Stuffed Breakfast Loaf

Breakfast-Loaf-End edit

I honestly have no idea if other people are as into making serious breakfasts on the weekends like I am. If it’s a Saturday or Sunday in our home you can bet eggs, bacon, and any combination of onions, peppers, pancakes, potatoes, potato pancakes or waffles will be flying around. With as often as we make breakfast feasts, I’m always looking for fun ways to break out of our usual patterns. I ran across this recipe and decided to try my own variation.

Loaf-Hollowed-Out

Holy breakfast! This is crispy, crunchy, gooey, flavor-packed and just downright fun. It’s all of the delicious parts of breakfast foods rolled… (or boated?) into one.

StuffedBreakfastLoaf

I would be lying if I said that this experiment went totally according to plan. I had trouble finding a crusty loaf of bread that would work for this, and the second I poured the egg mixture into the bread, the egg immediately started leaking through the bread in a few different spots. So, bonus! In addition to the recipe you will get a troubleshoot of what happens if this fails for you too! All will not be lost.

Breakfast-Loaf-Baked

Ingredients:

1 baguette-style loaf of bread, 10-12 inches long
5 eggs
5 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
4 oz. medium cheddar cheese grated (I used marbled)
1/3 cup milk
2 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper

Boat-sliced2

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Hollow out loaf of bread using a bread knife and set on a baking tray. It’s best to cut a V shape first then go from there. Try to leave 3/4 in of bread at the bottom and on the sides. Whisk milk and eggs together and stir in remaining ingredients, reserving a bit of cheese for the top. Add desired amount of salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into bread boat,* top with remaining cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes until egg mixture is fully cooked.

*If the bread starts leaking, it’s ok!! Unless you have a gaping hole, the eggs will create a sort of suction between the bread and the pan and won’t all leak out. Once the egg in the bottom has started to set in the oven, about 10 minutes, whip up a few more eggs (2-3 depending on how much leaked out and will need to be replaced) with salt and pepper and quickly scramble them in a pan until 3/4 of the way cooked. Remove sheet pan with loaf, scrape off the egg that leaked (or it will burn) and add scrambled eggs into boat and mix with existing fillings.

Inside-Loaf

Once it’s out of the oven, let rest for five minutes and cut into slices. All you need is a slice or two to get a full, hearty breakfast that’s something fun and out of the ordinary. Yum! Bonus: this reheats very well in a toaster oven.

Boat-sliced

Happy weekend!


Banana-Berry Applesauce Muffins

To say I have a love-hate relationship with banana muffins may very well be an understatement.

Seeing as I eat a banana nearly every day for breakfast (our breakfast bill for the week rings up to about a whopping $2!), there are inevitably some sad, sorry bananas that go brown before they have a chance to be eaten. And so goes my experimenting with banana muffins. (Disclaimer: the photo below was taken a day before I made this recipe. Slightly more ripe is better for the recipe, but not for the eyes.)

See, I didn’t just want to make any banana muffins. I wanted to make super-duper healthy ones. Like with applesauce, or oats, or agave, or Greek yogurt. Yet my tests garnered some less-than-stellar results: some were strange textures, others nearly flavorless, others were even stranger textures.

But, fear not! I am sharing this recipe because it is a keeper. I based it off of this recipe. They are so delicious that I am proclaiming my struggle over and now I’ll have to find a new food to fight. Annnnnd there is no butter or oil, but they are still wonderfully nice and moist.

You’ll need:

2 ripe bananas
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond flavoring
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 heaping cup frozen mixed berries (I used a combination of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries)


To make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas with a fork and mix in sugar. Holding back the fruit, stir in remaining ingredients until just blended. Fold in berries. Pour batter into greased muffins tins and bake approximately 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. This makes 12 muffins.

It was so hard not to eat them all fresh out of the oven, but those piping hot pockets of berries were a good deterrent for someone who usually breaks the cooling rule.

Yum, yum, yum. And, oh happy day, I’ve finally got the winning banana muffin!


Savory Sausage and Cheese Waffles

We recently got a waffle maker and this may be the beginning of a long line of experimental waffle recipes. Don’t worry, I’ll only share the ones that work out. This is one of them.

I absolutely love a good mix of sweet and savory and these waffles hit all of those notes. These guys were cheesy and hearty with just enough sweet and salty. This is the perfect weekend brunch that will keep you filled up until late in the afternoon…or evening.

I must admit, we took a bit of a shortcut by using pancake mix instead of making them from scratch. Judge if you must, but I promise I won’t always cheat in the future.  Since running to the grocery store on a Saturday morning is not the most fun task in the world and we had no buttermilk, this seemed the most logical option. So, feel free to make this with your favorite basic waffle recipe or make one batch of waffles according to your pancake mix.

To make waffles from buttermilk pancake batter, combine 2 cups pancake mix, 1 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1 egg.

In addition to the batter, you’ll only need:

1 cup cooked maple sausage crumbles
3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Syrup or gravy for topping

Preheat waffle iron. Cook 6 oz. sausage (half of a roll) in a skillet. I use Jimmy Dean maple sausage, because I cannot get enough of items that combine sweet and savory. And the smell is heavenly. But you could use whatever kind of sausage you like. Then grate cheddar cheese. Stir sausage and cheese into waffle mix and prepare waffles according to waffle maker. See, you hardly needed directions for that, it’s so simple!

This will make six waffles. Now, I had planned to go the syrup route all along, to ultimately marry the sweet-salty profiles. At the last minute, Andy wanted gravy on his, so he whipped some up from a packet. I must say, it was not a bad call.

P.S.- We cut leftover waffles into four strips each and baked them 200 degrees in the toaster oven until crispy on the outside and used as waffle dipping sticks like you would see in a hokey commercial. Yum-wow-za!


Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Well, I’ll come out and admit it. I’ve been living under a rock my whole life. I’ve never knowingly eaten rhubarb. Until this year. I had it for the first time a few weeks ago in a to-die-for strawberry rhubarb pie (which I guess I thought only existed in kitschy story books). After seeing rhubarb at the farmer’s market shortly after this, I wanted to give it a go myself.

Wanting to keep it simple, I whipped up the easiest sauce now known to mankind. All you need is three ingredients and less than half an hour! I used agave syrup in place of sugar, so we’re practically talking about a health food here.

If you haven’t caught on by now, here are the ingredients you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups of chopped strawberries (about 1/4 inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (again, 1/4 inch pieces)
1/3 cup agave nectar

Just throw these in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for twenty minutes. Stir occasionally. Seriously, could it be any easier? I’m pretty sure opening a jar and microwaving its contents to achieve a hot sauce would be more work. And about 879 times less delicious.

It’s kind of tart and not too sweet and would be perfect on waffles, yogurt, icecream or anything else you would want to put sauce on, really. The acidic, almost lemony quality of the rhubarb balances perfectly with the rich fullness of the strawberries. Pie makers throughout time really knew what they were doing with that combination. But, I must say, going with agave was  good call, for the sake of not just health, but the taste was spot-on.

I used the sauce on some waffles made with our brand spankin’ new waffle maker. I must warn you, there may be a lot of waffle recipes on the horizon. But, in the meantime, I highly recommend you whip up a batch of this sauce.  Yummm.


Japan: Ryokan Breakfast

Drumroll, please… And now I present the much awaited (I’m sure) second part of our stay at the ryokan. If you’re wondering what had happened so far, to get up to speed check out Japan: Ryokan Dinner. We got an early start so we could fit in a day full of sights to see and things to do. Talk about a meal that fueled your body for the day! This breakfast was hearty and filling without being heavy.

Again, it was somewhat of an interactive meal. The cubes of tofu boiled in the small pot the server lit for us. One of the highlights for me was the miso soup, above on the right. This soup was at least 234.9 times better than any miso soup I’ve ever eaten before. I could seriously eat that every day for the rest of my life. It was so rich and delicate at the same time.

It was interesting attempting to differentiate what exactly constituted “Japanese breakfast foods.” Almost everything was served cold, and the only real likeness to an American breakfast was the eggs, which were served cold an in cube form. But they were quite good!

Another food item that continued to surprise me throughout the trip were “sweet beans.” Every single bean I ate in Japan was sweet. Whether being used as a bean paste filling for candy, or even sugar coated and pre-packaged, I never came across a savory bean. And this meal was no exception. I admit, they sound kind of out there, but they were actually pretty tasty.

There were also the staples: fish and a pickled something-or-other. The pickled red food above was so tart, none of us could get more than a sliver of a bite down.

We also used sheets of nori to create a sort of pincer to dig right into the bowl of rice. So, in case the meal wasn’t filling enough, there was plenty of rice to be scooped up and green tea to wash it down.

Overall, this was such a wonderful stay! There was so much tradition and culture packed into this little overnight that getting a bang for our buck here is a gross understatement. Hope you enjoyed a tiny little glimpse into our ryokan experience!


Corned Beef Hash and Rye French Toast

The last few times Andy and I have gone out for brunch, he’s ordered corned beef hash. After repeatedly being served canned, tasteless hash, we knew it was time to do it the right way, and the best way to do that was make it ourselves. This was the perfect post-St. Patty’s day brunch. Even the rye bread from the day before became a delicious, flavor-filled French toast.

We simply diced up most of our meal from the evening before. Potatoes (already cooked with garlic and Parmesan cheese), grilled onions and corned beef.  There was enough oil added in the previous meal that we didn’t need to add anything additional to the hash, simply heat it in the pan.

As for the French toast, I added a bit more of certain ingredients to my usual French toast recipe to stand up to the flavorful, spicy rye bread. For four pieces of rye bread, combine two eggs, a half cup of soymilk (which I think gives a richer flavor when cooking sweet foods, but you can use any type of milk you like), two teaspoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Soak for a few seconds on each side and cook over medium heat in a pan with a small slice of melted butter.

Add a side of any type of eggs you like. We opted to put the hash in our eggs omelet-style. This is a wonderfully hearty brunch that includes the best of sweet and savory and is packed with flavor. And to think anyone would want to serve this out of a can…