A Very Basic Pancake Recipe

IMG_8829Pancakes are usually made when we have the time to linger over breakfast (a rarity on a farm), have houseguests, or if it just happens to be a rainy Saturday. We’ll make extra, to be enjoyed cold with a bit of jam, as a mid-afternoon treat. My pleasure in making these is the fact that they are so very basic. Eggs, milk, flour. They are never too thick, or gummy, just completely enjoyable. No leavening agent required, as the eggs do the work.

Next time you awake to a lazy, rainy morning, give them a try with a knob of butter and a drizzle of real maple syrup. Continue reading

Porridge

IMG_7047It may seem like a simple recipe, however, it is a reminder of how we can easily make the right choices when it comes to eating. A bowl of porridge will feed you well to make it through the morning, with a wholesome whole grain that has saved populations from starvation, and only takes a few minutes to make from scratch, and costs about 25¢ a serving, including milk & a bit of brown sugar.

My relationship with porridge (oats) started at a very early age. We had a certain pot that Dad used to make porridge in every morning. It was thick walled aluminum, a type probably not even sold today. When the handle went, he carved a new one and bolted it on. When the pot lid knob went, he carved a delightfully threatening little totem to replace it.

Every morning through our school years, Dad would get up and make a big pot of porridge for us all, even though we were all still sound asleep. It would be cooled and congealed by the time we would be eating it. But, that was breakfast. This was also at a time prior (long prior) to microwaves being a common kitchen tool for reheating. One morning Dad taught me the trick of frying leftover porridge with a bit of butter and brown sugar in a cast iron pan. Amazingly delicious. It may sound like we were “down on our luck”, but our family always took pride in being thrifty. But never to a fault.

Today the health virtues of starting our days with a bowl of large-flake, old-fashioned oats, made into porridge, has been well documented. We might now add a handful of berries, or a chopped apple & some spice, but it still is able to satisfy us well until lunch. So here’s to putting your porridge pot back on the hob, and starting your day with a great, easy, and thrifty breakfast! Continue reading

Dutch Baby

IMG_6567For a few summers when in my teens, I was fortunate to be taken along to the Okanagan for a few weeks to babysit.  Besides spending hours on the beach and boating, I soon took over the morning breakfast ritual.  Out behind their cabin was a wood oven with a ¾” sheet of steel for a cooking surface.  I would go out early, and get the fire going, until the steel was just the right temperature.  Previous summers lighting the woodstove on Thetis gave me the necessary skill set at the ripe old age of 14.

The first day I made French toast.  I’d been told that the children weren’t fond of it, but went ahead anyhow.  I love French toast, especially when sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with lemon.  I won the kids over the first go; they’d just never had it with a custardy center.  By the end of our second week there, the neighbours had started “dropping” by at breakfast, often with a loaf of bread or some eggs.  One morning I made breakfast for 20.  This was most probably my first catering gig.

Even though this is not a recipe for French toast, it is a recipe for an easy breakfast dish that tastes great with sugar and lemon!

The Dutch Baby is basically a huge popover.  You can use a small cast iron pan, enameled bake ware, or a plain cake pan, anything from 8-9” in diameter.   All you need is equal volumes of eggs, milk and flour, with a bit of butter.  When it comes out of the oven, its sides will have risen up well over the edge of the pan.  Simply invert it onto a plate and serve with a sprinkle of sugar and a drizzle of lemon ~ fresh fruit, a dollop of preserves or a bit of syrup work well, too.  Plan on sharing one between two, or one each for hungrier folks. Continue reading

Potato Crusted Quiche

IMG_6332I’ve been methodically going through my cooking files.   Everything is kept in legal sized hanging files, where I can jot things down on the folders themselves, such as cookbooks that offer a recipe that I use often, idea notes can be tossed in indiscriminately to a parent file.   I moved away from a recipe card box a long, long time ago.  I still have the recipes; they’re just in larger folders now.

As I work through the files, it gives me a chance to look at the whole of an idea, instead of a recipe standing on it’s own.  Sorting through my “breakfast” file, I’m reminded of the amount of milk to egg, for quiche, that works.  Little things like ratio are actually really important building blocks in developing a recipe.  If I know these things, then I’m able to be creative without messing with the core.  Of course, the ingredients you mix with the core can have an effect on the finished product, but it’s usually best to start with what you know.  It just makes for better science!

For this quiche, I use the core of ¼ cup of milk to each extra-large egg.  It has a good ratio of cheese to the other filling.  Which gives a recipe that is easy to switch some of the ingredients to create something new, or simply to make use of what you have on hand.

This quiche is an excellent meal.  It can easily be converted to a vegetarian version, and is naturally gluten-free.  The mashed potatoes that are used for the crust work best if they are a day old. Just make some the day before, if not using leftovers. Continue reading

Parmesan & Bacon Strata with Spinach

IMG_4890This is my very favourite Strata.  To be honest I’ve never been a fan of Stratas in general. Ones I’ve had in the past tend to have too much cheese, too much sausage, and left me feeling overfull.  To fix this, I thought it best to figure out the right ratio of bread, egg, & milk.  Once that was figured out, I started to build it up with just enough ingredients to give it a full flavour.  I’m happy to serve this for any breakfast / brunch event, and it disappears quickly.

The bread, egg, & milk ratio (1# bread to 3 cups milk and 10 eggs) can be accented with either savoury or sweet ingredients; just use your imagination.  For instance, add some vanilla and maple syrup to the egg mixture, and tuck in some thin apple slices and pieces of cream cheese.  This will give you a lovely, French toast type Strata.  Be inventive! Continue reading