I’m weird about breakfast. Other than coffee, I can’t bear the idea of eating at such an early time of the day.
But breakfast foods, whatever they may be, are some of my favorites. What’s not to love about all of the sweet stuff — French toast, pancakes and cinnamon rolls, for goodness sake! — and the various egg-and-potato combinations you can have, too?
Because I’ve always loved breakfast items, I’m often eating some kind of scrambled/fried/poached egg dealie at night.
Don’t get me wrong. I love spending time around the table with friends. I just like doing this in the evenings, not in an enormous swath of time that starts somewhere before noon and ends in the middle of the day.
Easter falls into that category of easily going either way. It can be breakfast. You can call it lunch. Or dinner, even.
This year, if you want to have folks over early, make as much as you can in advance, so your afternoon isn’t killed by all the cleanup. All of these recipes — including the poached eggs — can be cooked ahead of time, or made at the very last minute. Easy peasy.
Now, let’s go steal the kids’ chocolate eggs.
Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of “Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking With a French Accent” (Running Press, $25). www.cowgirlchef.com, @cowgirlchef.
Oatmeal, almond and blueberry muffins
Makes 2 dozen mini muffins
- Olive oil, for greasing the muffin tins
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup Greek or full-fat yogurt
- 2/3 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 24-cup muffin tin with olive oil.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the almond flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, Greek yogurt, applesauce, brown sugar and lemon zest. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is moistened. Gently fold in the blueberries.
4. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full and bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are just barely browned. Let cool five minutes, then release the muffins from the tin (go around the muffin edges with a knife, if needed, but they should pop right out), and let cool completely on a rack.
Advance planning: These take very little time to put together and bake, so I’d probably bake these the morning I’m serving them, but if you’d like to take this off your list, simply bake them the day before, store in the fridge and warm them for 10 to 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven the next day.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 82 calories, 2 grams fat, 11 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 9 milligrams cholesterol, 143 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 25 percent of calories from fat.
Cast-iron skillet home fries
Makes 4 servings
- 1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes, such as Yukon gold
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and put them in a medium saucepan covered with water. Turn the heat to high and when it boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook just until you can pierce the potatoes with a fork, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, using a colander.
2. Put the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the potatoes and let them cook until brown and crispy on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be sure to not turn these too often. The potatoes need to crisp on one side before you flip them over. Salt and pepper as you go. Serve hot.
Advance planning: The day before, boil the potatoes. Refrigerate them overnight and simply crisp them in the skillet the next morning.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 260 calories, 14 grams fat, 30 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, no cholesterol, 43 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 47 percent of calories from fat.
Poached eggs over grits with Parmesan and ham
Makes 4 servings
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup grits or polenta (quick-cooking)
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped ham (I used an Italian seasoned ham)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1. Poach the eggs, working in batches. (I use a deep saucepan to cook two at a time.) Fill a saucepan with 4 inches of water and place over high heat. When it boils, reduce to a simmer. Crack eggs, one at a time, into a wire mesh colander so the watery part of the white drips off. Gently pour the egg into a small ramekin or bowl. If you’re poaching 2 eggs at the same time, get the second one ready, too. One at a time, gently lower the bowls into the simmering water and pour out the eggs. Set the timer for 2 minutes. Take the eggs out and put them on paper towels to drain slightly.
2. To make the grits: Boil 3 cups of water. When it boils, reduce the heat, add the grits and stir. Salt to taste. (Cooking won’t take long, maybe not even a minute.) Add the cheese and ham. Spoon grits into shallow bowls and add the poached eggs. I like to add Parmesan curls on top — just use a vegetable peeler to make the curls.
Advance planning: The day before, poach the eggs. Keep them in a water bath in the fridge overnight and the next day; simply warm them through in simmering water. The morning of, grate the Parmesan. Dice the ham. Cook the grits.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 357 calories, 15 grams fat, 32 grams carbohydrates, 21 grams protein, 437 milligrams cholesterol, 472 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber, 39 percent of calories from fat.
Angel food cakes with lemon-ginger whipped cream and strawberries
Makes 12 cakes
For the cakes:
- Butter, for greasing the muffin pan
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup (about 6) egg whites, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the whipped cream:
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
- Pinch ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
For the berries:
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar
- Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and generously grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter.
2. Sift together powdered sugar and flour and set this aside.
3. In mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, pour in egg whites and add the cream of tartar and salt. Turn to low-medium speed and beat until the egg whites start to become foamy. Add the vanilla. Crank it up to medium and when they start to hold a shape, turn speed to medium-high.
4. When egg whites hold stiff peaks, turn off the mixer and fold in the sugar-flour mixture in four additions. Be careful folding in the dry ingredients. You don’t want the egg whites to fall. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes. Let the cakes cool on a rack, in the pan, for at least 15 minutes before turning them out.
5. Pour whipping cream into a clean mixer bowl, also fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix it on low. As it thickens, add the zest, ginger and powdered sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until the whipping cream holds a shape. Note: You may do this in advance and keep in the fridge for a few hours.
6. Macerate the strawberries. Put the sliced berries in a bowl with the sugar and toss. You can also do this in advance — the longer the berries hang out in the sugar syrup, the sweeter they’ll be.
7. To serve, put 2 cakes on a serving plate, spoon berries over them and top with whipped cream. You may also sprinkle them with powdered sugar.
Cowgirl tip: Separate the eggs while they are still cold — it’s easier to do — then leave the whites out to come to room temperature. Use the yolks to make homemade ice cream or creme brulee.
Advance planning: The day before, make the cakes. That morning, whip the cream and prepare the berries.
Nutritional analysis per cake: 100 calories, 4 grams fat, 13 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 14 milligrams cholesterol, 60 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 36 percent of calories from fat.
Adapted from a recipe found on www.mybakingaddiction.com.