Breakfast

Back to basics: Ham and Cheese omelet

Posted in Breakfast, Eggs on October 9th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

First, I think it’s both a little strange and sweet that I’m 33 years old and my mom still sends me care packages. Back in college it was boxes of Rice-A-Roni and coupons for toilet paper. Now I get a combination of bakeware, purple things, purple bakeware, and Hello Kitty.

Yes, I’m a Sanrio fan-girl.

A while back she sent me a purple omelet pan, I’m guessing after reading about my failed omelet attempts. I hadn’t wanted an omelet since getting the pan and felt guilty for not using it. I think it’s the pressure of going in knowing you can’t pretend at the last minute that you really meant to make scrambled eggs after all.

That doesn’t show it in all of its purple glory.

Today however I was in a breakfast mood. I had breakfast for breakfast and breakfast for dinner, and lunch… well lunch was two mini Snickers ice cream bars. (They make them small so you have to eat more.) I decided to make a good old fashioned ham and cheese omelet. No extras. Three ingredients:

  • Ham

I broke the reclosable seal, a bad start.

  • Cheese

No omelet is complete without good old cheddar cheese.

  • Eggs

Yes that’s a family pack which they usually mean for more than two people, but you’d be amazed how many eggs you go through when you start baking. And butter, I can go through a scary amount of butter.

Then I looked online for any last minute advice and found the Basic Omelet Recipe. It started…

Many people are intimidated by omelets, but if you can make scrambled eggs, you can make an omelet.

What!? Totally disagree… turn that around and it’s been my experience.

Omelets should always be cooked in a nonstick sauté pan. An 8″ omelet pan is the best choice.

Sorry mom, wrong size.

They added on ingredients “2 Tbsp clarified butter or whole butter” (what other butter is there?) and “2 Tbsp. whole milk”.

Add the milk to the eggs and season to taste with salt and white pepper.

After learning what ‘to taste’ means, I don’t think I’m going to taste my raw egg mixture, it’s more like ‘season to guess’.

Then, grab your whisk and whisk like crazy. You’re going to want to work up a sweat here. If you’re not up for that, you can use an electric beater or stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whatever device you use, you’re trying to beat as much air as possible into the eggs.

Again recipe, seriously? First I have to get mixing bowl off the top shelf which means getting out the step stool just to make an omelet, and then you suggest I might even need an electric mixer? I used my Hello Kitty whisk, and while I didn’t work up a sweat, I had a little left over from the walk from the grocery store so close enough.

Yes, Sanrio fan-girl. I have the matching spatula and strainer too.

When the butter in the pan is hot enough to make a drop of water hiss, pour in the eggs. Don’t stir! Let the eggs cook for up to a minute or until the bottom starts to set.

This is the moment of perfection, omelet potential, unbroken.

With a heat-resistant rubber spatula, gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there’s no liquid left.

Kinda working…

Your eggs should now resemble a bright yellow pancake, which should easily slide around on the nonstick surface. If it sticks at all, loosen it with your spatula.

I haven’t cooked with nonstick pans before so this was amazing. I would have taken video of the egg sliding around the pan if I could.

Now gently flip the egg pancake over, using your spatula to ease it over if necessary. Cook for another few seconds, or until there is no uncooked egg left.

And there it is, the expected outcome for me and my omelet.

If you’re adding any other ingredients, now’s the time to do it.

Add the ham and cheese and my breakfast for dinner is complete with chocolate milk.

My first (accidental) omelet

Posted in Breakfast, Eggs on February 27th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I thought I was just going to make a green “scrambled omelet”. I know that real omelets take practice and all that, and I’m just not willing to waste the time and ingredients practicing when I just want some breakfast. I figured I’d let the egg sit a bit before scrambling to give it more of that “flat” flavor of an omelet and then scramble to make sure it cooked through.

First of all, if there’s such a thing as a “green omelet”, and I’m sure there is, that’s not what I was making. I came up with that name because I was using a bunch of green things from our garden – mint, basil, dill, plus some green onions from the fridge. On the other hand I was using some white things as well – regular onion, garlic, and chopped turkey.

I used up the last three of my fancy organic, omega-3 eggs. I finally talked myself down to buying the cheaper eggs after reading that the omega-3’s are not worth it. However I’m still not totally convinced – I haven’t found a definitive answer if they’re just “not worth it”, as in the cost doesn’t justify the benefit (but ultimately that’s up to me to decide), or if there is no actual benefit. My thinking has been that since eggs are simultaneously healthy and bad for you, I might as well push the healthy side.

I have a feeling that I’m ultimately going to end up with two kinds of eggs in the fridge, fancy ones for cooking and cheap ones for baking. Given that we already keep on hand multiple kinds of milk, rice, soy sauce, salt, cheese, etc… it’s not too much of a stretch to add eggs to the list.

So I poured my eggs in a pan over some melted butter on a medium-high heat and let it sit for a minute. Well after making sure all of my filling ingredients were in order, I turned back to see that my eggs were omeleting!

Too late to scramble, I dumped in the filling and folded. Not the prettiest thing, especially since I had to go back and try to open it up and add the cheese, but I think it counts as my first real omelet.

The mint leaves went on top because I had read, “Many cooks like to add chopped mint leaves to scrambled eggs, and omelets…” but to add at the end of cooking so they don’t turn bitter.

I was so excited to have made an actual omelet, it took a few bites before I realized what a strange taste combination I had come up with. Actually it turns out that since I was in such a hurry to add the filling, it didn’t get distributed evenly so any given bite had a different flavor. Some better than other… but I’d still eat it again.

For the record, here’s what went into my green (and white) omelet:

Ingredients:

  • three eggs
  • chopped onion
  • chopped green onion
  • chopped garlic
  • sliced turkey breast lunch meat
  • fresh dill
  • fresh basil
  • fresh mint
  • shredded Mexican cheese blend

My biggest complaint: I didn’t add enough cheese.

Open-faced breakfast burrito

Posted in Breakfast, Eggs, Potatoes on February 20th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I kept wandering around the kitchen complaining to myself that there was nothing to eat since we were due for a grocery shopping trip. Of course “nothing” doesn’t mean nothing but I didn’t want more pasta, more toast, more cereal, more noodles… “But you know better now,” I told myself, “You should be able to MacGyver a meal out of this kitchen.”

My starting point ended up being a package of roasted garlic chicken sausage that I originally picked up for some future chicken gumbo but have no immediate plans to make. I’m not normally a sausage person (same issue I have with bacon, the visible fattiness and texture) but chicken sausage is relatively safe and if you add garlic to the description I’m sold.

I started by dicing one of my little Yukon potatoes into little pieces (not trusting how easily potatoes would cook in a pan, I wanted them small) and started frying in a bit of olive oil. While those were cooking I also chopped up a bit of onion and added to the pan when the potatoes were about halfway cooked. Then at the end, some chopped garlic, so it wouldn’t overcook.

This was set aside and then in the same pan, I scrambled an egg with the chicken sausage, also cut into small pieces.

Gotta admit that looks kinda gross… eggs are pretty freaky if you think about them too much.

Then I mixed everything back in the pan and added some shredded Mexican cheese mix.

Andrew had moved the tortillas to the other side of the counter, so for a minute I was afraid I was ultimately making myself a big bowl of breakfast “burrito” mix. Determined now to keep this a one-pan recipe, I tried to slide the tortilla underneath to be simultaneously warmed and assembled.

At this point it didn’t look like it was going to be willing to roll up for me in anyway so I scooped it onto a plate using two spatulas and ate with a fork. Andrew called it a “breakfast tostada” but I already had my name picked out, and a very messy pan.

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Posted in Breakfast on February 7th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

I know they say not to go to the store hungry, but who would have thought watching TV (and no, not the commercials) would have the same problem? We were watching our DVR’d episode of Parenthood which started out with chocolate chip pancakes and suddenly I had to have those chocolate chip pancakes.

I ended up doing one better with banana chocolate chip pancakes, having this one old, brown banana that was ready for either baking or for the trash. I adapted my recipe from this recipe that was adapted from another recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baking mix(or homemade bisquick mix)
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Since I neither have Bisquick or wanted to go through the trouble of getting out the Cuisenart for the homemade “Bisquick” mix, I referenced yet another recipe and used two cups of flour and two tablespoons of baking powder as my base.

In another bowl I mashed up my banana with a fork and mixed in the cup of milk and an egg. A hand mixer may have made for a smoother mix but I feel like a few lumps are a pleasant trait of homemade cooking.

After mixing the liquid into the dry, the batter seemed really thick for pancakes. I added another 1/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil since I’ve seen it in various pancake recipes. I was told that the oil raises the calorie count drastically more than the milk so next time I should just keep adding milk until the consistency is right. Possibly a second egg.

I also had no chocolate chips, but I planned to chop up the last couple Ghirardelli squares from the Christmas baking. Turns out that after being left open, they had become so crumbly I just crumbled them by hand into the batter mix.

If you could zoom in on that bottle of oil it shows 120 calories per tablespoon serving… definitely skipping the oil next time.

The batter was still on the thick side so I had to spread it out with a fork as I poured it into the pan, and then cook like normal.

A little light on the chocolate, and a little light on the banana, because I used all I had around, but very yummy. Next time more chocolate, less oil.

Scrambled not-an-omelet

Posted in Breakfast on October 23rd, 2010 by admin – 2 Comments

Since I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis this week I’m overwhelmed with the idea that I can eat. It’s not a food allergy, and while I plan to experiment with food triggers in the future, I’m confident that the meds will help and what I eat today isn’t going to affect how I feel tomorrow. I was never able to find a connection there but still felt compelled to avoid the common ones like dairy (and avoiding dairy makes me sad.)

I’ve wanted an omelet, but I don’t know how to make omelets. I’m paranoid about my eggs being fully cooked so the concept makes me nervous, at least in my unprofessional hands. This How to Make a Basic Omelet says, “It can be a little tricky at first, since the process goes very quickly, but a few tries are really all it takes.” A few tries, well, I don’t have the spare eggs for that!

So I made the next best thing – “deluxe” scrambled eggs with ham and cheese(s). I didn’t take any pictures because I’m a little embarrassed–both that it looks suspiciously like something that would come out of a MacDonald’s breakfast (although much higher quality) and because my kitchen needs a good cleaning before I can take any in-progress shots.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs

I never make more than two eggs at a time but then find myself wandering back to the kitchen. Three turned out to be too much. Can’t win there.

  • Two (thin) slices of ham, sliced into squares

This wasn’t lunch meat, but the sliced ham they sell in a package next to the “real” hams in the meat section.

  • Grated cheddar cheese

Then I had the idea to add more cheese and took a slice of pre-sliced swiss, meant for sandwiches, and cut it into fine strips so it would melt properly.

(This certainly isn’t gourmet cooking today.)

Directions:

Melt some butter in a frying pan. (I should really use my olive oil spray, but I’ve always associated cooking eggs with butter.) Toss in the ham to fry first, then the eggs and start scrambling. When the eggs are close to fully cooked, add the cheese(s) and turn down the heat so they it can melt properly without overcooking the eggs.

Too bad Andrew was in the middle of band practice so I couldn’t show off my inspiration. I know in his mind the only thing better than two cheeses is more cheeses.

Banana French Toast

Posted in Breakfast on October 17th, 2010 by admin – 1 Comment

A long time ago I remember a friend couldn’t believe I didn’t know how to make French toast.

I know how to make French toast now, and I don’t even have to look up how to do it each time (like I still do with hard boiled eggs). I’m not sure where I got the inspiration for banana French toast but once I did I looked online just enough to make sure it could be done, but I didn’t want to follow anyone’s recipe in particular so I could claim this one for my own.

This makes one two-piece serving so multiply by the number of people you’re feeding.

Ingredients:

  • Half a ripe banana

I know half a banana in a recipe is cruel, but at least it’s easy to eat the other half, unlike say half an egg.

  • 1 egg
  • Splash of milk
  • Cinnamon (lots)
  • Two slices of bread

Bananas are one of the most annoying fresh fruits to work with – if you want to buy one to eat right away, they’ll all be green in the grocery store. If you want one to brown to use in baking, you have a one or two-day window to happen to want banana toast or feel like baking. (Here we’re always one overripe banana short for banana bread too.) As long as it’s ripe enough to eat it’ll work – you’ll just have to do more smooshing.

Directions:

  1. Smoosh the banana with a fork into a bowl until it’s completely… smooshed.
  2. Stir in the egg, milk, and cinnamon (lots) until completely blended.
  3. Dip the bread into the egg mixture, trying to pick up as much banana as possible. (It won’t stick naturally while much of the egg soaks through instantly. Use the fork to help out.)
  4. Re-cinnamon the bowl if desired, before dipping the next piece of bread.
  5. Fry on a medium-hot skillet, buttered or oiled, until browned on each side.

Each egg will make enough for two pieces of toast… although sometime two and a half, which is unfortunate.


A random fact about me – I don’t like syrup. This pretty much extends to all syrups – pancake syrup, coffee syrup if used too heavily, high-fructose corn syrup. I gave maple syrup a chance since Andrew is Canadian and it seemed beneficial for me to like it but no luck. So pancakes and French toast have always been eaten with butter and powdered sugar.

Well, while visiting home as an adult, I found out from my mom that she had me use powdered sugar as a kid because syrup was too messy. So here is proof that the things you do to your kids really will affect them for life!

Taro (with cat)

Posted in Breakfast, Taro on October 14th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

I found a new frozen taro product in Uwajimaya today. “Handmade Shredded Pancake with Taro (For Vegan)”.

The top line says “Bring vigor to your lift and give meals the wholesome nutrition”.

Handmade Shredded Pancake with Taro (For Vegan)
Ingredient:
flour, water, vegetable oil, taro, sugar, salt

Cooking method:
Spread the tear pastry (oil and defrosted unnecessarily) and keep on turning to the other side of the pastry till the cake crust is swollen and the surface of the cake crust turns golden brown.
Remarks:
This product has been added with moderate seasonings; soy sauce paste, chili sauce, and other sauces can be added depending on personal taste and flavor.

I’ll give another report when I’m brave enough to open the bag and figure out those instructions. In the meantime, here is Merlin licking the bag.

Taro Pancakes

Posted in Breakfast, Taro on October 2nd, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

I would best describe taro as an awesome purple potato, that’s neither potato or purple. it’s a root vegetable, and while there is a purple hue to the inner flesh, taro dessert products are dyed to the purple color people expect the same as mint flavor is expected to be green.
When I found out that Uwajimaya had fresh taro root I had to find a recipe to use it. Had I known there was such a thing as taro pancake mix I may have never started this project but instead I jumped straight into How To Make Your Own Taro Pancake[s].

Every time I read about cooking with taro there’s a warning not to eat it raw, and be careful touching the raw flesh because it can be irritating. Luckily I’ve never had a problem with touching it bare-handed but gloves are recommended if you do.

taroI sliced off the ends and chopped away at the skin with a large kitchen knife. (I don’t think you can call this “peeling”.) Then I cut it into pieces and boiled as if I was making mashed potatoes. Unfortunately I ended up with much more taro than the recipe called for, and without anything else to do with it much of it went to waste. I’ve been really happy to see that QFC now sells what looks like mini-sized taro.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1 or 2 cups mashed (steamed or boiled) taro
  • 1/3 cup corn oil
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups water (or milk)

And then,

  • A pinch of yellow food color (optional)

I don’t understand this last one – if you wanted to dye your pancakes shouldn’t it be purple?

Directions:

Sift together the first four ingredients twice.

Don’t tell anyone, but I only sifted once!

Add the eggs and the corn oil to the sifted dry ingredients. Mix together until moistened. Add the mashed taro, and again blend together. Gradually add the water (or the milk) to the mixture. Do not try to smoothen the lumps in the batter.

Pour batter unto hot skillet and cook until golden brown turning once when top begins to bubble slightly. Serve with syrup of your choice.

I love breakfast for dinner which is what these were. These pancakes were sweet enough on their own to not need any toppings, which is great because I can’t think of what would go on taro. (I’m not a syrup person myself.)