Classic county breakfast
By KELLSEY TRIMBLE
Breakfast time has always been a special part of the day to me. It’s the beginning of a new day, and a chance to start it off right with a wholesome meal. Even at a young age, I enjoyed being the first one to wake up in the morning to get the coffee going – my parents made sure to show me how to make it correctly so it was something they would actually enjoy. As I got older, my mother happily showed me a few more kitchen basics she had learned from her mother, and I ran with it. I made waffles with an old waffle iron my parents got as a wedding gift. I made French toast, which most of the family preferred. My favorite thing to make, though, was the griddlecakes recipe from Mom’s trusty The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and you could tell from the warped, stained pages. I would sometimes customize them with the addition of strawberries and blueberries right in the batter, but more likely I would throw a handful of chocolate chips into the mix if I could convince Mom to let me.
Other times, I kept it simple with just bacon, eggs, and fried potatoes, especially when I knew my uncle would be stopping by after a hunt. He would warm up by the woodstove with a cup of coffee in hand, and he and my father would talk about neighborhood news or the wildlife out and about that morning.
I always insisted on listening to an album from my parents’ eclectic music collection, and most of the time it was one of their numerous John Denver CDs. These days, I still listen to the same albums when I have friends and family over for our weekly breakfast or brunch. We’ll often have a potluck, but if I’m up to it, I like to provide the whole spread. It’s such a simple pleasure to cook delicious food for some of my favorite people to enjoy.
So, put on a pot of coffee, turn on your favorite tunes, and enjoy the company.
This recipe is adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Yields 8 large or 16 small pancakes.
1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chopped strawberries, whole blueberries or chocolate chips, optional
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In large bowl, combine milk, butter, egg, and vanilla until blended.
In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add to milk mixture, a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Batter should be runny with a few lumps. If it’s thick, add additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until batter reaches desired consistency. Stir in berries or chocolate chips, if desired.
Heat a little oil in nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Pour batter into pan. Two tablespoons batter will make small cakes, while 1/4 cup batter will make large cakes. If making small pancakes, you can make more than one at a time, but be sure to leave space between them for the batter to spread without the edges touching.
Cook until bubbles form on top, edges look dry, and bottom is lightly browned. Using spatula, flip and let brown lightly on other side. Remove from skillet and place on warm plate, and set in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, adding additional oil to skillet as needed.
Serve with butter and maple syrup.
Note: If preferred, honey can be substituted for the sugar. Simply stir it into the milk mixture, and omit adding the sugar to the dry ingredients.
Cowboy breakfast casserole
Yields 10 to 12 servings
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 pounds pork sausage
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 medium potatoes, boiled, cooled, peeled, and cubed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.
In large skillet over medium heat, melt oil. Add onion, and cook until tender. Add and brown sausage, breaking into crumbles as it cooks. Drain, and set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Stir in shredded cheese.
Arrange potatoes in bottom of prepared baking dish. Cover with sausage-onion mixture. Pour egg mixture evenly over top.
Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until center is set. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. Serve with additional hot sauce, if desired.
Crustless tomato-basil quiche
Yields 8 to 9 servings
1 tablespoon oil or butter
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 to 3 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch pie plate or 9-inch square baking dish; set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, saute until tender. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in cooled onion and garlic.
Place layer of tomatoes in bottom of prepared dish. Pour egg mixture over tomatoes, and sprinkle with chopped basil. Top with layer of mozzarella slices, and cover with remaining tomato slices.
Cover with foil, and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until center is set. Cool slightly before serving.
Yields 12 muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
Powdered sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In large bowl, beat eggs lightly with whisk. Add sugar, lemon zest and juice, milk, and butter. Whisk until well-combined. Add flour mixture, and mix until well-combined. Using wooden spoon, stir in poppy seeds. Batter will be thick.
Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let muffins cool for a few minutes in pan, then run butter knife around edges and remove from pan. Cool completely, then dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Homemade bacon, contrary to what you might think, is an easy thing to make, and once you’ve had the real deal – sliced just as thick as you prefer – you’ll never look at store-bought bacon the same. Find a recipe you like, and fine-tune it to your taste, or try this one, which is adapted from the book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. I first made this bacon years ago with Robin Mather, who was then an editor with Mother Earth News, and it remains my go-to.
5 pounds fresh pork belly from your local grocery store or butcher shop, or a pork supplier at farmers’ market
Box of 2-gallon zip-top bags if you don’t have a container big enough to hold the belly
2 ounces salt (1/4 cup Morton or Diamond Crystal coarse kosher)
2 teaspoons pink curing salt #1
4 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar, honey or maple syrup
Place belly in zip-top bag, on baking sheet, or in large plastic container. Rub salts and pepper all over belly. Seal bag or cover baking sheet or container with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for 7 days. After 3 or 4 days, give the spices and belly another good rub.
After 7 days, take belly out of the refrigerator, rinse off all seasonings under cold water, and pat dry.
Smoke pork belly over apple, pecan, hickory, or another hardwood until it reaches internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep smoker set at as low a temperature as possible.
When done, let cool. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
Note: I fry it in a skillet, just like conventional bacon. I encourage you to cut off a slice, cook it, and sample it right away.
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