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Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast’

Stale baguettes and long Italian loaves always provide a welcome excuse to make savory Italian bread puddings or stratas.  I consider them to be the ideal make-ahead breakfast or brunch recipe stuffed full of garden-fresh vegetables and savory meats and cheeses.  With the summer planting season in full swing, this recipe celebrates summer’s bountiful tomato plants.  Sandwiched in layers with buttery avocado, earthy thyme and rosemary, garlic-rubbed bread, and salty (albeit scant) cheese, we’ve redesigned the savory strata in the style of a lasagne.  It is a striking and healthful start to any day. 

Savory Tomato Avocado Bread Pudding Stacks, from Rice Kernel’s kitchen

Ingredients

1/2 pound stale bread, sliced about 1/2 inch thick (white or whole grain)
1 large garlic clove, cut in half, green shoots removed
1/3 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pound firm, ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 avocado, sliced thinly
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp basil, chopped
2 large eggs + 4 egg whites (or 4 eggs – but we try to limit cholesterol)
1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups low-fat milk (I use 1%)

Optional: vegetables of your choosing (e.g. sauteed mushrooms, swiss chard, spinach, or zucchini), nuts (pine nuts or cooked chestnuts are delicious), and meats (sausages, prosciutto)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray (or grease with butter or oil) a two-quart baking dish or gratin.  If the bread is soft, toast it lightly and rub all the slices, front and back, with the cut clove of garlic.  (If it’s hard and stale, just rub with garlic.)  Mince what garlic remains.  Combine the two cheeses in a small bowl.
  2. Layer half of the bread slices in the baking dish.  Top with half of the tomato slices and half the avocado slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then with half the thyme and rosemary and half the remaining garlic.  Top with half the cheese.  Repeat the layers.
  3. Beat together the eggs and milk.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to your taste, then pour over the bread and tomato layers. 
  4. Place in the oven, and bake 35 to 45 minutes until puffed and browned.  Remove from the oven, and serve hot or warm with a side garden or fruit salad.

Advance preparation: This can be assembled through step 2 a few hours before beating together the eggs and milk and completing the casserole.

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Killer B’s.  I’m neither referring to Rice Kernel’s fear of bumble bees nor the former members of the Houston Astros.  I’m trying to teach Rice Kernel that the former are our friends in the garden.  With respect to the latter, I grew up in a baseball-loving family so three “B’s” naturally connote one thing in my mind.  But I’m rambling about pointless things.  And there are important matters to discuss, like this sinlessly moist bread.  This is the recipe for which I patiently wait for bananas to turn brown.  Fluffy with a melt-in-your-mouth crumb (even with whole wheat and teff flours), it is hard to stop at one slice.  And you don’t have to with its nutritional stats.  Chances are high that if you came to visit me, I’d have a pre-sliced loaf in the freezer waiting to be warmed up.  Deserving of some cream cheese frosting or, my preference, crunchy peanut butter, it is guiltlessly delightful paired with a glass of milk or a cup of tea any time of day. 

Buttermilk Banana Bread, adapted from Anja’s Food 4 Thought

Ingredients

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used low-fat)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp canola oil
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1 egg (or 1 tbsp flax seed meal + 3 tbsp water; sit for 2 minutes)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I like to use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 teff flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup walnuts, pecans, raisins, chocolate chips, banana chips (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting

5 tbsp cream cheese 
4 tbsp agave nectar
Nuts or banana chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg.  Add agave, buttermilk, vanilla extract and canola oil and mix well.  Stir in mashed bananas.
  3. In a big bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. 
  4. Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in optional nuts or other mix-in.
  5. Pour batter into prepared loaf.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.
  6. When cool, combine cream cheese and agave nectar in a small bowl.  Frost with a thin layer and top with optional nuts or banana chips.

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Golden, tender, and coconut-packed with just a hint of sweetness, these are decadent and delicious.   And much healthier than a similar-tasting coconut macaroon (which I was dreaming about while I was flipping these).  Made with gluten-free coconut flour, these pancakes are high in fiber and packed with protein.  If you haven’t used coconut flour it is an absorbent flour with tremendous thickening power, so you’ll use much less of it than you would all-purpose or whole wheat flour.  Why, you ask?  Good-for-you fiber.  And we can all use more fiber, right?

Well, if you don’t need more fiber, I’ve also included a coconut pancake recipe sans coconut flour.  One of the most tender pancake recipes I’ve come across, these have an intoxicating coconut essence.  And I used light coconut milk.  I can only imagine how dessert-worthy these would be with luscious, coat-the-back-of-your-wooden-spoon, full-fat coconut milk.  Too sinful.

Note:  The pancake batter can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.  

 Coconut Flour Macaroon Pancakes, from Nourishing Days

Ingredients

4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk (regular, soy or coconut milk all work)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
Coconut oil, canola oil, or butter for frying

Directions

  1. Preheat griddle over medium-low heat. In a small bowl beat eggs until frothy, about two minutes. Mix in milk, vanilla, and honey or stevia.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt and whisk together.  Stir wet mixture into dry until coconut flour is incorporated.  Add shredded coconut.
  3. Grease pan with butter or oil.  Turn head to medium or medium-high.  Ladle a few tablespoons of batter into pan for each pancake.  Spread out slightly with the back of a spoon. The pancakes should be 2-3 inches in diameter and fairly thick.  Cook for a few minutes on each side, until the tops dry out slightly and the bottoms start to brown.  Flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with your choice of toppings.

Coconut Pancakes, adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour or a mix)
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup light coconut milk (regular coconut milk would be more decadent)
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1 egg
1/4 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. Whisk together coconut milk, canola oil, and egg.  Combine with dry ingredients.  Cook as usual for pancakes – except that these brown faster than typical pancakes. 

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Savory French Toast

For my husband, sugar and cinnamon aren’t the desired breakfast flavors.  His palette favors savory and salty.  Not one to cook up breakfast sausage, bacon, or ham with regularity, I turned to the pantry and decided a vegetarian, savory french toast would be a good change of pace.  This is a simple “template” recipe – vary the spices, cheese, and toppings to your liking.  Today, we dipped slices of whole wheat baguette into a buttermilk-egg mixture seasoned simply with herbs de Provence and topped with mozarella cheese, avocado, and tomato.  The more adventurous tastebuds might enjoy a spicy wake-up with curry or Tabasco mixed in the eggs.

Savory French Toast, from Rice Kernel’s kitchen

Ingredients

2 thick slices day-old bread
1/4 cup milk, buttermilk, or sour cream
1 egg + 1 egg white
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp herbes de Provence
Cheese, avocado, tomato for topping

Directions

  1. Soak the bread in the milk on both sides to soften, about 5 minutes per side, depending on how hard the bread is. (If it is softer, it may need less time.
  2. Beat the egg with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence in a flat or shallow dish.
  3. Over medium high heat, add oil.  Pull the bread from the milk and turn it around in the egg mixture to coat.
  4. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.  Add cheese to melt in the last minute. 
  5. Serve warm, topped with avocado and tomato.  Tomato jam would also be delicious.  And, for my husband and son, I imagine ketchup (my despised condiment – sorry) would be perfect. 

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Little pillows of buttery, fluffy decadence.  Those are the thoughts the humble scone evokes in my mind.  I bought them often in my post-college days, while I was working as a paralegal.  They were the perfect afternoon teatime treat.  By myself, of course.  And the stacks of depositions and boxes of transcripts surrounding me.  I must have been thinking about the scones and not the work when I decided to go to law school. 

Sadly, I rarely bake scones at home.  There’s nothing rainbow diet about them.  And while I’m all about a splurge here and there, the others in my family would rather splurge on something else.  Then I came across these gluten-free scones.  Made with almond flour, they are filled with protein, low in sugar, and devoid of butter, cream, or added oil.  Impossible, no? 

Tender and soft with crisp edges, part biscuit and part muffin, these are delicious for breakfast or a snack.  They are also extremely versatile and unbelievably quick to pull together.  The hardest part is deciding how you want to flavor your batch.  Perfect for last-minute company or for a Rice Kernel and Mommy afternoon teatime break.

Healthy, Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Scones, adapted from Alana’s Pantry

Ingredients

2 cups blanched almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup dark chocolate chips (or your choice of mix in – I used candied ginger this time)
1 tbsp orange zest (or lemon or lime)
1 egg
3 tbsp agave nectar
Spash of milk or buttermilk (I needed about 3 tbsp for the dough to hold together – original recipe does not call for any milk)

 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, chips and zest.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine egg and agave.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry.
  5. Form dough into a circle that is about ½-inch in thick.
  6. Cut dough like a pizza, into 6-8 slices.
  7. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  (Brush with eggwash or cream for extra sheen.  You can also sprinkle with some sugar.)
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until bottoms are browned.
  9. Note:  You can frost these with a bit of powdered sugar mixed with milk or juice. 

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If you have day-old Bioche, this is the perfect way to enliven the stale, but decadent, bread.  The French created this recipe to use up leftover Brioche by painting it with orange syrup and almond paste and then baking it until golden and crisp.  The combination of almond and orange imparts incredibly bright flavors.  At the San Francisco shop Patisserie Philippe, their bostocks are also topped with beautiful, thinly-sliced apples.  Serve it for breakfast, tea, or for an unexpected dessert.

Bostocks

Patisserie Philippe's rendition.

Ingredients

Bioche bread, thickly sliced (or challah bread)

Almond Cream

    1/2 cup almond paste
    4 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
    1/4 cup flour
    1 egg
    1/4 tsp almond extract
    1/2 tsp fiori di sicilia (orange-flower water), optional

Topping

    1/4 cup sugar
    zest from half an orange
    1/2 cup sliced almonds
    1/2 apple, sliced almost paper-thin

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make the almond cream: cream together the butter, almond paste, flour, egg and almond extract in a food processor until smooth and set aside.
  3. For the topping, combine the sugar, orange zest, and almonds.
  4. Spread the almond cream (about 2 tbsp) on a slice of bread.  Arrange a thin layer of apples atop the cream.  Liberally paint the sugar topping (with a pastry brush) and sprinkle sliced almonds.  Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, until crisp and golden.  Serve warm.

 

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Yesterday I lamented the March gloom that has blanketed our area of late and cozied up to a bowl of Fall pumpkin chili.  This morning, as I prepared to swaddle Rice Kernel in his winter coat, Spring spray forth.  There’s 60+ degree weather and the California sun is ablazing.  Not that I’m complaining.  But I do have two cups of leftover pumpkin puree ready to emerge from the cold of the refrigerator into the sauna of the stove or oven.  So I offered FHE three highly-rated, highly-nutritious pumpkin recipes and asked him to choose:  spice bread, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, or scones.  I had barely uttered the latter two choices when FHE settled on bread.  So bread it is today.  (Don’t worry, there’s one more cup of pumpkin to throw in the direction of cookies or scones.  But which?!)

This bread is hearty and mildly sweet, with the benefit of whole grains and moist, fiber-packed, heart-healthy pumpkin.  As quick breads come, this one is fairly guilt-free – just putting it out there in case you’re looking for a Paula Deen-inspired recipe.  It’s also a pinch to put together and gets Rice Kernel involved in the kitchen by measuring, pouring, and stirring (not necessarily in that order….).  Looks like FHE picked a year-round keeper. 

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Feel free to mix in 1/2 to 1 cup of walnuts, pecans, raisins or chocolate chips for some added texture and flavor.  Also, the slices of the bread make for moist and satisfying french toast.

Ingredients

    1 cup white whole wheat flour
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon allspice
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/6 cup canola oil
    1 cup honey (or 3/4 cup agave or 1 cup mix of brown and white granulated sugars)
    1 cup pureed pumpkin or squash (butternut or acorn)
    2 eggs
    1/3 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or milk (reduced fat is fine)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9″ x 5” loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the flours, baking soda, spices and salt in a mixing bowl.  Combine the oil, honey, puree, and eggs in a medium bowl and whisk until everything is fully incorporated.  Slowly fold the dry ingredients into the wet.  Then fold in milk.
  3. Place in prepared baking dish, and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Note:  For a vegan recipe, you can replace the eggs with two teaspoons of baking powder and a half cup of soy yogurt.  (Haven’t tried this yet, but several websites recommended it.)

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