Filed under: Breakfast
Have you ever noticed how inedible some fruits and vegetables look? I can’t help but think, what possessed that first human to want to try and eat those strange looking items. Who was the first person to try an avocado? What was it about the shiny, bumpy skin or the green, squishy insides that made someone take a chance and put it in their mouth, chew and swallow? I don’t know who that person was but I’m glad they took that chance. The avocado, for it’s strange appearance and texture is delectable, loaded with nutrients and has a fascinating history.
The inside of an avocado has a buttery like texture. One of the ways I eat an avocado is to mash it up in a bowl with a fork, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and spread it on my toasted english muffin. The flavor of an avocado is delicate and creamy with an undertone of nuttiness. They can be used in multiple dishes such as soup, as a sandwich spread and even frosting.
In Brazil, avocados are added to ice cream and the Philippines, they are even blended with milk and sugar for an avocado smoothy. Another name for the avocado is Alligator Pear.
Stay tuned for part 2 of my article on avocados.
June 8, 2010
Oregon Hill Farms started with the intention of bringing that “fresh from the field flavor” into their gourmet syrups and jams. Their products are made with all natural ingredients, using only pure cane sugar. Genuine ingredients are used, adding nothing artificial – no low quality fructose corn syrups, preservatives, colors, gums, or thickening agents. As a consumer who is concerned about my health and what I put into my body I appreciate the attention to quality, natural ingredients.
Oregon Hill Farms gourmet jams and syrups taste just like homemade. The flavor of the fruit is concentrated and intense. I like the syrup on pancakes and the jams on buttermilk biscuits although you could use it on ice cream, p b & j and in jam thumbprints. I especially love the marionberry syrup.
December 18, 2009
I am working my way through a large amount of apples and many apple recipes. I have to admit I am getting a little tired of the traditional apple bread, muffins and the like. I was intrigued when I found a recipe that called for sauteed apples. For that reason, on Saturday morning my husband made german pancake while I made the sauteed apples.
If you’ve never had german pancake you really must try it. It is a simple flour and egg mixture that puffs up as it bakes. Dollops of butter in the batter melt into golden crusty bits as the center becomes firm and quiche like. The edges bake up just like a popover. Syrup, powdered sugar, or fruit, top this savory concoction with a sweet balance.
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
Yield: 4 servings
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously butter a 10 inch oven proof skillet, pie plate or round baking dish and a 6 inch round oven proof dish. Beat eggs until blended. Add flour, salt, and milk to eggs. Mix together.
Pour the batter into prepared skillet/dish. Top with teaspoon sized dollops of butter.
Place in the oven and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 10 more minutes. Serve with powdered sugar and topping of choice.
3-4 medium sized apples
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple juice or cider
Peel and slice apples. Melt butter in 10 inch skillet. Add apples, cinnamon, brown sugar and cider/juice. Cook until apples are fork tender. Serve over german pancake or as a side dish.
October 26, 2009
Only nine days left until the official start of fall. One of the reasons I love fall is because it is also the beginning of apple season. Every year around the middle of September my family and I go up to the foot hills to pick apples. We picnic, eat caramel apples and gorge ourselves on apple turnovers. I’m sure you’re thinking we must make ourselves sick and you’re right we do. It is our way of celebrating fall and continuing an annual tradition.
The Easy Apple Strudel recipe is very easy to make, hence the name Easy Apple Strudel. I pretty much like to eat the strudel all day long. I start with some in the morning because it is great for breakfast. Then I have some with lunch, I count it as a “fruit”. Finally, after I eat dinner I have it for dessert. So you can see it is a multipurpose food. Even my kids like it although they say they don’t like baked goods with fruit. Whatever, kids.
Easy Apple Strudel
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk and milk to make 2/3 cup, lightly beaten
Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Blend on medium speed until all ingredients are combined. Divide dough in half. Roll out half the dough on a well floured surface. Place it in a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan.Apple Filling:
5 cups peeled and sliced apples, any type of firm apple, I prefer golden delicious
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients except the egg white. Pour over the bottom crust. Roll out the rest of the dough and place on the top of the apple mixture. Brush the top of the dough with the egg white. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and fruit is bubbling from the sides.
1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
Mix together and drizzle over warm crust.
September 12, 2009
I love the weekends at my house because my husband makes breakfast. It’s something he has always done. In fact, I have never made the pancake recipe I’m about to share with you . That’s right, I’ve never made it. I have even used that as my excuse when he asks me to make them, occasionally. I say “I don’t know how”. He just rolls his eyes. Although I have never made this recipe I have eaten it too many times to count.
A few years ago we started a quest for a “new” pancake recipe. We wanted one that tasted similar to what you get in a restaurant. You know what I mean, right? A pancake with a fluffy, light texture and a buttery taste. You always say to yourself “Why don’t mine taste like this?” We tried one recipe after another. Some were too sweet, too tough in texture or too thick. Nothing short of perfection would satisfy us. Finally, several recipes later, EUREKA! We found one that could deliver all we wanted in a pancake. It was easy to make, fluffy, thin, not too sweet, light, airy and tender.
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar, brown sugar can be substituted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Set aside.
In a separate bowl beat the eggs, buttermilk, milk, and melted butter. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir gently, just to blend. Batter should be lumpy and thick. Do not over mix! This is the secret to tender pancakes. Allow batter to rest for 7 minutes.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or pan over medium-high heat. Use a 1/4 cup measurement for the batter. Pour batter on to the heated griddle. Cook until bubbles cover the surface of the pancake and remain open. Flip over gently and cook until golden brown.
Serve with butter and maple syrup, fruit syrup or homemade jam. I like to eat them with a fine sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Helpful Tip: Freeze leftover cooked pancakes on a cookie sheet. When they are completely frozen put the pancakes into a storage container and freeze up to a month. These are easily reheated in the microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes.
September 1, 2009
In continuing with my breakfast theme, I am moving into the egg category. I love eggs. I eat at least three a week.
I have recently tried something new, quail eggs. At first I was reluctant to try them. They were different, small and speckled. They didn’t look like chicken eggs, but they were so cute. My daughter told me that each hen lays a characteristic pattern and color on each shell which I verified. Google is awesome, but I digress. My first attempt at cooking the quail eggs was a success. I gently cracked the shell on the counter and shallowly inserted scissors to cut the shell. I didn’t want to break the yolk. I was rewarded with a beautiful, tiny egg that had a yolk that was double the size of the white. I fried up a couple and my boys devoured them instantly.My second attempt was to cook the quail eggs in a manner other than frying. I settled on baking them. I read one recipe that said to use a muffin pan but I only wanted to make a few not a whole dozen. I decided that ramekins or oven safe bowls were the way to go. So I buttered up three ramekins as well as sliced some tomato to lay down as a base for the quail eggs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper the quail eggs to taste. Place ramekins or oven safe bowls on a cookie sheet. Place in the oven. Bake until set, approximately 15 minutes. Gently press on the eggs to make sure they are thoroughly cooked. Once the eggs are done remove them from the oven and allow them to cool five minutes. Gently run a knife around the edge of the ramekin/bowl. Allow the egg to slide out onto a plate or piece of buttered toast. Garnish with some chive, parsley or basil.
I used a garlic, sourdough bread for the toast. A perfect way to start the morning, a couple of quail eggs on toast and a cup of strong coffee. My ideal breakfast.
I’m sure you are probably wondering where I got quail eggs. One of the growers with FromTheFarm.com., Turnbull Farms, sent some to me so I could try them and tell you what I thought. What I think is that quail eggs are little bundles of culinary joy. The yolks are large and buttery and they make the most adorable hard boiled eggs.
If you would like some more information about Turnbull Farms go to FromThe Farm.com and click on “Growers” to read the bio.
I have more tips on how to prepare quail eggs. I would be happy to talk with you and pass on any knowledge that I might have. Please comment or ask any questions.
August 24, 2009
I love big breakfasts. I guess it stems from the memories of the Sunday breakfasts my mother made for our family. They were a tradition. I would wake up to the smell of bacon, and the sounds of her shuffling around in the kitchen and the back door slamming as my dad came in from feeding the livestock. This happened every Sunday. In my minds eye I can still see the table crammed with plates of bacon, sausage, potatoes, homemade jams and jellies, honey, butter and biscuits. My mom would ask who wanted fried eggs and how we wanted them prepared; over easy, sunny side up or over hard, like she was a diner cook. By the time we finished eating we were lethargic and sleepy, which created the need for a Sunday nap.
Now that I am an adult and a mom I want to recreate these traditions and memories to pass on to my children. In my attempt to do that I have tried to put my spin on this tradition by changing some of the recipes. My mom always used a mix to make her biscuits and while good they were lacking. I wanted a biscuit that was salty and buttery in flavor and tender and crispy in texture. So after some experimentation I have finally settled on a recipe that my family and I love.
Warning! If you are changing some recipes that have been traditional to the cook in your family don’t be surprised it they don’t look on it kindly. My mom, although gracious, feels somewhat insulted that I would dare to deviate from her original recipe. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks refrigerated butter, cut into small chunks
2 cups buttermilk, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing
Preheat the oven to 375. Whisk all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend in chunks of butter with pastry blender. (I like to use my fingers to squish the butter into smaller pieces.) The mixture should look like coarse crumbs with some large pieces of butter.
Make a well in the dry mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry mix into the buttermilk. Continue to mix until the dough just comes together. Don’t over mix. The dough will be sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a pastry cloth or counter top dusted with flour. Flour hands to keep them from sticking to the dough. Pat the dough into a round about 1 inch thick. Don’t over work the dough. Use a 2-3 inch biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits. Repeat as necessary for more biscuits.
Place biscuits on baking sheet approximately 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of biscuits with remaining buttermilk. Bake in oven, rotating half way through baking time. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Serve warm with butter, honey or favorite jam. My favorite on biscuits is blackberry jam.
Helpful Tip: Double the recipe and freeze the remaining raw, cut biscuits. Freeze them on a cookie sheet and then put the frozen biscuits in a plastic freezer bag. Before baking brush with buttermilk . Cook for 10-15 minutes longer than original cook time. Do not thaw before baking. Store up to 3 months.
Check the FromTheFarm blog over the next few days for more breakfast recipes.
August 21, 2009
Who knew that cherries were so good for you? It is hard to believe that such a tasty little fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients. What would you say if I said that by eating cherries you can decrease your risk of cancer, keep yourself looking young and get a great night of sleep? You’d probably say prove it. Well, I will.
Cherries contain phytochemicals also called phenolics. These phenolics protect your DNA against free radicals. Anthocyanins also found in cherries keep the body safe from an enzyme that has been proven to increase the risk of colon cancer.
Vitamin C is important in maintaining collagen which causes cell renewal and keeps our skin looking young and supple. One cup of cherries yields 16% of your RDA of vitamin C.
Sleep is so important to our good health. We need our 8 hours a night. You’re thinking, yeah right. Did you know that melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone produced in our bodies is also present in cherries. So maybe now you can get that 8 hours of sleep.
As a nation our health is such a concern for us today. It’s nice to know that we can make simple changes in our nutrition that impact our lives. It doesn’t have to be big change; in fact, it can be something as small as a cherry.
Two weeks left of the Montana cherry season. Order now.
See my post “A Guilty Secret” for a parfait recipe. Add cherries to ice cream, use in place of blueberries in a muffin recipe or dip in chocolate.
August 11, 2009
I have a confession to make. I have eaten the fruit and yogurt parfaits from McDonalds and liked them. They are surprisingly good. Not only are they good but they have inspired me to make them at home which I have done. They are simple to make and can be eaten for breakfast, as a mid-day snack, or a light dessert.
Just start with some vanilla yogurt (I like Lucerne), your favorite granola and any type of summer fruit, such as, peaches, nectarines, cherries (my husband’s favorite in the parfait), plums, pluots, blueberries and other berries that are in season.
First layer the fruit in the bottom of a bowl, make sure to cut into bite size pieces, next add some yogurt to cover, sprinkle over some granola and finally another layer of yogurt to cover. Enjoy!
July 21, 2009