Category Archives: Breakfast

Blood Orange Marmalade

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I’ve only dabbled a bit in canning. A jam here and there and a batch of salsa. But I am mad for marmalade. I have made marmalade 3 weeks in a row. I think it’s the process of learning and trying to get it down pat that has led to this obsession. To be honest, I don’t even intend to eat all of what I made, I just like making it. If this obsession doesn’t stop soon, I will be a perfect candidate for Intervention and Hoarders.

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Lola’s Smashed Potatoes

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Lola’s was our brunch spot when R and I went to Seattle. I have never been a fan of side dishes, they’re pushed aside so I can focus on the main.

When I had to restrain myself from eating all of the smashed potatoes in order to finish my eggs benedict, I knew I had to re-create these at home. I was reeled in by the crisp potato skins which contrasted the soft insides. And the spices! There was nothing bland about it.

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Eggs with Fresh Green Herbs

Eggs with fresh green herbs

R is usually the one that makes breakfast in the household. It usually involves eggs, potatoes and whatever random spices/ingredients he wants to use that day. My breakfasts are always a little bit more structured and often never the same recipe.

These eggs from Madhur Jaffrey’s book Quick and Easy Indian Cooking have so much flavour to them. There is minimal prep work involved with big results. If you’re cautious about the heat, I would start off with half of a chile and adjust accordingly next time you make it. Make sure to do prep everything beforehand as you’ll need all the ingredients on hand right away.

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Tiger Cake

Tiger cake

No, this cake does not have tiger blood in it and is not related to Charlie Sheen (or any of his cooking methods).

I can’t get enough of Alice Medrich lately and I’ve had this cake in my head for years. It’s from her book Bittersweet, a cook book that I’m fond of as it was the catalyst for my love of baking.

I’ve wanted to try this recipe since I bought the book, but I think I was too intimidated by the ingredients white pepper and olive oil (at the time I was used to things that you heat in a microwave and called it a meal).

You make your batter and then you take a portion of it and add the cocoa mixture so you can do your layers. This is supposed to be self-marbleizing, but mine came out more as a gentle wave, but I didn’t split my layers as evenly as I would have liked to.

The cake comes out moist and the chocolate is deep and rich. Because this cake is olive oil based, you need to use a flavourful one (and probably a somewhat expensive one). It doesn’t help that the recipe calls for a cup of this liquid gold. I ran out of my good stuff and substituted half with some EVOO from Whole Foods. You can taste the olive oil flavour, so try to use something decent. There’s only a hint of white pepper in this and I was wasn’t too sure if I’d add 1/4 teaspoon more next time, but I think that the 1/2 teaspoon gives just the right amount of heat and doesn’t overpower. It’s like a little tickle instead of a slap in the face.

If you do make this cake, please please please try it toasted the next day. It was Medrich’s recommendation and I’m glad I followed it. It gives the cake a much different character. I will pretty much be eating this cake for breakfast until it runs out.

Recipe here. (Note: Medrich specifically states natural cocoa powder, not dutch-processed. I’m guessing this was omitted as it’s hard to come by in Canada. I bought mine from King Arthur Flour.)

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Skillet Strata with Cheddar and Thyme

Sillet Strata

With a leftover baguette from dinner the night before, I decided to make a skillet strata.

A strata is a layered casserole of day-old bread, eggs, cheese and milk. It’s similar to a fritata or quiche. This is from More Best Recipes by Cook’s Illustrated. Instead of a usual strata where you leave everything mixed up for a few hours up to overnight before baking, you can bake this immediately after putting everything together. This recipe reminds me of a quiche that is light and fluffy. R says that this is meal you could make when you invite people over for brunch.

If you don’t have day-old bread, you can just toast the bread in a pan for a little bit.

Sillet Strata

Skillet Strata with Cheddar and Thyme for 2 (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients

3 eggs
3/4 milk
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 ounces of grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion
day-old baguette or any white bread cut into 1″ cubes*
salt and pepper
*Note: cut as many as will fit nicely on the bottom of the pan

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Whisk eggs, milk, thyme, salt and pepper.
2. Melt butter in an 8″ oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened and lightly browned.
3. Add bread and mix until the bread is nicely toasted and is evenly coated in the mixture.
4. Take the pan off the heat and add the egg mixture. Make sure you press on the bread cubes so it absorbs the mixture.
5. Pop it into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. It should puff up and the edges will have pulled away slightly when it’s done.
6. Let it rest for 5 minutes. This is so the eggs cook perfectly from the residual heat. If you don’t let it rest, you run the risk of runny eggs.

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