Valentine’s Day Breakfast ideas

Take Valentine’s Day/ Snow Day breakfast up a notch this year with these cool spins on egg sammies and p-cakes. If your in the northeast and have been hit by the snow fairies, you probably have a little extra time in the morning to cook these up.

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food_photography egg sandwich with arugula-1

out of maple syrup?

try a homemade strawberry syrup. Add a few spoonfuls of strawberry jam and some mashed strawberries to a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes. ricotta pancakes with berries-1

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One Big Apple Walnut Pancake

Would you believe I am in my third decade of life on this great earth, and I just learned the story of Johnny Appleseed? We played the Disney cartoon on YouTube for the kids, and I wept like a baby. Walt Disney has a way of doing that, you know. Making people cry during cartoons.

But I was the only one in tears. I think it was something about Johnny traveling the country barefoot that got to me. I once camped in Lake Michigan for a week without shoes, and to this day I am never completely comfortable unless my feet can feel the ground.

 

So I know we are all ready for something cleansing and healthy after a night of candy collecting and sugar sampling.

So this Apple Pancake is just the ticket for a fresh start. October apples are so full of flavor, I always feel guilty hiding them under piles of sugar pies and butter crisps. So here things are kept straight and simple with just a sprinkle of sugar, a dotting of butter and just enough milk and flour to keep them together.

One Big Apple Walnut Pancake

Ingredients:

3-4 medium apples, cored and sliced

1 Tablespoon butter

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup milk or almond milk

1/3 cup applesauce

Pinch of salt

For the topping:

3 Tablespoons sugar

3 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

Cast Iron Skillet Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a cast iron skillet, saute apple slices in butter until softened, about 5-7 minutes. While they are cooking, whisk together the flour, milk and applesauce in a bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Pour the liquid batter directly onto the apples in the cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the sugar-walnut mixture on top. Transfer to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes.

Baking directions:

In an ovenproof dish, such as a pie plate or Quiche plate, arrange the apples in the dish and dot with the butter. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until softened. While the apples are baking, whisk together the flour, milk and applesauce in a bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and walnuts.  Remove the apples from the oven and pour on the batter. Sprinkle the sugar-walnut mixture on top. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm.

Vanilla Bean Biscotti: Here’s to the Crunchy Ones

Biscotti originated in Italy, and the first recipes consisted of nothing more than sugar, flour, eggs, salt and baking powder.  Its crunchy composition is designed for dipping and dunking into piping hot beverages or even a sweet after dinner wine.  Tales are told of parents giving Vanilla Bean Biscotti to their teething children, and many believe its nourishing properties helps birthing women regain their strength after labor.

Now that’s one powerful cookie.

At some point, Americans starting adding butter to the recipe, which created a more tender texture that doesn’t necessarily need to be dunked. But for those of us who don’t mind a few crumbs in the coffee cup, this vanilla bean biscotti has a great crunchy vanilla flavor on its own, but the addition of 1/2 cup of chopped or slivered almonds is a welcome contribution.

Traditional Vanilla Bean Biscotti

Since this doesn’t have any additional nuts, spices or dried fruit, I used a fresh whole vanilla bean to create a really nice vanilla-y flavor.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour Biscotti Recipe

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean pod

2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl, and add the vanilla bean seeds. Whisk or beat in really well to make sure the vanilla seeds are completely mixed in, not in one clump. Add baking powder, salt and flour. Mix well. The dough will be thick and kinda sticky.

Place the dough onto the lined baking sheet and form two even “logs” with the dough.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and reduce the oven temp to 325. After it cools slightly, spritz the logs lightly with water. Start slicing the log into 3/4 inch thick pieces.

Arrange the slices on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container. These will keep for several weeks.

Warning: Do not attempt to eat these undunked. Way too crunchy.

Making Peace with Blueberry Bread

A rare phenomenon involving a baked good occurred in the home today. When goods are baked in my home, they are consumed immediately. After all, what could be better than freshly baked bread?  But this one was different.  There was something about this Blueberry Bread that I just couldn’t bring myself to slice a void in these strategically placed blueberries, creatively arranged by my 3-year-old.

Whatever it was about this Blueberry Bread, every time I walked into the kitchen and caught a glimpse of it sitting on my sunlit counter, it somehow made the puddle of spilled (or intentionally dumped) juice on the floor seem not quite so sticky, the pile of day-old dirty dishes in the sink seem not so high, and the obstacle course of abandoned toys seem like an ingenious exercise routine. Whatever it was, this Blueberry Breakfast Bread made the world a better place. I hope it does the same for you.

This bread is healthi-fied by cutting out a lot of the sugar and butter that many of its coffee cake cousins contain. The wheat flour lends it a really earthy flavor, and the yogurt makes it kind of dense and moist. This is great breakfast bread; hearty, filling and not overly sweet.

Blueberry Breakfast Bread

1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup plain yogurt (use whole milk or low-fat yogurt)

2-3 tablespoons milk, as needed to thin out yogurt

2 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup of blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter the baking dish. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, yogurt, milk and melted butter. Stir well to combine.

Add the yogurt mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Pour or spoon batter into a 9x 13 rectangle baking dish or equivalent size round dish. Sprinkle the berries on top, gently pressing them into the bread. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until center is set and edges are golden brown.

The addition of lemon would really take the flavor up a notch here. I had a slice with a swipe of lemon curd. Lemon zest in the batter would be nice, too.