Breakfast & Brunch

Eggs are cheap

March 10, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Frittata with Caramelized Shallots

I’m trying my hardest not to allow these new adventures in mommyhood to overtake this here blog. Because while I know you’re all very kind, you came here to talk food, not listen to me babble on about my new found responsibility, fun as he is.

Yah yah, Carolyn. We know, we know. You’re sleep deprived, you’re lucky if you have a chance to brush your teeth, and you’re not leaving the confines of your house for the next 5 years. We get it. Show us the food.

While I can’t guarantee the little one will not sneak in to play every now and again, I can promise there will always, always be food. Because everyone poops eats (Oops. I clearly cannot escape the cute and comical baby shtuff taking over our life). On that note, let’s talk frittata!

Babies are expensive. Eggs are cheap. We’ve been eating lots of eggs.
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Where I’ve been (and a loaded banana bread)

October 2, 2010

Chunky Monkey Banana Bread

I really and truly have not forgotten about you. Scout’s honor.

While I have every intention of finding my way back to this fun space on a more regular basis, at the moment I’m a bit indisposed. Aside from the fact that my appetite and desire to cook has waned a bit (and at times, a lot) over the past few months, I’ve also chosen to spare you from notes about the gourmet delicacies emerging from our kitchen. I can’t imagine you’d have found my saltine, spicy pickle relish and sharp cheddar cheese tea sandwiches all too appetizing. I’m also a tad reluctant to divulge a recent interest (er, obsession) with Cheetos, french fries and meat (roasts, steaks, meatballs, the whole nine).

And if you still haven’t caught my drift, about six months back a little something of a blue line, or double blue line, or exclamation point, or smiley face or some other nondescript abstract symbol appeared one Monday saying “wake up, kiddos, you’re, uh, havin’ a kiddo”, and indicated we had about nine months to fuss over names and nursery colors and colleges (teasing – kind of – and not before we stared at each other blankly for about three weeks, hoping the other would have a rational response to “well, what do we now?”). This puts us a mere thirteen weeks away from adding diapers and wipes and extra bold coffee, red wine and feta cheese to the top of the shopping list. I can’t promise two to three recipes/posts per week in the coming months (er, years) as I did so ambitiously following this blog’s launch, but I hope to drop by weekly at minimum. For my sanity’s sake, at least.
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A spicy craving

May 14, 2010

Spicy Ginger Muffins with Buttermilk Glaze

For the past month I’ve been on a major breakfast smoothie kick. This is odd, seeing as how I’ve never really loved meals in a glass. I want texture and chew, something warm and satisfying in the morning. But what started as the solution to an unusually warm morning and a lack of interest in anything that might cause a make-up melt down, resulted in a daily ritual of a little milk, a little yogurt, a frozen banana, some berries, a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed and a couple fistfuls of spinach (which, I kid you not, is undetectable, save the slightly off-putting resulting color) whirred together in the blender, which has recently acquired its own very valuable corner of limited counter space.

And so we continued, this morning ritual and I, until recently when my body copped a major attitude and was all like No more smoothies. No more vegetables for breakfast. No more pea green glop. I WANT A FREAKING MUFFIN! Bssshh. [Snap.]

 A spicy muffin for a spicy attitude.
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On baking

March 19, 2010

White Cheddar and Black Pepper Scones

Baking is what first landed me in the kitchen, years ago when the sound of my mom’s stand mixer usually meant a layer cake or whipped frosting. Catching her donning her apron suggested something sweet was in the works. A pie, her favorite thing to bake, meant leftover pie dough rolled with cinnamon and sugar and baked until golden brown would be waiting for us kids on the counter in little dishes. Yes, scraps! Spice cake meant penuche icing and devil’s food promised bright white marshmallowy boiled frosting. Either way, I was there with a spoon, eager for a dip into the leftovers. I remember watching her bake peanut butter cookies, rolling balls of dough in sugar then branding each with a fork-pronged crosshatch. She is so good at this. And when they emerged from the oven, accompanied by a scent I was convinced would also exist in Heaven, they cooled on brown paper grocery bags which seemed to occupy every inch of counter space. One of my favorite sights. I’d sashay into the kitchen. Whatcha doin’? And would leave with one (or a few) warm golden cookies. These moments stand out so vividly in my memory. Good times, good aromas, and, of course, good eats.

I don’t remember when I first wanted to do the baking myself. Here I was surrounded by amazing women who baked. And baked well. Mom’s pies and layer cakes. Grammy’s spritz cookies and pizzelles. Grandma’s potica and yeast rolls. And all of my aunts and extended family who followed in their mothers’ footsteps. Over time, holidays brought not one batch of almond crescents, but several, from the matriarch and her children who desired to carry on traditions. The changing of the cookie and nut roll guards. Perhaps this is what led me to bake. The unwritten, unspoken handing down of tradition. Not so much an expectation or duty, but rather a “hey, if you’re interested, here’s Grammy’s thumbprint recipe”. Though my one dear aunt did entrust me with my grandmother’s potica recipe along with an encouraging nudge to keep this tradition alive. I’ve committed to mastering that recipe, all five or so typed pages of it. I’ve tackled it once but have many more attempts ahead of me. You will likely hear about that recipe one day.

And so I started baking because I really enjoy the art of it all. I enjoy replicating recipes which have made regular appearances at family gatherings and holidays for as long as I can remember. I re-live certain baking memories, like cooling peanut butter cookies on brown paper bags, and create my own traditions, like toffee bars for Kyle’s birthday and chocolate covered cherries at Thanksgiving. There is a comfort in baking that drives me to bake two dozen scones on a Saturday afternoon for no particular reason. No family function or girls’ brunch. Just because. A tribute to the many who baked (and continue to bake) before me.
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Bring it, March

February 27, 2010

Baked Eggs in Tomato-Parmesan Sauce

March appears to be working its way into 2010 like a blustery, snow blowing, hail throwing, sleet casting helluva lion. But that’s okay. Really. Because even if next month brings more snow, sleet, ice and cold, we’ve made it to March. And after March comes April and, well, need I say more? It’s all down hill from there. In the Midwest/Great Lakes region we can get ready for asparagus and spinach, then cherries and berries. Before you know it, we’ll be stuffing our faces with sweet corn, vine-ripe tomatoes and all the zucchini we can handle.

So while we hunker down to wait out the last(!) weeks of this winter weather, we’ll keep warm with another batch of this soup and this bake and these eggs. These eggs which are perfect for any time of day, are easily prepped ahead of time and cost mere pennies (ok, I can’t validate this, but it’s an inexpensive dish). These eggs which bake until just set in a simple tomato sauce spiked with garlic and rosemary and Parmesan. These eggs which pair perfectly with some hearty whole grain toast or crusty garlic bread for dipping and mopping. These eggs which, when enjoyed while cozied in your favorite corner of the couch, make watching the last of the snow drifts and swirls a bit more bearable. Bring it, March.
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