Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast’
Chocolate French Toast
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At the end of January I wrapped up a brutal project and work and decided that I needed to get out of dodge for a little while. That’s when I decided to go to my favorite city in the world, Paris. Despite the bitter cold of one of the coldest winters in recent history, I had a wonderful time. As Hemingway wrote, “When we came back to Paris it was clear and cold and lovely.” I spent hours wandering around the streets, stopping often in cafes to warm up with a mug of vin chaud, and I even experienced roasted chestnuts for the first time in my life. I hiked to the top of the Eiffel Tower while the bitter cold stung at my nose and ears despite my best efforts to shield myself against the wind. I sat underneath the heaters at Deux Magots, soaking up the Hemingway nostalgia as well as warming myself with a glass of amazing red wine. I cruised down the Seine on the coldest night of the year, drinking champagne and wishing that the boat had more than one working space heater.┬áIt was cold for sure, but it was also still and calm and beautiful in a way that my vacation pictures don’t really do justice. I’m so glad that I was able to make the trip during the off season, because it gave me a real feel for what it must be like to live in the city and experience it as a local.

I was also fortunate enough to stay once again at the Gentle Gourmet, Paris’s only vegan Bed and Breakfast. My hosts could not have been more wonderful, especially considering that I was their only guest. Deborah’s daily breakfasts were so delicious that I cannot wait to go back to Paris and visit their all new cafe. There is nothing more amazing than French toast made with fresh French bread, or so I thought. One morning she improved upon it with berries and an amazing chocolate sauce, and told me that sometimes she actually puts a piece of dark chocolate INSIDE of the bread before dipping it. That’s right guys, INSIDE of the toast there is CHOCOLATE and it erupts like a volcano of deliciousness when you slice into it. My god this woman is a genius. I cannot stress enough that everyone needs to try their new cafe as soon as it opens, and I encourage you to plan your trip in such a way that you can take all three meals with them. My delicious recipe is after the jump.

Berry Chocolate Chip Pancakes
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One thing that I love to keep on hand in my pantry is a bag of chocolate chips. I hide them in the back , and try to forget that they even exist. If I didn’t intentionally ignore them, I might eat them when I’m jonesing for chocolate, and then I would be helpless when a impossible to ignore chocolate chip pancake craving hits.

I’m crazy about pancakes for breakfast, and I like to play on a classic recipe by adding new ingredients into the mix. Last week, I added fresh blueberries and a few chocolate chips, and they were delicious. They were, in fact, so delicious and sweet that I went without maple syrup or earth balance on top of them. I’ve made a couple of adjustments to my old pancake recipe, so I’m reprinting it here. Feel free to experiment on your own with different add-ins. I’m thinking about pureed banana next time.

Sweet and Simple
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As you can see, something doesn’t need to be complicated to be delicious. One of my favorite things to do lately is take fresh strawberries from the farmer’s market and slice them on top of organic corn flakes. The cornflakes come from Trader Joe’s, and if you haven’t tried them yet, I highly suggest that you get out there and buy yourself a box or four.

For those of you who don’t usually put fruit in your cereal, my berry: flake ratio might seem a little off-putting. Let me suggest starting with one or two berries (I used 6 for the above picture) and working your way up. I’m almost to the point where I have more fruit than cereal, and that makes for a very healthy breakfast, or in this case, dinner. Sometimes it’s exciting to eat breakfast at a new time.

We Jammin’
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My boyfriend has been practically begging me for weeks to make him a batch of homemade jam. He keeps dropping little hints, like putting post-its that read “fill me” on all of the jam jars in the refridgerator. The other day I was getting ready for work and say that he had hung a basket and a sunbonnet on the hook in my closet. He keeps sending me links to articles about canning and the benefits of making your own jam from scratch. He bookmarked the pick your own berry farm in my google maps. When I found the DVR full of Little House on the Prairie episodes, I decided it was time I did something about this behavior. Saturday just happenned to be a beautiful day, although it was sunnier than I expected and I ended up getting a little color. I drove all the way up to Moorpark, CA and the Underwood Family Farm. It was a quaint little farm with lots of picking options and a full-service farm stand. They had everything from sweet potatoes to string beans, and I am definately going back in October to pick my own pumpkin (meetup outing, anyone?).

The next time I go to a farm, I am bringing some children. There’s a reason why schools had summer vacation, and it’s that kids are really useful when it comes to harvesting crops. They are low to the ground and have little hands. I, on the other hand, ended up with a sore back and scratches all over. The strawberry field was amazing, and there were so many ripe, delicious strawberries that I had a hard time choosing. The raspberry field was a little picked over, but I was determined to get enough together for a jam, and I managed to get an entire pound of them. It just took an hour and a half. I also picke dup some boysenberries, but I don’t think they were quite ripe enough, as evidenced by the disastorous consistency of my boysenberry jam.

I managed to find a basic jam recipe that worked well for all three of my berries.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh berries
  • 2 c. of sugar

Use a potato masher to break the berries down into a pulp. Add sugar and stir well to combine. Pour into a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Over the course of about 10 minutes, stir the mixture frequently while it begins to boil. It will darken in color. The way to test the jam is by keeping a spoon in ice water and scooping up little bits of the jam. Blow on it to bring it to room temperature, and when it’s thick and gloopy, you have jam.

At this point, if you know what you are doing, you can pour it into sterilized jars. This is what I did, but I have no idea whether I did it right, so I can’t really dole out advice on that topic. For the record, I will be keeping my jam in the refridgerator and finishing it as quickly as possible.

Vegan pancakes
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Let’s talk about Vegan pancakes.

Anyone who has ever been to Swingers in Santa Monica knows the joy of vegan chocolate-chip pancakes, which they only serve on the weekends. And who doesn’t fondly remember the beloved Mrs. Buttersworth or Aunt Jemima? I’ve spent way too much time at I-HOP in my lifetime. Pancakes are hands-down my favorite breakfast food.

I have a friend who makes fantastic vegan pancakes. They’re thin and light and chewy, more like a McDonald’s pancake than anything else. I have had great trouble replicating his recipe, although I have finally identified the right type of flour and will be doing another test batch this week.