Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Summer Brekkie 2016

(I wrote this post before school started, but finally got around to posting it after the craze of college settled down. If you're still on summer break, savor your freedom by making one of these brekkies!)

There’s exactly 7 more days until I head off to college. 7 more days until I’m 18. 7 more days until I’m not considered a child anymore. 7 more days until I can have a credit card under my own name. Despite all these official sounding things that come with the age 18, it’ll be a long while before the child in me grows up. 

Enough with the tornado of emotions and along with this post! As the Golden Summer With No Responsibilities began, I started making simple breakfasts for my mom and I using whatever I could find in the fridge, using minimal to no guidance from recipes. Since I usually bake whenever I’m in the kitchen, which requires following specific recipes and exact measurements, just improvising as I go was like a breath of fresh air and quite fun. With baking, the excitement comes from seeing what is essentially a wet, sticky mass get transformed into a beautiful treat. With improvisational cooking, it was exciting to take a bunch of random ingredients from the fridge and see how my mind pairs them together to make a complete dish. I’m certainly not at the Chopped-improvisational level yet- I don’t think I could ever figure out how to cook things like cow testicles in 30 minutes. But after dabbing my toes in the sea of cooking this summer, I am definitely excited to dive right in. 

I would call this first breakfast a breakfast bruschetta flight. I love any kind of toast, so I took random toast-worthy ingredients from my fridge and made 4 different toppings. From left to right- melted cheddar cheese with creamy scrambled eggs, peanut butter and banana, tahini spread and pastrami and heirloom cherry tomatoes, and cream cheese and strawberry jam. My personal favorites were the cheese and eggs and the cream cheese and jam. So simple, but so good!

This next breakfast I made quite a few times over the summer- 2 ingredient banana pancakes. I first discovered this recipe a couple years ago through Blogilates. I remember the first time I tried making it- they turned out to be banana flavored scrambled eggs. It wasn’t bad, but maybe not the most aesthetically appealing. After a couple more attempts, I found that adding a couple tablespoons of any kind of flour- coconut, AP, almond, whatever- a pinch of baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract made for something that looked and tasted more like an actual pancake. Cooking a small amount at a low heat is also a good tip to help the pancakes stay whole. Overall, these are a great healthy alternative to pancakes when you’re craving something carby and sweet in the morning!
  1. Mash 1 banana thoroughly. Add in 2 eggs and whisk until completely combined. Add a pinch of salt, around 2 tablespoons of flour, a pinch of baking powder, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. 
  2. Heat some oil (I used coconut oil) in a nonstick pan on medium-low heat. Pour about an 1/8 of a cup of batter. Flip carefully when small bubbles appear. 

I’m quite proud of this next breakfast- I successfully made a decent looking omelette! Huge props to those chefs at the omelette station that make folding and flipping omelettes with a gazillion toppings look easy as pie. I could not have been more awkward trying to fold the eggs over the toppings. But all that matters is that it came out delicious! I just used some leftover rotisserie chicken from Costco, grated cheddar cheese, and chopped green scallions as the filling. Again, so simple, but so good!

Up next is one of my favorite breakfasts of the summer! French toast once with mango compote and another time with strawberry compote. But this isn’t just any ordinary French toast. I used the most incredible, dreamlike bread- a chestnut white bread from Paris Baguette that is just unbelievably soft and fluffy, with bits of sweetened chestnuts scattered throughout. I know using a more sturdy bread like a French bread or challah is encouraged for French toast, but the inside of this soft bread becomes almost like a creamy custard or pudding when it cooks on the pan after being soaked in the milk mixture. It feels like you’re slicing into a stick of very soft butter- not completely melted, but softer than room temp. But the outside develops a crisp crust, the most beautiful contrast to the custard-like inside- cooking the bread in butter is a must for this heavenly, golden appearance. Paired with an incredibly easy fruit compote, this French toast is a classic breakfast that will always hit the spot. 

  1. Prepare custard mixture. For 8 1/2-inch slices: 4 eggs, 2/3 cup milk, 2 tsp cinnamon. Whisk all ingredients together in a shallow bowl.
  2. Melt a tablespoon of butter on a skillet on medium-low heat. Soak 1/2 inch slices of bread in mixture for about 15 seconds, flipping halfway. Cook the soaked pieces of bread on each side until golden brown. 
  3. Fruit compote: In a small saucepan, add 3 TB of water, about 1-2 cups of fruit, and 1-2 TB of sugar. Cook over medium low heat for about 5-7 minutes until thickened and reduced.

Although the banana pancakes from earlier in the post are certainly delicious, sometimes you just gotta have the real deal. For these occasions, this blueberry pancake recipe is perfect. I used a recipe that I had pinned way back when I first started using Pinterest- Clinton St. Baking Co.’s famous blueberry pancakes. Clinton St. Baking Co. is a breakfast place in NYC well-known for their blueberry pancakes. They’re originally paired with a compote and maple butter, but I just made the compote because I didn’t have enough maple syrup for the butter. Just the compote and pancakes together made a quality pancake experience. Although the whipped egg whites are an extra labor of love, it’s well worth it for that fluffy, light interior and crisp exterior. My personal favorite type of pancake. I imagine the pancakes would be even more incredible with that maple butter. Definitely going to trying this recipe again with the whole shabang whenever I get the chance.

Recipe link: Top With Cinnamon

Hope you enjoyed these blurbs about my favorite breakfasts of the summer! Even if you think you're horrible at cooking or don't want to take the time to make your own breakfast, sitting down with something as simple as toast with PB and bananas is sure to brighten your day. Society is all about hustle and bustle, but screw society and treat yourself to a peaceful, homemade breakfast. 

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