Friday, May 28, 2010

Loose ends

There were a few things I was exploring for May's breakfast theme that I didn't get around to sharing. So this is a post full of links, just to tie up those loose ends.

I really liked the idea of having breakfast ready when I wake up instead of trying to cram cooking into a busy morning routine.  Stephanie O'Dea cooked every meal for her family in the crockpot for an entire year, and I was inspired by the creative uses she found for this oft-overlooked appliance. It got me thinking about a "set-it-and-forget-it" breakfast using the crock pot. Here are some ideas I found:

Crock Pot Grits
Crock Pot Hashbrown Casserole
Crock Pot Steel-Cut Oats

I also tried a recipe for "Overnight Steel-Cut Oats" with  fair results. I followed the directions as stated, but found that I had to cook it down a lot to get the oats to the consistency of my liking, resulting in about 30 minutes work in the morning -- hardly get-up-and-go timing.

One of my co-workers brought in a sandwich made with Baked Eggs. (There are a lot of variations out there. All you have to do is google.) She made a bunch at once in a muffin tin and heated it up in the microwave when she was ready to eat. Just add whole wheat english muffins and some cheddar. (Mmmmm...) When we tried this, I used some canadian bacon to make a sort of "cup" for the eggs to bake in. Delicious!

Did you find any new favorites for breakfast this month? Let us in on your secret!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Don't be a hater

I used to hate bananas. Until quite recently, actually.

I still don't know what changed my mind about them, but lately I crave them. With chocolate. (And while we're on the subject I'll just say this: Chocolate Cheerios + a sliced banana = A great way to start your day. YUM!)

So here's the perfect banana breakfast; low fat, whole grain, portable. The loaves pictured below were cooked in mini loaf pans. You can make regular-sized loaves or muffins (or mini loaves, if you have them), whatever floats your boat. (Your banana boat... See what I did there?)

(Chocolate Chip) Banana Bread

6 ripe bananas, mashed
1 c. plain yogurt
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine bananas, yogurt and brown sugar. Stir in eggs.
In a separate bowl, combine salt, baking soda and flours. 
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix by hand until just combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
Divide between two greased loaf pans, filled about 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
If you prefer muffins, divide batter among muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes.

**Since chocolate chips have a tendency to sink to the bottom of the batter, toss them with one or two Tbsp. flour until lightly coated before adding to batter. This will help them stay aloft!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to flip an omelet

I won't lie to you. I do not know my way around an omelet all that well.

Sad, isn't it?

When Rachel asked me for tips on flipping an omelet last week I felt like a fraud. My omelets always come out a little funky. But do you know who isn't a fraud in the least?

Julia Child.

Or how about good old Alton Brown?

Hopefully now we are all armed to build a better omelet. I plan to try myself next week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Oh, and one more thing:

If your omelet doesn't turn out, just forget the flipping and make it a frittata! Sometimes the difference between a success and a disaster is all in how you label things. ;)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A true story

We seriously love pancakes at my house.


My friend, Coral, does not. Seriously.

Every once in a while, though, she will find a recipe for pancakes that she likes, like the oatmeal pancakes I am about to share with you. She clipped it from a magazine (I never knew which one).

The first time I made these, I could tell right away that something was amiss, as it were. My first pancake didn't puff or bubble up the way a good little pancake should. I was flummoxed. (I mean, I know that the first pancake isn't always perfect, but this was very disappointing.) I checked the recipe. Had I added everything it listed? Yes. Then I double-checked the recipe, and it dawned on me that I didn't remember putting any leavening in the batter -- no baking soda, no baking powder -- and the recipe didn't call for any.

The moral of this story is to write down the recipe correctly.

A phone call to Coral to verify set me straight, and I felt a little silly, but not nearly as silly as the next {Ahem...}five to ten times I made it when I forgot to write the leavening on the recipe card and made it wrong again. (And again... And again...) Each time having to add the baking powder after the fact.

(The other moral of this story is to be smarter than I am...)

Despite our rocky start, these have really become a staple at our house. The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I like wheat. These are hearty and wholesome, but not heavy. I particularly love them with a hearty smear of butter and a healthy dab of applesauce, but they're fantastic with syrup, too. Give them a try! (Just don't forget the baking powder.)

Here they are with applesauce. Yum!

Oatmeal Pancakes

2 c. milk
1 1/3 c. quick oats
1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
4 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
more milk, as desired

In a small saucepan, heat milk until hot to the touch. (But don't let it boil.) Remove from heat and stir in oats. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients, along with milk and oatmeal mixture. Mix until just combined, adding more milk if you like a thinner batter (which I do). The batter will be lumpy. (Mostly because there is oatmeal in it, and oatmeal is lumpy. See how that works?)

Cook on a lightly greased griddle, about 1/4 cup at a time. Serve with butter (of course) and applesauce or syrup.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The most important meal of the day

The Kitchn recently did a series I really enjoyed. They posted about breakfast one week, lunch the next, and so on through dinner and dessert.

I don't feel like I would cover much ground if I only did a week for each one, so I'm going to do a month: May will be breakfast month here at prettykitten.

So let it be written. (check!) So let it be done. (double check!)

If you have requests, don't be shy!