Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

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Healthify. (COCONUT OAT FLAX MUFFINS)

April 1, 2015

ucc_healthymuffins

Certain foods are great vehicles for healthy ingredients, and muffins are one. It’s truly a case of a recipe just being a guide. You can switch around grains and flours and fruits and sweeteners to make a healthier snack that is customized especially for you and yours to devour. I took these muffins from Gold Medal Flour‘s website and messed with them. I find that product websites often have good, reliable recipes that are both healthy and -un. You can also find great starter recipes at Bob’s Redmill and King Arthur but, my point remains, don’t be afraid to tweak!

As an example of how and what I modified, you will find my recipe below, as well as the original, for comparison. You can see that applesauce has replaced half of the oil and I brought the sugar levels down all around. I swapped out half of the chocolate chips with raisins, and I omitted chocolate altogether from the topping. Some of the additions happened to be on hand (bran, oat flour, flax, etc.) and some, like coconut, my fam just enjoys. Gold Medal didn’t do a bad job here! Original recipe calls for whole wheat flour and oats, which is a perfectly acceptable health-supportive combo. Even the amount of fat in the original recipe is kept at a minimum, with just a bit of oil and some yogurt. But I went ahead and kept on pushing.

COCONUT OAT FLAX BRAN RAISIN CHOCOLATE CHIP YOGURT MUFFINS
(makes 12 large muffins)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup oat flour

1/4 cup wheat bran

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons apple sauce

scant 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup raisins

Streusel Topping

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1/4 cup old fashioned oats

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

2 tablespoons flax seeds

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, bran, coconut, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and yogurt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in (1/2 cup) chocolate chips and raisins.
  • Divide batter evenly among greased muffins cups.
  •  Streusel: In a small bowl, stir together the struesel ingredients with a fork until well coated in the oil. Place a heaping tablespoon of streusel over the batter in the muffin cups.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until muffins start to turn golden brown and streusel is crisp. Let muffins cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to cool completely.

    Original recipe:
    Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt Muffins

    1 cup Gold Medal™ whole wheat flour
    1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1cup Yoplait® Greek vanilla yogurt
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    Streusel
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    1/3 cup dark brown sugar
    1/2 cup old fashioned oats
    1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and Greek yogurt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips.
  • Divide batter evenly among greased muffins cups, filling each one almost full.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the struesel ingredients with a fork until well coated in the oil. Place a heaping tablespoon of streusel over the batter in the muffin cups.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until muffins start to turn golden brown and streusel is crisp. Let muffins cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely or enjoy.
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Delicate balance. (POTATO FRITTATA)

January 26, 2015

ucc_frittata_triangles

Lots of resolutions here. First, I resolve to ignore my blog less. As life is a bombardment of experiences, and I am always hungry for them, the time to stop and write about the thing I love to do most (cook!) escapes me frequently. And because I love to tell stories about cooking/eating adventures I need to practice it more. Hopefully these stories, inspired by experiences, help people to cook/eat well or better! I promise to exercise these meta things.

I have been meaning to write about frittatas for a long time, ever since my friend runningwithreilly and I made a frittata-making video. It’s weird. Why I am whispering at the frittata, we may never know.

Normally in an an 9 inch skillet I would use seven or eight eggs for a thickish round, full of chunked vegetables, cheese, greens or all three. This very different, authentically Italian version, inspired by a chef/colleague‘s mama, uses a mere three eggs and paper thin potatoes fried in the skillet before pouring the few seasoned eggs over. A refinement! I like my own method as well, it yields a hearty product, but this one is nice in many ways. It’s one of those five-ingredient recipes that achieves harmony. Each ingredient is used with a light hand, and together they are solid.

ucc_frittata_round

It would be great with martinis. Or maybe wrapped around the straw of a Bloody.

 

MAMA’S FRITTATA

serves 4

1 potato

1 tablespoon cooking oil

small pat of butter

3 eggs

2 tablespoons milk or water

1 small clove of garlic, minced

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of your favorite green herb, chopped

  • Warm the oil and butter in a 9 or 10 inch skillet (preferably cast iron or non-stick). Meanwhile slice the potato thinly on a mandolin or with a sharp knife. Place the potatoes in the skillet and allow to cook on both sides until brown and crisp in places but still pliable.
  • Whisk the eggs in a small bowl with the milk or water, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper. When potatoes are cooked, pour the eggs over and swirl around in the pan so they coat it evenly.
  • Sprinkle the herbs over.
  • When the bottom of the frittata is set, place a dinner plate over the skillet. With one hand holding the plate in place, use the other hand to flip the skillet (along with the plate) to invert the frittata onto the plate. The cooked side should be up and runny side down.
  • Slide the frittata back into the skillet (keeping runny side down) to finish cooking the bottom .*
  • Transfer the finished product to a plate or cutting board, slice and serve drizzled with some olive oil.

*if your cookware will allow high heat (i.e. cast iron) the alternative to the janky flip is to place the skillet under the broiler after the bottom has set to finish cooking the top with the direct heat. Just be sure to keep a very close eye on it and take it out when just firm.

 

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Reason #3419. (FRUIT CRUMBLE)

August 18, 2013

image

I don’t even peel the fruit, I don’t add more than a tablespoon of sugar to it. A squeeze of lemon and a badass crisp topping (as healthy or as buttery sweet as you want it to be) and not only do you have an impressive seasonal dessert but you have a crazy quick (outstanding) breakfast when you drop a scoop of crumble into a bowl of yogurt. Sweet summertime!

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Accessorizing. (BLOODY MARYS + BASIC QUICK PICKLES)

January 13, 2012

I talk about Bloody Marys plenty. I love to drink them, I love to make them. Seems to be the drink that has a preparation most like cooking (and drinking it is alot like eating). And though I am loyal to a sturdy classic drink, I love the bells and whistles that people come up with to adorn a Bloody Mary making it achieve even more than its perfect basic self. Seven kinds of seafood on a stick, gold dusted rim or 30 year old scotch are not necessary to the success of a Bloody Mary, but I wouldn’t turn them down either. The beauty is in the flexibility. It is a kind of very sophisticated open relationship.

It’s not about one particular recipe so much as striking a balance which can be achieved in many ways, adventurous and non. Go ahead! Use fish sauce and hot pepper purees, roasted tomatoes and wine. It just needs to consists of that savory drinkability, slight thickness, peppery bits and stand up to a decent spill of vodka (or whatever spirit one chooses to use). My ideal also provides a slow heat and a briny under-layer. To get it right I usually taste, adjust, taste, adjust, etc. just like cooking. Some batches are better than others and some kill it! Sometimes all the favorite ingredients are on hand and often there is creative substitution. And then there’s mixing drinks with that person who insists on their own carte blanche move (i.e. my friend who always uses dijon mustard). It’s cool, it all works and I’ll drink it to hell. But I’ll always have my own crazy concoction to go home to.

ORI’S BROOKLYN BLOODY MARY MIX

(makes about 10 drinks)

6 cups tomato juice

1/4 cup horseradish

1/4 cup pickled jalapeño juice (or dill pickle juice)

2 tablespoons Pick-a-Peppa sauce

4-5 shakes Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

juice of one lime

1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon celery salt or regular salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
dash cayenne
a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce until desired spicy-ness is reached. (I like Texas Pete)
  • Stir all ingredients together in a pitcher.
  • Fill a short glass with ice.
  • Pour 2 ounces of your favorite vodka (I like Tito’s) and approximately 6-8 ounces of Mix over the ice and stir. Garnish with Spanish olives, pickles* of any sort and/or celery.

* Lately I’ve been making these easy quick pickles as a garnish. They perfect for stirring up a drink but they are also great on sandwiches, in salads, as a side dish, a snack. This is not limited to carrots, celery and string beans. Try with cabbage, radish, cauliflower, peppers, onions or beets, etc.

QUICK PICKLES

2 cups of vegetables (approximately)

1/3 cup vinegar (white, cider, rice or white wine)

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • Peel, slice and prep your vegetables accordingly and place them in a bowl. 
  • Put vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  • Pour vinegar mixture over the vegetables and wait 10 minutes. Veg should be submerged in liquid. 
  • Let stand in the brine for at least 2 hours or up to 24. When cooled place in the fridge.
  • Drain and enjoy within a few days.

Recipes are guidelines not rules!

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Everything azul. (BLUEBERRY + BLUE CHEESE TARTINE)

July 19, 2011

Tartines are a fun thing. A hefty piece of bread with some sort of substantial topping, it takes buttered toast to the next level. I am not sure what defines a tartine exactly. Savory or sweet, any combination of ingredients seems to fit the bill, as long as one is spreadable. Also, it is always ‘openfaced’ or else you’d have what we in the biz call a sandwich. Just kidding… everybody calls it a sandwich. Anyway let’s not ruin a damn good snack with labels.

While living in France I put together this not-timid tartine often. The secret was the perfectly correct blue cheese (the name of which has been long forgotten) and a good and bumpy blueberry preserves. Sweet and salty melding with tart and tangy, the jam and the unctuous bite of cheese make magic. Since then I chase the dragon, trying out blue cheeses with this naughty little brekkie in mind though I had never really hit it until recently.

MG picked up a few cheeses at our favorite neighborhood place and wound up with Azul Penacorada among others. A Spanish cow’s milk cheese, the Penacorada is creamy and rich and not too crumbly. It snaps you back from its deep blue haze with a touch of the crystalized texture that some cheeses have, otherwise known as lactic acid, which develops as the cheese ages. Though it’s not French, as soon as I tasted Azul Pencorada I left the house to run out for some blueberry preserves.

The next morning, on the fattest pieces of Amy’s whole wheat pullman toast, I put a good layer of the jam, a serious crumble of the blue (you want them to fight for space in your mouth) and that’s it. Tartine for kings and queens.

“Breakfast, then, can be toast. It can be piles of toast, generously buttered, and a bowl of honey or jam, and milk for Mortimer and coffee for you. You can be lavish because the meal is so inexpensive. You can have fun, because there is no trotting around with fried eggs and mussy dishes and grease in the pan and a lingeringly unpleasant smell in the air.”

M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf

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A second impression. (RICOTTA + FIG EMPANADAS)

April 16, 2011

Here’s the thing about empanadas, you can stuff just about anything you can imagine in there. Traditional fillings include beef, chicken, cheese, tuna, guava, spinach, etc. Though empanadas seem like a big project to undertake, if you cheat a little and buy the dough circles  pre-made*, they are quick and easy to the point where I actually made them for breakfast and believe me, I am not good for much in the morning. Truth be told, I made the fig jam the night before. Even better.

If you happen upon a set of flavors that sounds especially good, with a little engineering, it can usually serve as perfectly great filling. In the first run of this sweet, slightly savory combo of homemade ‘fig jam’ with rosemary and ricotta, my oversight was that I didn’t mix the fruit and the cheese together. It was as if they were divorced. The empanada was filled on one side was straight fig puree and the other was rather bland and plain soft cheese. There was potential but no real pow.

On the second try I reconciled the two sides, stirring them together in a bowl, adding some lemon rind and salt to brighten up the day. Not only did it save a step in assembly, it worked out great. Inside the crisp empanada lived a creamy, tart-sweet epicenter, a way better result than the first. We couldn’t keep our hands off of them, the true test of an empanada’s success.

After including the new tweaks, I added  an extra step to the recipe. A direction I would like to use in all of my recipes at various points; ‘Taste it!’ It is unbelievable how often people fail to taste something as they are making it. By tasting often, the cook remains in complete control of where a dish is going…. and, most importantly, how it arrives.

FIG and ROSEMARY EMPANADA with RICOTTA CHEESE

(makes 20 empanadas)

for Fig and Rosemary Quick Jam:

10 ounces dried black mission figs (about 2 cups), stems removed

3 tablespoons sugar

3 sprigs rosemary

1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Place figs, sugar,  rosemary sprigs and 1.5 cups of water in saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until most of liquid is evaporated and figs are easily pierced with/ a knife, 20-30 minutes. Remove rosemary stems.
  • Transfer mixture to a food processor, add lemon juice and puree until smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup additional water to thin if needed. The final product should be like a thick spread. Store in the fridge up to one month.

for Empanadas:

20 empanada dough discs or 1 package (2 sheets) of puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten

1 pound fresh ricotta cheese

1 recipe Fig Rosemary Quick Jam

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 pinch salt

1/4 cup flour

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • In a bowl, combine the cooled fig jam with the ricotta, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Taste it! Adjust.
  • Lay a dough disc on a lightly floured surface. (If using puff pastry, roll out the dough a little and punch 10 four inch circles from each sheet). 
  • Brush half of a disc with beaten egg.
  • On the other half of the disc, spoon two heaping tablespoons of fig/ricotta mixture.
  • Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the dough to make a scalloped edge. Alternatively, seal the edge with the tines of a fork. 
  • Place the empanada on a baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Repeat with the rest of the dough/filling.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes.

* Discos are found in the freezer section.

They didn’t last until lunch… that’s what I’m talking about.

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Don’t call it cake. (SWEET CARROT BREAD)

March 29, 2011

I like to make healthy quick breads to have around for easy, one-handed breakfasts. Quick bread, by definition, is a sweet or savory baked-good that is leavened by something other than yeast like baking soda, baking powder, eggs, etc. Banana bread, zucchini bread, cornbread, scones all fall under this category. I try to make it so the bread  has an inkling of nutrition to it. In other words, it can’t be straight up cake… not for breakfast anyway. I save up my pastry-in-the-morning points for when I am in France.

When I come across an interesting recipe, I’ll tweak it here and there so it meets the standards of morning fare; subbing whole wheat flour or natural sweetener, adding bran or nuts and things like that. This recipe has benefitted from some of those adjustments and the result is a slightly sweet, moist, nutty cake… um, bread.

SWEET CARROT BREAD

(adapted from Alton Brown Good Eats, 2005)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour + extra for the pan

1 cup finely ground almonds (almond meal)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon 5-spice powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

3 eggs

3/4 cup plain yogurt

3/4 cup vegetable oil + extra for greasing the pan

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Butter and flour a 9-inch round  cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Put the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, 5-spice, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Toss the carrots with the flour mixture until they are coated.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, honey, eggs, and yogurt. Whisk in the oil in a constant stream.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.