Tag: breakfasts

Pancake breakfast sandwiches

Pancake breakfast sandwiches

Why not make a breakfast sandwich using pancakes instead of a roll? Then it is all hot and delicious, right off the grill. All you need is bacon, eggs, sausage, cheese, butter and buttermilk pancake batter.

We never actually have used a pancake mix, because this old family recipe is so quick:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • Buttermilk (a bit more than 2 cups)

mix batter

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, break in the 2 eggs and add the buttermilk to make a thickish batter.

  • 2 Tb softened butter
  • 1 Tb maple syrup
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 2 sausage patties
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices cheese
  • Butter as needed
  1. Mix the maple syrup with the butter, adding more syrup if needed to get a buttery/mapley tasting spread.
  2. Place the strips of bacon and the sausage patties on a 350° F griddle, and allow to cook slowly.

bacon sausage butter

  1. When the bacon and sausages are cooked, put them aside and keep warm.
  2. Melt 1-2 Tb butter on the griddle and drop 4 ¼ cup measures of patter onto the griddle.
  1. When one side of the pancakes are almost done (judging by bubbles forming on top) break the eggs onto the griddle and allow them to cook slowly.
  2. Flip the pancakes and let them cook.
  1. Place a sausage patty and cheese slice on two of the pancakes.
  2. When the eggs appear nearly done, flip them for 10 seconds to cook the tops, and then place them face up on top of the cheese.

butter pancakes

  1. Add two half-slices of bacon over each egg.
  2. Butter the bottom side of the remaining two pancakes with the maple butter, and top the sandwich with the butter side inside.

one sandwich

Serve right away. You can eat them with or without syrup, and with a knife and fork or in hand like a sandwich. Delicious and satisfying, and while rich, it is way less food than a classic “big breakfast.” So there!

The trick to doing the eggs right, is to cook them until they are fairly opaque and then flip them only briefly, so that the yolks stay runny.

Stay hungry!

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Poaching eggs in an Instant Pot

Put some water in the Instant Pot and add the little trivet. You ought to be able to poach eggs in some container above the trivet. Right? Right. We went through a dozen or more eggs, eggs-perimenting with this, and tell you that the answer, like all social science is “It depends,” because there are a lot of variables.

Our first trial was to put an egg into each of two little glass ramekins that we had sprayed with cooking spray, and set them on the trivet over 1 cup of water. We closed the pot and the steam vent and pressed the Manual button for 3 minutes. Since it take the pot almost 6 minutes to heat up the water and come to pressure, this actually takes 9 minutes to cook the 2 eggs. We released the pressure quickly (30 seconds) and lifted out the two ramekins on the trivet.

It took a bit of time to unmold the eggs: we ran a thin spatula knife around the edge of each dish to loosen them. And even this wasn’t that quick, because the ramekins were so hot that we had to wait a bit before we could handle them. And unmolding the eggs is delicate enough that using hot pads or gloves just won’t cut it.

But we did get the eggs out and onto toast in about 11.5 minutes. They looked fairly nice, although weird because they are actually upside down: the yolk, which would normally by on top is inverted and is now on the bottom. However, when we cut the eggs open, they were a bit overdone. The yolk was more cooked than we would like for a classic poached egg.  Moreover,  the whites were distinctly tough and rubbery.

Rubbery whites were something we saw in cooking hard-cooked eggs under pressure. It vanished if you cooked the eggs at low pressure.

3-minlp-broken-openSo we tried cooking the eggs at low pressure, reducing the time to 2 minutes. They weren’t sufficiently cooked, so we repeated the experiment at 3 minutes and low pressure. These were actually pretty nice, but again, it was hard to unmold them, and the ramekins were just as hot, so it took some time. Again, the elapsed time was at least 11.5 minutes or more, and while the eggs were cooked well, it was hard not to break them while unmolding them.

Some people have recommended poaching eggs in little silicone cups. We picked up a couple of Poach Pod cups at our local Cook’s Nook.  Some people have also tried other similar egg poacher cups like these from Zenda Home.

poach-pod-broken-openWe sprayed them with cooking spray as they recommended and cooked 2 eggs for 3 minutes at low pressure. They weren’t done, so we returned them to the pot for one more minute. These were done and looked pretty nice in their silicone cups. But, while the pods weren’t as hot as the glass ramekins, they were very difficult to get the eggs out of. In fact, even though we carefully ran the spatula knife around them, one of them broke.  Further, they were hard to center over the toast. While the eggs were cooked properly, getting them out was far too difficult, and we don’t recommend them. This took nearly 12 minutes.

Finally, for comparison, we poached two eggs in a saucepan as we have described before. It takes 3 minutes to bring a quart of water to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan, then we turn the heat down so the water is barely bubbling, swirl it with wire whisk and crack the eggs one at a time into the swirls. The eggs are done in 2-3 minutes. The total time was 6 minutes, including lifting the eggs out onto the toast. And there are many fewer dirty dishes!

So, we conclude that while it is certainly possible to poach eggs in the Instant Pot, it takes twice as long as in a saucepan, and since the cooking time is so brief, you have to watch the pot timer like a hawk so they don’t overcook. This takes away the “set it and forget it” advantages of the Instant Pot that you get for longer cooking stews or rice.

Nantucket: The Island Kitchen

Nantucket: The Island Kitchen

We first visited “The Island Kitchen” when it opened in 2013. Chef Patrick Ridge and his hard working staff have turned this into a marvelous and wildly popular breakfast place, as well as serving lunch and dinner. Sundays, when we visited are limited to brunch service, ending at 2 pm, but they serve breakfast daily 7 am – 2 pm, lunch from 11 am to 2 pm and dinner from 5:30 pm to 9 pm.

The menu is organized around some creative turns on the standard breakfast fare, the lunch menu includes “fried clucker,” which is a fried chicken breast sandwich with Franks Red Hot sauce and blue cheese dressing. The dinner menu has the convention steak and burgers, but has the very interesting Grilled Asparagus and Brie sandwich.

But we want to rave about the breakfasts! A recent newspaper survey rated the Island Kitchen as having Nantucket’s best breakfasts, and we can see why, just from two orders.

omeletOur asparagus, mushroom and cheese omelet ($12.50) was outstanding, with the eggs properly cooked but in no way tough or dry. And the asparagus had just the right amount of crunch. We rarely get an omelet that good anywhere.

And finally, their breakfast special called “Animal” ($14.50) was a culinary tour de force. It was “two panko crusted eggs, sausage, bacon and hollandaise on a brioche bun.” In fact, it looked like the cooked poached egg was rolled in the panko breadcrumbs and then quickly deep fried to hold the crust on the eggs, which were still perfectly cooked. While filling, this is an amazing breakfast offering if you are that hungry.

animal open

The Island Kitchen is at 1 Chin’s way, essentially across Pleasant Street from Stop and Shop, and somewhat recessed. There is ample parking and you are sure to have a great meal. They serve both indoors and outdoors in warm weather, and while they are likely to be busy, they are very accommodating.  Currently, they are reworking the roof over the outdoor dining and the sign is missing. Just follow the crowd.

Outdoor dining

 

Buttermilk biscuits in 15 minutes

Buttermilk biscuits in 15 minutes

There’s really not much to making buttermilk biscuits, and they make a great breakfast by themselves or with eggs. You probably have all the ingredient on hand. If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can make your own in 5 minutes using milk and lemon juice or vinegar, as they show here.

To make your biscuits, heat your oven to 450° F, and mix up the dough while the oven heats.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening or butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a medium bowl.

blender

2. Add the shortening and cut in with a pastry blender or two forks.

3. Add the buttermilk and mix briefly with a fork.

4. Combine the down better using your hands.

5. Roll out the down about ¾ inch thick.

cut  out dough6. Cut into biscuits using a cookie cutter or a drinking glass.

7. Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes at 450° F.

Remove from the oven and serve hot, with plenty of butter.

open buttered

Sour cream coffeecake for breakfast

Sour cream coffeecake for breakfast

 

You can make this delicious coffee cake in about 8 minutes work time and 30 minutes baking. The result is great just a few minutes out of the oven. Warm coffeecake with a slightly melted brown sugar topping. Add the nuts or not as you like.

The coffeecake

  • 1 ½ cups sifted flour (Easier to weigh out 189 grams.)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Brown sugar topping
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Weigh out 189 g of flour: no need to sift it. ( A cup of sifted flour weighs 126g, so 1 ½ cups weighs 189 g)flour weighing
  3. Mix the baking powder, soda and salt into the flour and stir it a bit.
  4. Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power.
  5. In a mixing bowl, add the egg, melted butter and sugar and mix with a whiskegg sugar
  6. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix.
  7. Add the flour mixture and mix until uniform.
  8. Spray a 9” square pan with cooking spray and pour in the batter.batter in pan
  9. Decorate with topping and nuts.
  10. topped in panBake at 375° F for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Allow the coffeecake to cool for 5 minutes, and then cut into 9 squares. Lift out and serve.
  12. baked

Brown sugar topping

  • 2 Tb softened butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tb flour
  • 1//2 tsp cinnamon

butter brown sugarMix the butter into the sugar and flour using a pastry blender or a couple of forks, until more or less uniform. It can still be lumpy.

blending toppingSprinkle over the top of the batter.

 

This recipe can easily be doubled for a larger crowd. It’s great for a quick company or holiday breackfast!

Taco Bell’s cage free eggs scam

more eggsTaco Bell announced this week that by the end of next year, they will be serving only cage free eggs in their breakfast menu items.  This sounds like an excuse to raise prices, since cage free eggs command a premium price. Both McDonalds and Burger King have announced longer term plans to achieve this same goal. As we will see, this is basically a marketing decision.

While many people believe that cage free housing results in better animal welfare, actual scientific studies show this isn’t true. As we described earlier, there has been some significant research on this topic, by researchers from UC Davis, Michigan State, Iowa State and the USDA. They set up 3 housing trials: conventional cages (CC), expanded cages (EC) and cage free aviaries (AV), and carried out 3 parallel studies using one flock divided into 3 parts. They then repeated the entire experiment the next year with a new flock. The experiments and data collection took about 3 years, and resulted in eight papers in the journal Poultry Science. You can read the summary of the results here.

The designs of the three systems are shown in the housing system paper. The aviary system is a large new barn. “Hens were distributed in 6 colony rows with each row divided by wire mesh screens into 10 pens along the building length. Hens had access to 10.19 cm (4.01 in) of feeder space, 15.24 cm (6 in) of perch space, and 86.32 cm2 (13.38 in2) of nest space area.”

In general, the conventionally caged birds did the best in the experiment and the cage free aviaries the worst. The aviary birds cost about $1.85 more per pullet, and showed 5% lower productivity. The aviary hens had higher mortality (13.3%) compared to 4.8% in the conventional caged system. Aviary productivity fell to 10% below the conventional cages by the end of the cycle.

On the other hand, the hens in the aviary were found to have stronger bones and thus less broken bones than the CC and EC hens, and showed more hen-like behaviors. AV and EC hens cost a great deal more than CC hens did, AV was worse for worker health and safety, and AV was worse for emissions, and EC the best for ammonia emissions.

So, it depends on what measurements are important to you, but the higher mortality of AV hens and lower worker health and safety are certainly negative indicators. You can find an interactive chart of the results here.

Our conclusion is that for animal welfare, the conventional cage systems are actually better despite popular impressions to the contrary.

We were going to illustrate this article with photos of the Taco Bell breakfast items, but there is no nearby Taco Bell  (within 20 miles) that serves breakfast. However, the reviews of these items have not been very good.

Fog Island Café: best breakfasts on the island

signEvery time we have breakfast at Fog Island, on South Water Street, we wonder why we’d go anywhere else.  The food and service are terrific, as evidenced by the crowds it attracts. We went a little later after a morning hike and had the place almost to ourselves. The breakfast menu features pancakes, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, omelets, fruits, cereal, basic egg dishes, and several styles of Eggs Benedict.

sausage biscuitWe ordered their wildly popular Sausage Biscuit ($11.95) : scrambled eggs and sausage and cheddar cheese on a homemade buttermilk biscuit. It is so good it can bring tears to your  eyes!

frtench toastAnd, we ordered their classic French toast: thick cut cinnamon bread, dipped in cinnamon batter ($10.95). It was beautiful to behold as well as to eat.

Fog Island Café serves breakfast and lunch and is open from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm (1:00 pm on Sundays). You are sure to be delighted.

Incidentally, their website doesn’t display the menus correctly using Chrome, but it works fine using Firefox, but this does not take away from the excellent food.

The Downyflake: a Nantucket tradition

facadeThe Downyflake has been serving breakfast and lunch and making terrific doughnuts since 1935. It has been operated by one family after another since that time. Currently the owners are Ron Oldham and Patti Kennedy, who were previously the chef and manager of The Ropewalk. The Downyflake is the last of a chain of restaurants started by the Donut Corporation of America, and maintains the retro chain look of that chain. While it originally was downtown, the current building is at 18 Sparks Ave, across from the Fire Station, and just down the street from Stop and Shop.

The Downyflake is noted for reasonable prices, and quick and friendly service, and is beloved by locals and tourists alike. We always try to get there a couple of times while we are on the island. The menu is simple but deliciously prepared breakfast and lunch fare along with their excellent donuts.

Flake Special
Flake Special

On this visit, we ordered the Flake Special (eggs, sausage, home fries and toast, $7.95), which was hot and perfectly prepared.

omelet
Downy omelet

We also ordered the Downy omelet ($8.50), made from mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and sour cream. Again, absolutely perfect.

Omelet cut open
Omelet cut open

Next time, we’ll go for the remarkable donuts!

Don’t miss the Downyflake while you are on the island. Parking is tight, and we were not above walking down there after shopping at Stop and Shop! And do not forget that they don’t take credit cards. However, they do have an ATM machine.donuts

Black-Eyed Susan’s continues to excel

Black-Eyed Susan’s continues to excel

signBlack-Eyed Susan’s at 10 India St on Nantucket, has the charm of a sort of “hand-made” restaurant, but a very good one. We’ve eaten there mostly for breakfasts, but they have an intriguing dinner menu as well. At breakfast, they have most of the usual dishes, plus a number of fascinating additions.

The restaurant is a lot of fun, because the kitchen is right there and you can watch them make your meal.Grill counter

Portugues scramble
Portuguese Scramble

At this visit, we tried their Portuguese Scramble: scrambled eggs with linguica, tomatoes, spinach and garlic, and found it excellent, especially when served with the Nantucket Bakeshop’s Sunflower Oatmeal bread. The linguica sausage added a mild hotness to the scramble, and the tomatoes and garlic added an excellent mixture of flavors.

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict

For our other entrée, we had their delicious Eggs Benedict, served with an ample slice of tender ham and a nice, lemony hollandaise sauce on a toasted English muffin. Not too many restaurants do this one right, but Black-Eyed Susan’s decidedly does.

On weekends, you will probably see a line for breakfast/brunch, but they move quickly and you probably won’t wait too long. In addition to their indoor seating, they have a lovely back garden with more seating in good weather.

Black-Eyed Susan’s is open from April through October, but be forewarned: they do not take credit cards.  However, they are perfectly willing to wait for you to run to the nearest ATM. They told me this happens quite often!

Rosa Rugosa
Rosa Rugosa