breakfast quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

So the other day, I wandered into my pantry (which is just a glorified word for the never-ending chaos that is my utility room – it just happens to have shelves and is right next to the kitchen) looking for some crackers… and it became clear to me. I mean, I had to gingerly remove and stack jars of chickpeas and brown rice on the floor. All to get to a box of crackers that was hiding behind a 5 pound bag of flour. In a moment of pure clarity, I knew. I needed a pantry clean out.

(I mean, there was some mild cursing when I almost knocked over a jar of dried currants, but mostly it was a moment of very dignified contemplation.)

One of the things I am drowning in is COPIOUS amounts of quinoa. I think I have like, 2 pounds. Which is basically – since quinoa is not very heavy in the first place – like a barrel of quinoa. Sure, there are about a million recipes for quinoa salads out there, but that just wasn’t what I was feeling.

I had tried breakfast quinoa once before, but I wasn’t thoroughly satisfied. Previously I had used rice milk and it just… didn’t do anything for me. It was pretty darn tasteless, in fact. I used regular milk here, but by all means experiment with almond or soy milk if that’s more your thing, and let me know how it turns out. And of course, this is mostly just a base recipe; you can add whatever you have in your crazy, over-stuffed pantry: nuts of all kinds, dried fruit if you have some, honey or maple syrup drizzled on top… the sky is the limit.

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Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 2, easily halved

Gather: 
1 cup quinoa, rinsed until the water runs clear
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
yogurt, to serve
jam or fresh fruit, to serve
toasted almonds or pecans, to serve
turbinado sugar or honey, to serve

Prepare:
Bring quinoa, milk, water, and vanilla extract to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and scrape down sides. Cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Top with yogurt, jam or fresh fruit, nuts, and/or sugar or honey to your heart’s content.

Simple Seasonal Breakfast

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For the past two weeks or so, I’ve been having exactly this for breakfast – a bowl of plain yogurt with blood orange segments on top. I’ve been using homemade yogurt, which is super thick like I like it. After I segment the oranges, I like to squeeze the leftover membranes over top of the bowl, to get all the extra juice into my yogurt. It’s like a customized blood-orange-flavored yogurt, minus the horrible sugary taste you get with commercial yogurts. So, so tasty.

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And then there was the day that I ran out of blood oranges… so I used some frozen berries left over from last summer. I microwaved them for 30 seconds on half-power, and let all the juices mix in with the yogurt. Definitely the best way to start the day.

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The Love Language / Brittany’s Back

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October Daring Bakers | Chocolate-Glazed Espresso Doughnuts

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The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

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I was so excited to see that the challenge was doughnuts, since I have had a particular recipe from Martha Stewart in mind since before I got married… waaaaaay back in September 2007. I saw this recipe in a Martha Stewart Weddings magazine issue, one of the MANY wedding magazines I acquired in the process of planning the best party of my life our wedding. Her Holiness of All Things Domestic suggested serving these doughnuts as a midnight snack along with coffee. What a cute idea! I thought. Eventually we ended up scrapping the idea of a midnight snack, but these doughnuts earned a permanent spot in the back of my mind from then on.

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I was so enamored of the idea of an espresso glaze for doughnuts, but I had some cocoa in my cabinets and thought that would be an excellent addition. I mean, really… why WOULDN’T you add chocolate to coffee?

I thought these were a great deviation from your standard Krispy Kreme, sugar overload, diabeetus diabetes-on-a-plate fried ring of dough. The dough itself, when fried, doesn’t taste very sweet at all. In fact, if you like a sweeter doughnut, I would suggest adding another few tablespoons sugar to the batter. But with the addition of a dripping coat of chocolatey glaze, these are really sent over the top. They’re not sweet like what you’ll find at your grocery store or at a bakery, but instead, the espresso and cocoa really stands out. They’re rich in flavor, not rich in sugar… it’s almost savory in a way. I mean, to make a long story short, they taste like the delicious bastard child of a mocha latte and a doughnut. They’re just.that.good.

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Chocolate-Glazed Espresso Doughnuts

Adapted from Martha Stewart Weddings
Makes about 2 dozen

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Gather:
1 cup warm milk (about 60 degrees F)
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1 large egg
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup  (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder, divided
vegetable oil, for frying
Chocolate-Espresso Glaze, see recipe below

Prepare:
Whisk together the milk and yeast in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl, and let stand 5 minutes until foamy. Add egg, sugar, bread flour, pastry flour, and salt. Mix on medium speed until dough comes together, about 6 minutes. Add butter and 1 teaspoon espresso powder; mix on medium-high speed until combined, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Raise speed to high, and mix until dough forms a smooth ball, about 1 minute more.

Reduce speed to low. Add remaining 5 teaspoons espresso powder, and mix until just combined. Shape dough into a smooth ball; cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out rounds with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter. Using a 3/4-inch round cutter, cut out center of each round. Gather together scraps, reroll, and cut out. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cover with a dry kitchen towel. Let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 20 to 25 minutes.

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a heavy stockpot until it registers 360 degrees Fahrenheit on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches of 4 to 6, fry doughnuts, flipping once, until golden brown, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon or kitchen tongs, transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with paper towels. (Adjust heat between batches as necessary to keep oil at a steady temperature.) Let cool 10 minutes before glazing.

Whisk glaze. Dip each warm doughnut into glaze, turning to coat completely. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with parchment; let glaze set, about 20 minutes. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment until ready to serve (up to 8 hours).

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Chocolate-Espresso Glaze

Gather:
2 sticks unsalted butter
2  1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup unsweeted cocoa
1/3 cup brewed espresso, chilled

Prepare:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the sugar and cocoa, then whisk in the brewed espresso. Remove from heat, and let sit for 10 minutes or until thickened.

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The Black Keys / Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be

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NFMW 2010 Day Three: Swiss Chard Breakfast Strata

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I always promised myself that I wouldn’t be one of those bloggers who only posts her successes in the kitchen. I seriously dislike it when it seems that every dish a blog is 100% perfect, with no room for improvement in the ingredients or preparation… no “Hey, I effed up this recipe, it tasted not so wonderful and I really didn’t want to eat it.” Because although those blogs inspire me with their constant perfection, they also make my screw-ups feel ten times worse in comparison. Like I’m the only blogger in the world who makes mistakes.

Well EFF THAT.

This, my friends, is ONE OF MY MISTAKES. In a long line of mistakes. Trust.

Lately, I’ve had this idea that it would be really cool to do a series of strata posts. Strata, as in the breakfast casserole made with eggs and milk and stale bread and delicious vegetables. People are always asking me what to make for their family brunch/Mother’s Day breakfast/teacher’s breakfast party, and I always recommend strata. It’s super easy to make and you can make it with practically anything you have in your fridge.

In fact, I’m 100% positive that my friend Sarah made strata for our Business Communications Brunch senior year of college. I’m 95% positive I was the one who suggested she make strata for the brunch. I’m 80% positive I really liked the strata she made that day.

I’m 100% positive I don’t want to eat any more of this strata.

Here’s the “recipe,” if you’re feeling masochistic:

Basically, I sauteed 1 onion in a little bit of butter, blanched 1 bunch of swiss chard, and toasted about 3 cups of bread cubes in the oven. I whisked 2 cups of whole milk and 6 eggs and 1 tablespoon of mustard (along with some salt and pepper) in a bowl. I layered the toasted bread, onions, and chard in a 9×9 baking dish, and poured the custard overtop. I let it sit overnight, and then in the morning I sprinkled 1/2 cup of goat cheese over the top, and baked it for 45 minutes.

My beef with the strata was that the soft custard-y (is that a word?) bread grossed me out. (I have big problems with texture, people. Perhaps I will like overly-soft things when I have no teeth, but that won’t be for approximately 70 years.)

Fortunately, Mr. Kitchenette seems to like it… which only confirms my belief that he will eat anything I put in front of him. Which is really fine with me, because he never complains. 50 husband points to Mr. K.

I want to say that I’ll try making strata again… I really want to like it. Do you have a favorite recipe that I should try?

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Atlas Sound / Walkabout (feat. Noah Lennox)Noah Lennox is the man known as Panda Bear, which I’m also obsessed with, and basically I’m coming to the conclusion that everything he touches turns to gold.

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