Friday, January 6, 2012

Breakfast Of Champions

Ali and Frazier, Philadelphia 2003
I’ve been waiting for the right occasion to use this picture I took at the Newseum some time ago. It was from a special exhibit of sports photos by the amazing photographer Walter Iooss. The original (not my silly photo of it) is incredible. You can see the actual one on this site, but showing it does allow me to bring up the topic of breakfast.

I always use New Year's Day as an excuse for a breakfast of bagels and all the good stuff that goes with them - smoked salmon, whitefish salad, vegetable cream cheese, lox cream cheese. Plus a frittata is always good.

Here is the frittata I made –

Potato And Onion Frittata (serves 6)
Printable recipe here

1/4 cup good olive oil (I often double the amount of oil to avoid sticking. Since you’re draining the onions and potatoes, it’s not as bad as it could be...or so I tell myself.)
2 large onions, sliced
2 big Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 tsps. salt, divided
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 zucchini, cubed
1/2 yellow squash, cubed
6 eggs
1/2 cup Swiss cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
handful of parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat oil on medium heat in a heavy bottomed, medium saucepan. Stir in onions, potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt. When you hear a sizzle, turn down the heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent sticking. (Every stove is different. When you lift the lid, there should be a good head of steam even on low heat. If not, raise the heat just a bit, but you want the onions softening, not browning.)

Stir in the chopped red pepper and cubed zucchini and yellow squash. Continue cooking until onions and potatoes are completely soft, at least 15 to 20 minutes total. Remove pot from heat, uncover and leave to cool just a bit.

Beat eggs with remaining teaspoon of salt, cheese and parsley. Stir in onion and vegetable mixture.

Pour into an 8 inch square glass baking dish, which has been sprayed with Pam. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until the center comes out mostly clean when tested with a toothpick. Cut into squares and serve.

(The frittata is really good served with tzatziki, which I had leftover from the night before.)

I followed our late New Year’s Day breakfast with my favorite cookie of the moment (more about that at the end of this post), James Beard’s Apple Cake (email me for the recipe), clementines and chocolate-dipped fruit from Prides Crossing Confections (a gift from my father – the chocolate is fantastic).

By the way, I also made clementine mimosas (sorry, no picture). Amazing. Clementine juice is sooo delicious. I (actually, it was a young person on the premises) put them through a juicer (without their skin) and we got loads of juice out of them. Half clementine juice and half champagne was the perfect combination. Realllllllly good!

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

The night before, to ring in the New Year, I went with a few new snacks this year. I loved this Food52 recipe - Buffalo Mozzarella with Balsamic Glazed Plums, Pine Nuts and Mint.

Basically you boil down balsamic vinegar, add some plums (I used peaches) and cook them for a bit.

They get served with mozzarella and toasted pine nuts. Yummy.

I liked the leftovers over a spinach salad the next day.

I’ve been making these sausages from Trader Joe’s a lot lately. I often serve them with TJ's wonderful pretzel bread.

These are the Chicken Andouille ones, but I was serving veggie-lovers for New Year’s, so I used Tofurkey Italian Sausages, which were nowhere near as bad as you would have thought. The trick for any kind of sausage, no matter how left wing, is to cook it until it’s browned and crispy.

Then I toasted slices of the pretzel bread in a pan in the toaster oven (so one side stays soft). I slathered half the slices of bread with a tangy coarse mustard and the other half with a sweet one. I topped them with the sausages and a slice of gherkin is always nice too.

I also had to make my favorite dip with my favorite tzatziki. This time instead of plating it -

I bowled it.

For something sweet, I made a variation of Jamie Oliver’s Chocolate Pots. I've been making these for ages and they’re basically tiny servings of spoonable chocolate truffles. I use (unused) votive candle holders as their little bowls.

I did something different this time. I made one half of the recipe as written, with semi-sweet chocolate. I filled the “bowls” halfway and let them set for 20 minutes in the fridge. Then I made half the recipe with WHITE chocolate and poured that over the semi-sweet chocolate. The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Pot sets up just like a truffle. You can spoon it out, but it’s stiff. The white chocolate mixture doesn’t set and has the consistency of a mousse or pudding, so it’s like a sauce on top of the chocolate. SO GOOD. I finished them with chocolate nibs (not pictured).

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

PS Here’s more info about that Ali/Frasier picture, written by Walter Iooss.

PPS I tried this cookie recipe awhile ago. I thought it was a bit cakey and not sweet enough. BUT I LOVED the little trick at the end – You hold back some of the cranberries, chips and nuts and stud the tops of the cookies with them after they’ve been baking for five minutes.

Now I just make the normal Toll House cookie recipe with white and dark chips and dried cranberries. After 5 minutes of baking, I add 2 small pieces of hand-chopped semisweet chocolate (or chips will do), 2 small pieces of hand-chopped white chocolate and two pieces of whatever nut I’m using and a couple of dried cranberries to the top of the cookies. I love the chunky, chewy look it gives.


Cynthia said...

I can't wait to dine at your table again. You always make an awesome feast.

Happy New Year darling!

Sue said...

Thanks Cyn!
You tell me the time and I'll have dinner waiting for you. And, this time, I won't make YOU do the cooking!

Abandoned By Wolves said...

I always look forward to your cooking recipes/lessons, even more than your TV show reviews. I can't wait to have a go at the frittata and the pretzel bread "thing". Many thanks for sharing this little treasure trove of goodies!

Emily said...

Everything looks amazing! I want it all. The sausage, mustard and pretzel bread appetizer looks particularly wonderful.

And the cookies! Gosh, they look good.