My wife Jan had requested blue cornbread, which I served with chicken chili. There was a lot of cornbread left over, so today I thought to use it one of our favorite breakfasts, Eggs Benedict. I have done variations of Eggs Benedict (1, 2, 3)—by replacing the English muffin with whatever bread like substance I have on hand or substituting avocado for the Hollandaise sauce and new variations are born.
Category Archives: Breakfast
My daughter is of an age to like Egg McMuffins, but I am hardly going to run out in the morning to buy her one. It is so much easier just to whip one up myself. Throw together a Thomas’ English muffin, a slice of Canadian bacon, a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, and a scrambled egg, what could be simpler?
Wife Jan has started on the Noom program, and she thought that my original recipe for Dutch Babies was too much of a “red food”—foods like white flour and sugar that are to be severely limited in this diet. While there is nothing really restricted on this diet, some foods are better than others—you are meant to fill up on “green foods” with some limited “yellow foods” to keep you happy and satisfied. To please her, I replaced some of the white flour with buckwheat and the sugar with agave nectar, both much lower on the glycemic index.
The May/June issue of Cook’s Illustrated had an article about Dutch babies. In modern recipes, this is a spectacular large pancake with a crisp edge and a custardy center. I pared down the original recipe to make enough for three hungry people and added a few twists of my own. I have made this dish several times, but I have yet to get the ideal Dutch baby—the flaring edges should be fairly evenly raised all around the pancake—mine tended to end up lopsided. Still the flavor and texture are exceptional. Dutch babies are frequently topped with lemon and powdered sugar or fruit compote.
My wife Jan had a hunger for oat muffins/cookies. She sent me a recipe and I disagreed with almost everything about it—too much flour, oil, and sugar, not enough oats or cinnamon. While I very loosely based this on that recipe, I changed almost everything.
Wife Jan asked for oat muffins for breakfast, while I was up to my elbows in flour making hand pies, I said I would do it. Normally, I would make banana oat muffins with pecans and blueberries, but when I checked my supplies I found I had neither bananas nor pecans. However I did have plenty of pistachios and apricots—and a new variation of the recipe was born.
Since I learned to make pancakes from scratch, I no longer have any commercial pancake mix in the house. I had adapted a Martha Stewart pancake recipe—less sugar for diabetics—and I went on to adapt a waffle recipe—which turned out to be almost exactly Martha Stewart’s recipe (again lower sugar). This time I thought I would make a radical change—no milk.
I had been planning to make cheese fondue for a Sunday dinner when Daughter Miriam begged off at the last minute. While I had not yet grated the cheese, I was left with a whole loaf of French bread cut into little cubes. I needed to think of something to do with these, if I was not going to dip them into melted cheese sauce. I could make salad croutons, a cheese strada, or bread pudding. Wife Jan is very fond of bread pudding.
Note: While none of us children copied down her recipe, this close to what my mother Claudia would have made as I was growing up.
Karl’s Bread Pudding
1 cup half and half cream
2 Tbs. butter, melted
2 Tbs. Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. nutmeg, fresh grated
½ tsp. kosher salt
Pinch cloves, ground
1 loaf French bread, cubed
½ cup currents
1. Put the eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly.
2. Whisk in the cream and melted butter into the eggs.
Tip: The butter will most likely congeal into little lumps, but do not be concerned with this.
3. Add the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, and cloves.
4. Whisk to mix the ingredients.
5. Add the bread cubes and currents.
6. Fold the bread and fruit into the wet ingredients.
Note: This mixture will be really wet. This is as it should be.
7. Pour the pudding mix into a Pam-ed, or buttered, casserole dish that is large enough to take all of the pudding.
Tip: You want at least a quarter of an inch between the top of the pudding and the lip of the casserole. Otherwise, it might spill over onto your oven as it bakes. I always bake with a large baking tray on the lower rack to catch any drips. It is easier to clean a baking tray than a whole oven.
8. Let the pudding stand for ten to 15 minutes.
Tip: This rest allows the bread and almond meal to absorb some of the excess liquid.
Note: My mother would usually prepare the dish to this point the night before and let it soak, covered, overnight.
9. Cover the casserole with the lid—if it has one—or with aluminum foil.
10. Preheat the oven to 350° F
11. Put the bread pudding in oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Tip: Until the center no longer jiggles loosely, but it is still not completely set.
12. Remove the foil and switch the oven to broil—still at 350° F.
13. Broil for another 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
14. Let the pudding cool for ten minutes and scoop out to serve warm or chill completely and serve as slices.
Wife Jan is going off to Burning Man again. Last year she broke her arm, I hope she comes back in one piece this year. As usual, I am making instant meals for her group. Last year, I made three camp meals—saag pilau, za’atar orzo, and pancakes. This year I added two more—mashed potatoes and tabbouleh. My pancake recipe went over very well with the Burners last year, but I simply cannot leave well-enough alone—I had to add something extra this year, pecans.