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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Guests Bram and Monica Meehan: Breakfast for Dinner

Special Guest Bram and I had a great time on the show (as always) sharing our favorite breakfast-for-dinner recipes. Thanks, Stacy! As promised, here's the roundup, with links:

Cheddar and Green Chile Waffles with Thyme Maple Syrup

This recipe is adapted from Nora Singley's recipe at The Kitchn. It's supposed to serve 4 to 6 people, but we normally halve this recipe and it easily makes 8 or 9 waffles in our waffle iron. Also, the original recipe has you sauteing Serrano chiles to add to the batter, but we raid our stash of frozen, roasted green chile. The thyme syrup is a nice touch but plain maple syrup is great, too.

Ingredients for waffles
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups medium cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup olive oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 11 ounces)
1/4 cup roasted green chiles

Ingredients for syrup
2 cups maple syrup
thyme sprigs

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add milk, olive oil, eggs, and maple syrup, whisking to combine. Do not overmix; batter may be lumpy. Fold in the cheddar cheese and chiles. Let batter rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature, and up to one hour.

While batter sits, combine maple syrup, thyme sprigs, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring up to a simmer and cook, 3 to 4 minutes, to infuse syrup. Keep warm.

Heat up waffle iron, spray with cooking spray if yours isn't non-stick. Pour batter into waffle iron and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes, depending on your iron. Carefully remove waffle from iron and repeat process with remaining batter. Keep waffles warm in 200 degree oven, or serve immediately with thyme maple syrup.

Cheesy Bacon Grits with Egg

You can get quick grits in pretty much any bulk food section; for small amounts of chopped bacon, try Trader Joe's Uncured Bacon Ends & Pieces. This recipe is from Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease by Rozanne Gold, via Serves 4.

5 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick grits
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for frying eggs
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, white and green parts
4 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
8 eggs

Combine water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, whisking often, until thick and creamy. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, cheese, green onions, bacon and pepper. Cook 5 minutes longer.

Melt additional butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry eggs until whites are set and yolks are still runny. Or poach eggs in boiling water 3 minutes.
Spoon grits into bowls. Top with eggs.

You'll probably want to have some sort of vegetable side; or, try this similar recipe from The Kitchn that incorporates the greens:

Fried Eggs and Collard Greens over Polenta

olive oil
4-5 strips of thick cut bacon (you can also use about 1/2 pound of pancetta)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large bunch of collard greens, leaves stripped and chopped
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 eggs
freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Roughly chop the bacon into chunks. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat in a large sauce pan with a lid. Add the bacon and begin to cook. After about 5 minutes, add the onion. Continue to cook both until the bacon is crispy and the onion is soft and beginning to caramelize, about 8 to 10 more minutes.

Raise the heat to medium-high and add the collard greens. Stir and toss until the greens are coated in the oil and bacon fat and beginning to wilt. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat slightly and cover the pan. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, adding more chicken broth if the mixture gets dry, until the collard greens are dark green and soft.

Meanwhile, cook the polenta. Bring the milk and water to boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the corn meal in a steady stream, whisking as you go. Season with salt and pepper (about a teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper to start, then taste). Continue to cook, whisking, until the polenta begins to thicken. Reduce the heat so that the polenta bubbles slowly and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. The cooking time may vary, depending on how coarse the corn meal is, but the finished polenta should give some resistance when you stir it with a whisk. Add the butter and more salt and pepper to taste. You can turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the polenta warm. When you are ready to serve it, stir to loosen it up and add a bit more milk if necessary.

Add a bit of butter or olive oil to a non-stick skilled and fry the eggs, two by two if necessary. To serve, put a big scoop of polenta on each plate and top it with the greens and bacon mixture and two fried eggs. Sprinkle with parmesan, salt, pepper, and hot sauce, if desired.

Basic Frittata, with variations

This basic recipe comes from our dog-eared, food-spattered, falling-apart, much-loved copy of Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

2 tablespoons butter or oil
5 or 6 eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or other cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Put the butter or oil in a medium-to-large, ovenproof skillet, preferably non-stick, and turn the heat to medium. While it's heating, beat together the eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. When the butter melts or the oil is hot, pour the egg mixture into the skillet and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, undisturbed, fro about 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the frittata is firm.

Transfer skillet to oven. Bake, checking every 5 minutes or so, just until the top of the frittata is no longer runny, 10 to 20 minutes more. Garnish with the parsley and serve hot or at room temperature.

You can add almost anything you think would be tasty to the basic frittata recipe, just mix into the eggs with the cheese. The basic proportions are 1 to 2 cups filling for every 4 to 5 eggs. Basically don't make so much it won't fit in your skillet. Also, keep in mind that add-ins won't cook through in the time it takes to set the eggs, so pre-cook raw meats or sauté/steam veggies if needed. Some ideas:
  • sautéed broccoli, asparagus, spinach, chard, kale
  • chopped fresh herbs
  • bacon with pan-fired apple and onion
  • minced salami, cooked sausage, ham, cooked or smoked fish
  • sautéed onion, fresh tomato, and basil
  • cooked potato cubes
  • grated, salted and quick-cooked zucchini
  • sautéed mushrooms
  • goat cheese