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Tag Archives: breakfast

Roasted Parsnip and Potato Hash

6 Feb

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An open letter to root vegetables:

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Dear Root Vegetables,

Oh, root vegetables, how I love thee. I love the way you sweeten ever-so-slightly when roasted in the oven, with your edges so crisp, but your middles so soft and fluffy. I love the way your flavors can be so different, and yet you always adapt so well to similar preparations. Not all vegetables can accomplish this. I mean, I love broccoli and I love cauliflower, but have you ever tried to swap the two interchangeably within recipes? Let me tell you, a lot can get lost in that translation, so I advise you to steer clear of that experiment. It’s not like you, root vegetables. You’re all so friendly to one another, so perfectly matched.

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I mean, I just made this great vegetable hash out of three different types of root vegetables, and the whole time I was making it I was wondering how many other root vegetables I could throw into the mix and still achieve the same comforting, savory bite. The answer to that query is, of course, that I could throw in all the root vegetables and always end up with a fantastic combination. Here I have parsnips, sweet potatoes, and red potatoes, but I could easily throw in a diced carrot, a turnip, or even a golden beet and effortlessly end up with a lovely, delicious platter of food. Maybe next time I will give a new cast of root vegetables a try in this recipe. I am sure it will be delicious. I mean, I am sure you will be delicious. Oh, dear. I am sorry. It just occurred to me that, uh, I am going to have to eat you as soon as you read this. Well. This just got rather uncomfortable. My apologies.

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All the best,

Elizabeth

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Last Year: Gingerbread Waffles and Caramel Cream Sandwich Cookies

Roasted Parsnip and Potato Hash Recipe

1 large parsnip, peeled if the skin is tough

1 medium orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled if the skin is tough

1 large red potato

3 large cloves of garlic

1 large shallot

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

handful of chopped Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange a rack in the second-lowest position.

Dice the parsnip and potatoes into very small ¼-inch chunks. Very coarsely chop the garlic into rough quarters. Slice the shallot in half lengthwise, then into medium ribs. Combine parsnip, potatoes, garlic, and shallot on a large, heavy baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss everything together to combine.

Roast on second-lowest oven rack for 20 minutes, until the bottoms of the root vegetables are nicely browned. Toss the vegetables around a bit, turning them over as much as possible, then continue to roast them for another 5 minutes, until the edges are crisp and golden.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh Italian parsley, then serve with softly fried or poached eggs.

Serves 2 to 4 people, depending on how generous you make the servings.

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Deep Dish German Pancake

4 Aug

Before becoming deeply entrenched in my 30s, it seemed as though I was able to eat many a breakfast comprised of an innumerable amount things, in mildly shocking quantities, that now make me feel like I am on the verge of suffering some type of major medical emergency.  A rare treat of pancakes is now paired up with something protein heavy, so as to avoid making my pancreas revolt and team up with my kidneys to enact some sort of diabolical punishment.  French toast is served with fruit, sans syrup, and probably arrives in a singular number with a nice egg or soy sausage (don’t judge) on the side.  In short, I no longer have the ability to eat like a teenage girl at a sleepover party, which makes sense, considering the fact that I am well out of my teen years and I haven’t been able to stay up past midnight since I was about 28.  So.

Rather than mourn the loss of sugary breakfasts of my past, I have found life to take a much more pleasant turn by simply amending former decadence into something a bit more appropriate for a person in her mid-30s.  While still certainly remaining a breakfast treat, a tall and delightfully puffed up German pancake, piled with fresh fruit, spritzed with lemon, and, if you wish, dotted with just a light sprinkling of powdered sugar, never seems to have the same after effects as downing a pool of maple syrup.

Sure, you’re still eating white flour and butter when you eat this pancake, but this delivery system arrives a bit more gently, and has the added benefit of providing a nice sense of fullness without an accompanying side of impending doom.

In what I am sure is some sort of German pancake heresy, I have also, over many years of making German pancakes, discovered that I much prefer a thick and custardy German pancake to a thin and delicate one.  Making a thicker German pancake involves nothing more than baking the pancake in a dish that is smaller than one might think appropriate for a pancake of this sort.  The tighter the quarters in the baking dish, the thicker the pancake, and the thicker the pancake, the more delightfully gratified you feel when you eat it.  It’s enough to convince the former you that the current you still knows how to indulge.

Deep Dish German Pancake

German pancake, Dutch baby, or pannekoek, this breakfast treat goes by as many names as it has specific recipes.  This particular recipe, designed to be doubled, tripled, and multiplied into infinity, is low on butter and completely devoid of refined sugar.  Not that you’d ever miss it.  This is still a delicious breakfast treat that is as lovely to look at as it is enjoyable to eat.

This is a base recipe for 1 serving.  The recipe is meant to be multiplied by the number of people you will be feeding.  If making a small serving, you will obviously need to bake this in a smaller dish.  For the large German pancake pictured above, I multiplied the recipe by 5 and used a 2.5-inch deep, 10-inch by 7-inch dish.

¼ cup flour

¼ cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon butter

pinch salt

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the oven has preheated, place butter in baking dish and place dish in the oven.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until just smooth.

When butter has melted, remove the baking dish from the oven, pour in the pancake batter, and return dish to the oven.  Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the size of your pancake, until pancake has puffed up, turned golden, and the center appears just firm.  Pancake will begin to deflate almost immediately after being removed from the oven, so serve as soon as possible.

Top with freshly squeezed lemon juice, a light sprinkling of powdered sugar, and fresh fruit.

Blueberry Biscuits

17 May

I am going to tell you a story about what it’s like to live in Portland, OR.

Last week, an absolutely lovely family moved in down the street from us, taking the place of the absolutely lovely family who lived there before them.  When I stand at my kitchen sink, I have a direct sight line down the street to the house that was being inhabited by the new family.  After I had spent the better part of a day going back and forth to the kitchen sink (you may wonder why I visit my sink so much, and my only answer to you is this: I have a preschool-aged child), watching the new family’s moving fan becoming emptier and emptier, I made the decision to bring the new family a little breakfast treat to greet them the next morning, their first morning in their new house.

Not being a huge fan of eating anything tooth-achingly sweet first thing in the morning, I opted to hunt down a recipe for a nice savory biscuit.  Thinking of the children in the house, it seemed as though something would be needed to make the biscuit a bit more enticing.  I settled on adding blueberries to the biscuits, and began to assemble my ingredients.

I measured, I mixed, and I cut.  As the biscuits were just about to go into the oven, I made the mistake of asking my husband whether or not he thought blueberry biscuits were an acceptable welcome-to-your-new-house gift for a young family.

“Sure,” he said.  “Who doesn’t like blueberries?”

I was about to nod along in agreement when it occurred to me that, you know, someone in that house might not like blueberries.  I hesitated slightly before putting the biscuits in the oven.

“Do you think they might not like blueberries?” I asked him.

Sensing that he may have mistakenly set the terrible wheels of my mind into high gear, my husband backpedaled.  “No.  Everyone likes blueberries.  Everyone.  They’re good.  Always good.”

But then, the path horribly, unrelentingly forged, I began to wonder about other possible problems with the biscuits.  What if someone in the family was gluten intolerant?  Or allergic to dairy?  Or what if the family was vegan?  I could definitely start over and make a vegan biscuit (I’ve lived in Portland for 15 years, so it’s almost a given that I’ve learned how to make delicious vegan biscuits by now), but what if they were non-gluten-eating vegans?  Or what if they only ate organic food?  I had organic blueberries, but I didn’t know if I would be able to find organic non-gluten flour.  This was getting complicated.  I should head to the store and check out the gluten-free flour selection.  I would also need to buy soy milk.  But what if they were allergic to soy?  Okay, I’d buy almond milk.  But what if they were allergic to nuts?  Rice milk?  Hemp milk?

It was right about then that the oven timer went off, effectively causing the hamster wheel that is my brain to come to an abrupt stop.  I took the biscuits out of the oven, admiring the lovely golden-hued tops that were studded with plump indigo berries.

The biscuits were as delicious as they looked, a fact that our new neighbors, unfortunately, never had the chance to learn.  I have a feeling it will take a few more weeks before I am comfortable bringing them any surprise baked goods.  Weeks that I will no doubt spend trying to work subtle food-related questions into everyday conversation without sounding like an absolute loon.

“Yes, the weather is lovely today.  It’s a good day for ice cream.  Ice cream made with milk and cream and probably even eggs.  Real ice cream.  Wouldn’t you agree it’s a good day for real ice cream?”

Blueberry Biscuits

Adapted from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cup cold buttermilk, or cold soured milk

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it lightly with 1 tablespoon of cornmeal (to prevent biscuits from sticking).

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  Whisk to combine.  Alternately, you can combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to aerate.

Using a pastry cutter, two knives, or in the bowl of the food processor, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and there are no large butter pieces remaining.  This will take a minute or two if using a pastry cutter, but only a handful of pulses if using the food processor.

Add the buttermilk or soured milk, the egg, and the lemon zest to the flour mixture.  Stir just enough to moisten everything, until the batter just begins to stiffen.  Gently fold in blueberries.  If using the food processor, add the milk, egg, and lemon zest through the feed tube, and pulse just until the dough comes together and it begins to form into one mass.  Knead in the blueberries once the dough has been removed from the food processor.  It should go without saying that you should not pulse the blueberries in the food processor.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.  Gently knead a few times until the dough just begins to come together.  The dough will still be slightly sticky, but do not handle the dough too much or add too much additional flour, lest you make the dough tough.  Pat the dough into a rectangle roughly 3/4 of an inch thick.

Cut the dough into 2 1/2 inch rounds, using a floured biscuit cutter.  Gently pat scraps of dough together to continue cutting, eventually yielding 12 biscuits.  My cutting sequence produced 7 biscuits from the first rectangle, 3 from the first batch of scraps, then 2 final (slightly misshapen) biscuits from the last of the reformed scraps.

Place biscuits on the prepared baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart.  Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until tops have turned golden brown.  Eat hot or slightly cooled.

Makes 12 biscuits.

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