January 9th, 2013 :: :: permalink
Every Sunday, Dustin will make a breakfast creation. He takes this role very seriously. Even though New Years Day was technically on a Tuesday this year, it felt like a Sunday to us so he wanted to cook again. This breakfast was especially important because it was our first meal of the new year. Dustin measured each ingredient to a tee.
The first time he made a dutch baby for me (odd statement, I know), I thought it looked very peculiar. It was monstrously huge and a bit eggy, not the usual sweet American breakfast I knew. This recipe has a little more sweetness to it, which I like.
The ingredient list is very simple: Flour, salt, vanilla bean (or liquid vanilla), sugar, eggs, butter and milk. Dustin halved the recipe above for our small serving for two people.
The cast iron has to be preheated for at least 15 minutes, preferably 30 or so. Deviating from the directions slightly, Dustin dropped room temperature butter into the pan while the batter was mixing in the food processor, a few minutes before pouring the batter into the pan. The butter will definitely burn if you add it to the pan too soon. Just be sure it’s not still cold when you do so, or you’ll cool the pan unnecessarily.
Carefully pour the batter into your preheated cast iron and quickly transfer it to the oven. Better yet, try to pour the batter with the pan still in the oven so the pan doesn’t cool as much. I threw in a few raspberries at the last minute, mostly as an experiment to see what would happen. The pastry quickly starts to grow, so the pan you choose should leave a little room for this. When Dustin poured the batter, it was a bit more than 1/4 inch deep across the bottom of the pan.
He opted to top our dutch baby with a easy to make raspberry sauce. He heated apple cider, cornstarch, sugar, raspberries and cold water together in a pan. You can also use orange juice in place of apple cider. We just had some cider left over from the Christmas holiday. Here’s a link to the full recipe.
After 4-5 minutes of simmering, the raspberries quickly break down. After letting the sauce cool, Dustin transferred it to the food processor, where he pureed it for about 20 seconds and then strained the puree to remove the seeds.
Raspberry sauce, homemade whipping cream, and a squirt of lemon (which is the traditional topping for dutch babies). A sprinkle of powdered sugar was a beautiful final touch.
We stayed happy and warm indoors on New Years morning and drank Earl Grey with our sweet pastry. It was a good start to the year.
Our dutch baby was based on a recipe from Alton Brown.
March 1st, 2012 :: :: permalink
I woke up bright and early at 6am, on a Saturday of all days. Instead of tossing and turning for two more hours, I got in full Type A mode. I originally wanted to make a simple omelet, but like anything I do, it evolved.
I started by scavenging through the fridge for any left behind morsels. It was definitely time to make my way to the grocery store. Luckily I had garlic and green peppers, which are my go-to veggies for just about any dish. I also found a bit of spinach, one Thai chili, tomatoes, and sliced roast beef. I would usually prefer Chorizo sausage over sliced sandwich meat for what I had in mind, but I had heard sandwich meat was tasty as well, so I went with it. And so began my early morning baked egg experiment (haha… “eggsperiment”).
I sauteed my veggies and roast beef with some salt and pepper in an oven safe pan, until the veggies were golden brown. At the same time, I preheated the oven to 350°. Cooking usually helps to wake Dustin up on weekend mornings, so I thought the smell of something in the oven would be especially tempting. In the same pan, I cracked four eggs on top of the sauteed veggies and roast beef, then put everything in the oven. It took about 30 minutes to bake before the top just started to brown.
This is probably one of the heartiest but easiest breakfasts I’ve made lately. Its flexibility makes it particularly great. All you need are eggs, salt and pepper, and what ever else happens to be in your fridge. I served it with a side of buttered toast and a hot cocoa. The house smelled lovely all morning and I got “awesome girlfriend” compliments at the same time.
February 8th, 2012 :: :: permalink
Out of all the meals in the day, breakfast is possibly my favorite, though dessert at any meal is pretty high up there too. When we go out for breakfast, Dustin often gets an eggs benedict with either crab or salmon. I have fewer options. I’ve been a vegetarian off and on for 10 years and have slowly found ways to add protein to my diet without using faux meat, which is a good transitional product, but can have a lengthy ingredient list.
We decided to cook everything from scratch for this one, even the muffin. If you want to save some time, buying muffins from the store will of course work too. Dustin is more of a planner than I am and likes to set all his ingredients out before we start cooking. I’m more of a spontaneous cook, but it does save time to organize all of one’s supplies. After getting some yeast started, flour, bread flour, salt and milk went into the food processor. After a few minutes in there, the dough stuck together as planned. So much easier than doing it by hand. I’ve tried.
Following a couple of rises, I cheated a little and used a cookie cutter to make semi-perfect circles. The dough continued to expand while I waited for my cast iron skillet to warm up. After several minutes on each side in the skillet, the muffins turned golden brown. I know it’s not polite to gloat but these were so much better than the muffins you get from the store! We ate the first one without any toppings while it was still warm from the stove.
Dustin poached the eggs for his benedict in lightly boiling water with a splash of vinegar. I’ve always been a little grossed out by eggs, but it was cool to watch them cook this way. It was super easy too. After watching the movie, “Julie & Julia“, I thought it would be more difficult.
Switching to my vegetarian option, I used my cookie cutter again to cut out my tempeh patties and to mold my egg whites into a circle while they were frying in their pan. Most people are not aware of tempeh unless they’ve been a vegetarian for a long period of time. It comes from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and, unlike tofu, it is very firm. A huge plus is it has a lot of protein and calcium and is low in fat and cholesterol. For my own peace of mind, I look for non-GMO tempeh and organic veggies to avoid any potential issues that have been raised lately regarding GMO products.
I loved the way both dishes came together. It was interesting to compare the presentation of the casual benedict to the perfect stack of bread, egg, and tempeh in the sandwich. Both indeed have their place of course, so we’re hoping to experiment like this some more in the future.
In the end, everything came together and photographed well. Maybe too well…I was too hungry to experiment with angles and lighting when it came time to shoot the final photos. Deeelish.
I topped my vegetarian muffin with a pan seared tempeh patty, salt, pepper, tomatoes, egg whites, and micro greens. I drizzled balsamic vinegar and olive oil on top. The eggs benedict was a muffin topped with wild salmon (supposedly caught the day prior), salt, pepper, sauteed garlic, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Dustin said he will use a blender instead of a mixer for the hollandaise next time as he felt it was under-whipped and separated too easily. I think there is a lot of room in both of these recipes to experiment with different flavors and taste. We just added what we like. Dustin thought dill might be a nice addition to the salmon benedict. I’m thinking Thai chilis and/or avocado might be a nice addition to the sandwich.
See full recipe.
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January 1st, 2012 :: :: permalink
Breakfast is definitely Dustin’s strong suit. He’s made the usual pancakes, crepes, and an odd looking, but tasty Dutch Baby. Out of all of his breakfast creations I’ve most enjoyed his infatuation with making the perfect waffle. He says he is getting closer and closer. Lately he has been experimenting with a recipe for a specific type of Belgian waffle he read about on a few blogs. We usually make a large quantity of these on a Saturday or Sunday and they come in handy during the week when we are crunched for time. All we have to do is toast them and they are sweet enough to eat without a topping. On weekends I go a little crazy and top mine with powdered sugar, syrup, and homemade whipped cream.
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