Living overseas for most of my life I experienced a variety of breakfast foods. In Germany, they typically serve cereals/muesli, brotchen with meat and cheese, jams and herb cheese spreads, and a boiled egg. In France, you have coffee or juice with a croissant or pastry. In Russia, it’s Blini or rice porridge. In England, it’s cereal or the traditional English Breakfast. Needless to say, over the years I have become a lover of breakfast foods and usually try at least one breakfast spot when traveling. My friend and I love breakfast foods so much that we made it a regular date to try new breakfast places in our city together. We shared some good laughs and memories over freshly cooked pancakes or breakfast sandwiches.
Let’s talk about some of the common breakfast foods out there and I’ll give you a few tips along the way.
Eggs: The most versatile of the breakfast foods, eggs are a cheap and easy source of protein. They can be fried, scrambled, poached, boiled, made into a quiche, omelet, muffins, frittata, and casserole. There are so many options within each of these categories that the world of eggs is just waiting to be explored. The best scrambled eggs are made using butter in the pan and a silicone spatula to move them around. For boiled eggs with a runny yolk, cook them for about 6-7 minutes once the water has boiled. For a medium yolk cook for 8-9 minutes and for a hard yolk cook for 9-10 minutes. Put the eggs in the water after it has come to a boil. If you want a challenge, try making a poached egg. The last time I made a poached egg was in culinary school. It takes some practice and time to get it right, but can be worth it in the end.
French Toast: If you’re willing to put in the time, French toast is worth it. However, I have found that you need the right bread. Go for a thicker, fluffy white bread that will absorb the liquid easily. My personal favorite is Challah bread which you can find at Bread & Butter on Fridays or Brioche which I’ve seen at Publix. French toast can be made a variety of ways from overnight and sweet to stuffed and savory. My two favorites are overnight, especially when it’s for a crowd, and this delicious recipe from Serious Eats. Yes, you sprinkle sugar on the bread while it’s cooking, but trust me, you won’t want it any other way. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved Challah bread French toast made with the above recipe and topped with strawberries. Writing this has me wanting some topped with mascarpone whipped cream and strawberries. I haven’t ventured into the stuffed or savory French toast world yet, but maybe one day I will. Part of me doesn’t want to be disappointed and the other part can’t handle a ton of sweetness.
Pancakes/Waffles: Every Saturday morning growing up, we had waffles for breakfast. It’s a tradition that we carry on to this day when we are all together again. I’m not always good at cooking for 2.5 people so my solution when it comes to this particular breakfast food is to freeze the leftovers. Divide them up into portions, wrap in aluminum foil, place in a freezer bag/container, and store them in the freezer. They make for quick and easy pull out breakfasts during the week.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 – 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups buttermilk (or milk)
- Vanilla Extract (optional)
Directions: Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together the vanilla and eggs before adding them to the dry ingredients. Whisk in the buttermilk, starting with the lesser amount. If you are making pancakes, I tend to use a thicker batter than I would for waffles, hence the range of buttermilk. Add the buttermilk based on the desired outcome. You don’t necessarily need buttermilk but it helps with the fluffiness because it will react with the baking soda.
Home Fries: This is one of my favorite breakfast foods and the one I am most picky about. If you are going to serve home fries, they need to be delicious, not just meh. The best ones I’ve had were at Nick’s on Broadway in Providence, RI. Made with white potatoes, sweet potatoes, red onions, and green onion, they never lasted long on the plate. Even my sister devoured them and she doesn’t like sweet potatoes or onions. The home fries at Ruby Sunshine downtown are pretty good. They were a little salty but had a hint of rosemary to them that was divine. I’ve discovered that the best way to make them at home is to partially cook the potatoes in boiling water and then fry them up in a pan with onions and seasonings. Make sure to scrape up the crispy bits, they add texture and crunch. Use yellow potatoes, not russet.
Breads/Pastries: There are so many breads and pastries that go with a breakfast meal. So many crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside loaves of goodness. While there are lots of breads to choose from there are several that deserve a place at the breakfast table. I already talked about Challah bread for French toast, but if you haven’t already you should add Sourdough, Rustic, Baguettes, Croissants, Danishes, Biscuits and many more. Ruby Sunshine downtown has some of the biggest biscuits I’ve seen and they serve them with a brown sugar butter — do yourself a favor and pick one up. Try Niedlov’s or Bread and Butter for your bread varieties and while you’re there, do yourself a favor and pick up a real croissant — you’ll thank me later. Another pastry that deserves a place at the table is a grilled muffin. Slice it in half, butter it and place it on the griddle. It’s heavenly.