chewy grain clusters had to be soaked overnight in milk before serving.

    Other spas followed suit; and as prepared, packaged foods became more common, granula paved the way for Bran Flakes (1915), All Bran (1916), Rice Krispies (1927) and Raisin Bran* (1942), eaten with milk and sugar. In 1951 the onslaught of heavily sugared cereals targeted to kids began, producing Corn Pops, Frosted Flakes, Honey Smacks and Cocoa Krispies. Here’s a detailed history of breakfast cereal.

    Around the world, there’s less of a distinction in foods served for breakfast versus other meals.

  • In China, there is a savory rice porridge called congee, but breakfast also can include dumplings, soup with rice and sweet items like fried sponge cake and steamed custard bun.
  • The traditional Japanese breakfast has rice, fish, miso soup, sticky soy beans and nori dried seaweed.
  • A common South Indian breakfast has vegetable stew served with steamed lentil and rice bread, and dosa, a thin crunchy crepe with spicy potato filling. [Source]

    Today’s tip is for a hybrid breakfast, combining breakfast eggs with dinner items: cooked grains and vegetables.

    This recipe was devised by Good Eggs in San Franciso, as a light dinner entrée: a poached egg with quinoa and broccoli rabe. They call it a grain bowl. But we make it for breakfast, to replace butter-fried or -scrambled eggs and hash browns (or bagels and cream cheese) with better-for-you chow.

    You can replace the poached egg with another style, the quinoa with other grains or legumes, and the broccoli rabe with your vegetable of choice.

    And you can serve it at breakfast, brunch, even for lunch.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, total time is 20 minutes.


    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe, stems cut off (substitute spinach)
  • 2 pinches chile flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste†
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa or other whole grain
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), melted‡
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons dill or other fresh herbs (basil, chervil, mint, roughly chopped
  • Garnish: flake salt, a pinch of chile flakes
  • _______________________________________
    *We substituted chopped pistachio nuts, untoasted. You can substitute other nuts or seeds.

    †If you plan to garnish with flake salt, under-salt the rabe and quinoa.

    ‡We didn’t have time to clarify, so used melted butter.



    1. TOAST the pine nuts: Heat a pan over medium heat and add the pine nuts. Toast for 3-5 minutes, tossing them in the pan occasionally to ensure an even color. Remove when they’re golden brown and transfer to a bowl.

    2. RETURN the pan to the stove, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and turn the heat to high. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes. As soon as the garlic starts to turn golden brown, turn the heat down to medium and add the broccoli rabe and a pinch or two of chile flakes.

    3. TOSS the rabe in the oil and garlic using tongs, and sauté together for 5-7 minutes. Add a pinch or two of salt and taste. You want the leaves to be tender and the flavor to be a bit bitter, but delicious. If the rabe still has too much kick for your taste, cook for a few minutes longer. When the rabe is done, remove from heat and set aside. While the broccoli cooks…

    4. SEASON the quinoa. Add the ghee and herbs to the quinoa and stir thoroughly. Finish with a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper to taste.

    5. COOK the eggs. You may have your own way of poaching eggs (we use an egg poacher; the result is less pretty but it’s a lot easier). Otherwise, here’s a technique from Good Eggs.

  • Fill a wide and deep pan about ¾ of the way with water. Put it over high heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. Crack the first egg into a metal ladle and submerge it in the water while holding the handle of the ladle upright. Poach the egg in the ladle for about 5 minutes (more or less depending on your yolk consistency preference.
  • To check on progress, lift the ladle to just above the water level and tip it gently to pour out excess water. Gently touch the yolk with the tip of your finger to get a sense of how runny it will be. When the egg is poached, gently transfer it to a slotted spoon and slide the egg onto a paper towel. Repeat with the second egg.
  • 6. ASSEMBLE: Spoon the quinoa into the bottom of a bowl, then the broccoli rabe, then the egg. Finish with some flake salt, a pinch of chile, fresh herbs and nuts.


  • Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables, which includes bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens and turnips, among other veggies. It has thick stalks and large, dense florets. It grows with large outer leaves, which are usually stripped away prior to hitting store shelves. However, they are edible and delicious.
  • Broccolini, which has long, slender stalks and small, less dense florettes, is hybrid developed in California by crossing conventional broccoli with Chinese kale. Unlike broccoli and broccoli rabe, it doesn not have leaves.

    Head Of Broccoli


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/broccolini 230

    Top: Broccoli, with thick, shorter stalks and large florets. Photo courtesy Burpee. Middle: Broccoli rabe, which has long stems, small florets and elegant leaves, can look like a bouquet. Photo courtesy Conscious Life Force. Bottom: Broccolini has long stems but no leaves. Photo courtesy


  • Broccoli rabe or rapini (pronounced robb and sometimes spelled raab) is popular in Southern Italy, where it is often served with pasta or polenta. It looks like a very leafy broccolini but is actually a member of the turnip genus. It is more bitter than broccoli and broccolini.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Overnight Oats

    Overnight oats are trending. According to Pinterest, there were 5 million overnight oats pins in 2015, a whopping 211% increase over 2014.

    If your goal is to eat a better breakfast and more whole grains, here’s how it can be ready for you to eat each morning.

    Overnight oats are a way of preparing oatmeal by soaking the oats overnight, instead of cooking them. Raw oats are soaked overnight in your choice of liquid: drinkable yogurt or kefir, milk or nondairy milk (almond milk is splendid), water, yogurt/water mix, whatever.

    The soaking turns oatmeal into a cold breakfast cereal, although you can certainly heat it.

    You can use rolled oats, steel cut oats, even instant oatmeal; although given that the latter is ready in a minute in the microwave, we’d focus on the first two.

    The mixture sits in a lidded jar oats overnight (or for at least 6 hours) as the oats absorb the liquid. When it’s time for breakfast the next morning, the oats are plumped up, soft and ready to eat, cold or heated, plain or with the toppings of your choice.


    Overnight Oats

    One of our favorites: strawberry overnight oats. Here’s the recipe from A Pumpkin And A Princess.

    You can eat the oats at home or grab the jar on your way out the door. It’s that easy!

    Add Your Own Touches

    You can customize the flavors with your favorite ingredients, by adding anything from nut butter to fruit purée to the jar. For example:

  • Apple Cinnamon overnight oats, add 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce plus 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Banana French Toast overnight oats, add ½ mashed banana ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon vanilla extra and 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
  • Almond Joy overnight oats, with coconut, chocolate chips and almonds.
  • Just About Anything Sweet. We’ve seen recipes for Brownie, Carrot Cake, Cinnamon Roll, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Mocha, Moose Tracks, Peanut Butter Cup, Peanut Butter & Jelly…and on and on. If it gets the kids to eat their oatmeal, go for it!
    Don’t like sweet? Experiment with savory recipes, from caraway seeds to red chili flakes.


    Plenti Oatmeal & Greek Yogurt

    Yoplait Plenti: Apple Cinnamon is one of six
    flavors with “overnight oats” in Greek yogurt.
    Photo courtesy General Mills.



    There is no right or wrong ingredient or proportion: It’s how you like your oats. Here’s a guide for your first batch; you take it from here.

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup liquid, or 1/2 cup each water and yogurt
  • Optional: peanut butter or other “custom ingredient,” e.g.
    1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon flaxseed meal or protein powder
  • Optional flavoring: cinnamon, cocoa, coffee, vanilla extract
  • Sweetener: agave, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, noncaloric sweetener, etc.
  • Toppings of choice: dried or fresh fruit, nuts and/or seeds, granola or other crunchy dry cereal
  • Lidded jar or other container

    1. MIX the oats and liquid in the jar with the optional peanut butter. Tamp down with a rubber spatula or a spoon so that all the oats get moistened.

    2. PLACE the jar in the refrigerator overnight. It’s ready to eat in the morning. If using peanut butter or other nut butter…

    3. BLEND the peanut butter briefly before refrigerating, just enough so that you’ll have swirls of it the next day. (We whisked it briefly.) When you’re ready to eat…

    4. ADD the sweetener, microwave if desired, and add your toppings of choice.

    Yoplait Plenti has applied the concept of overnight oats to its yogurt cups, combining oats with Greek yogurt. There are 11 grams of protein and 16 grams of whole grain in every cup.

    The six flavors include Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Maple Brown Sugar, Peach, Strawberry and Vanilla.

    It’s a brand-new product, so if your grocer doesn’t have it yet, ask or keep checking.

    Learn more at



    TIP OF THE DAY: Quick Microwaved Mug-Scrambled Eggs

    Mug Scrambled Eggs

    Mug-scrambled eggs, ready in less than three minutes. Photo courtesy American
    Egg Board.


    You should start the day off with a protein-based breakfast. Many of us don’t, opting for toast, a bagel or a bowl of Corn Flakes. Yet, you can have a better-for-you breakfast of scrambled eggs, without turning on the stove.

    For a quick and easy breakfast in less than 3 minutes, try this microwave egg scramble from the American Egg Board,

    Just toss the ingredients into a mug! Prep time is 1 minute, cook time is 2 minutes. You can even prepare the mixture the night before, cutting your morning time to

    To blend the ingredients, you’ll need a mini whisk or an Aerolatte or other milk frother. However, in a pinch, a fork will do.


    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Optional: minced fresh or dried herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnishes: 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
    or salsa
  • Preparation

    1. COAT a 12-ounce, microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray. Add the eggs, milk, herbs and salt and pepper to taste; beat or whisk until blended.

    2. MICROWAVE on HIGH 45 seconds; stir. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer. Note: Microwave ovens vary. Cooking times may need to be adjusted.

    3. TOP with cheese and/or salsa; season with salt and pepper.



    TIP OF THE DAY: A Delicious Vegetable Mix At Breakfast (Ratatouille)

    Fried Egg Ratatouille


    You can dice your ratatouille fine or chunky.
    A fine dice is a better base for the egg,
    crostini, etc.; a larger dice is better as a side
    dish. Top photo courtesy Elegant Affairs
    Caterers. Bottom photo courtesy


    Nutritionists expend lots of effort to get their clients to achieve nutrition goals. Americans are major under-consumers of vegetables.

    There are numerous ways to add good vegetables into every meal (fried onion rings don’t count!) You don’t have to twist our arm to adopt this one: ratatouille at breakfast.


    Ratatouille (rah-tah-TOO-ee) is a vegetable side dish that originated in the Provence region of France. The classic recipe consists of sautéed eggplant, onions, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini plus garlic and herbs.

    Sometimes, each vegetable is sautéed separately, then layered into a baking dish and baked. Modern recipes make it easier: We fully sauté groups of vegetables with similar densities, combine them and don’t bake them. can customize the dish as you like—for example, with bell peppers, celery, fennel, olives, onions and yellow squash.

    There are similar dishes in other Mediterranean countries, including tourlou or briami in Greek cuisine, türlü in Turkish cuisine, samfaina in Catalonia and in ciambotta in southern Italy.


    We misplaced our nana’s ratatouille recipe card; but the recipe below, adapted from, looks almost identical.

    Ratatouille is delightfully colorful when you use red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers and tomatoes/cherry tomatoes.

    Regarding the tomatoes: Ratatouille has traditionally been a summer dish, when tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash are plentiful. While you can find decent squash in the off season, imported tomatoes can be both pricey and lacking in flavor. You can substitute cherry, grape or sundried tomatoes; or use diced canned San Marzano tomatoes. Canned tomatoes don’t need to be sautéed; just drain them and add them to the final heating.

    TIP: Don’t throw away the liquid you drain off. You can freeze it into ice cubes for Bloody Marys, or add a bit of gin, tequila or vodka for a mini cocktail treat.

    We make double recipes and microwave the ratatouille (or other sautéed vegetables) from the fridge while the eggs are cooking.


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onions diced (about 1.5 large onions)
  • 1 6 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
  • 3 cups bell peppers (1 each, red, yellow, green), diced
  • 8 cups zucchini and yellow squash, large diced
  • 6 cups eggplant (about 1.5 lbs), diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped and seeded as necessary
  • 3 6 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, basil, thyme)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ground coriander fennel seeds
  • Optional garnish: capers or caperberries (the difference*)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. HEAT 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet†, over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

    2. RETURN the pan to the heat and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add them to the onions and bell peppers.

    3. Return the pan to the heat and add the final 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the eggplant and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of water; the eggplant will absorb all the oil very quickly and the water will help it cook before it burns. When the water is absorbed and the eggplant begins to soften (about 5 more minutes), add the chopped tomatoes to the eggplant.

    4. COOK the tomatoes until they start to break down and the eggplant is soft, but not mushy. Add the rest of the vegetables back into the pan, folding it all together with a large spoon.

    5. Cook for another 5 minutes and add the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Don’t overcook; you want the flavors to remain fresh and distinct. Plus, if you plan to reheat the ratatouille at a later time, it will cook more then.
    *Capers are the flower bud of the caper bush, Capparis spinosa. Caperberries are the fruit with seeds inside. Both are brined and thus contribute saltiness as well as flavor to dishes. They are members of the same botanical order as cruciferous vegetables, Brassicales, but a different family.

    †While the pans can usually be used interchangeably, a skillet or frying pan has slanted sides and a sauté pan has straight sides. A skillet has a larger bottom surface area, and its straight sides are better for making an omelet or frittata—even though you may see slope-sided pans marketed as “omelet pans.”



  • Serve with a poached or soft-boiled egg instead of a fried egg.
  • Mix the vegetables into an omelet or scrambled eggs.
  • Add with cooked eggs to a breakfast burrito or pita breakfast sandwich.
  • Combine eggs and toast: Make ratatouille crostini (toast topped with ratatouille topped with the egg).

    Serve any of the following, and don’t hesitate to mix them together.

  • Any leafy green vegetable(s), such as kale, spinach and/or watercress.
  • Shredded Brussels sprouts.
  • Sautéed cherry or grape tomatoes, halved.
  • Cauliflower steak.
  • Sautéed mushrooms.
  • Sweet potato or purple potato hash with beets and leeks (or default to white potatoes).

    Ratatouille is a side dish that’s great with grilled fish or seafood on Meatless Monday, or as a side anytime with grilled or roasted beef, chicken, lamb or pork. But you can also:

  • Us it as a topping for pancakes or waffles—savory instead of sweet.
  • Serve it as a vegan main course with a whole grain, couscous‡, polenta, beans or legumes.
  • Use it to top bruschetta, crostini (the difference) or flatbread.
  • Use it instead of tomato sauce, chunky or puréed, on pasta, grains and other dishes.
  • Use as a topping for burgers, grilled cheese and other sandwiches.
  • Use the purée as a base for vegetable soup (add broth to desired consistency.

    Fried Egg On Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

    Fried Eggs On Toast

    Top photo: Go cruciferous: Place your egg atop sautéed Brussels sprouts, collards or mustard greens. At Olio e Piú | NYC, the Brussels sprouts are mixed with radicchio. Bottom photo: Combine the toast and eggs into ratatouille crostini, or as shown above, with asparagus in season. Photo courtesy Urban Accents.

    We’re off to make breakfast: ratatouille and fried eggs (no surprise).
    ‡You can find whole grain couscous; but most supermarket products are not whole grain.



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