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Entries in Breakfast (10)


Soft Boiled Eggs to Run With

I've never made a soft boiled egg. This is a true story. I've always been slightly intimidated by the task, preferring to hard boil the bujeezes out of my eggs just to make sure they are cooked.

This, I've decided, is silly. Because I love a runny yolk. I love how it merges with toast to create that bread-eggy goo that when sprinkled with salt and a little fresh pepper is breakfast magic.

So this morning (yes, I am writing to you same day!), I went for a run. This is not unusual. But today it was. Since my biking accidents, I've been having some trouble running. There's something going on in my right leg that's just not quite right.

But today, I decided I was going to conquer two obstacles together: the lack of soft boiled eggs in my life AND this running business.

So I went for a run. I ran SLOWLY. So slowly, that stationary objects were passing me. And I had to remind myself with every step to keep it slow. I have this problem: I like to jack up the pace like a maniac, thinking faster is better. More is more and so must be better. But much like the eggs, less is sometimes more. Less cooking time, less speed, less less less...

I returned home with a 40 minute easy run behind me, groceries and these flowers in hand and set to the task of making breakfast. I looked up "soft boiled eggs" on the Internet. What a resource, this Internet. What did we do before this? Ask people? I found this article on soft boiling eggs and followed the instructions exactly.

I was not disappointed. I made two soft-boiled-to-perfection eggs, with a little whole wheat bun slathered in coconut butter. Coconut butter is my new favorite kind of butter.

So, go slowly. Make some soft boiled eggs. And stop to smell the flowers.


Training Diary - Kitchen Sink Granola

Reality can be alarming. Especially when what you think is true is not exactly how things are. Take for example my morning bike ride (I promise I will bring this back to food and it will all loop together wonderfully):

The workout was the following: 4 loops of Central Park with 5 Harlem Hill repeats. 

I started out with Group 1, the fastest group. I was quickly dropped on the second loop. During the summer and fall of last year I could stay with Group 1. But it's March, and it's been frickin' freezing outside, so I haven't been on my bike. Consequently, I got picked up by Group 2 and rode with them.

This is fine, I tell myself. Group 1 are all boys, anyway. Group 1 smells. And they talk funny (one of them is Australian - love ya, Mark!). 

And I must take a moment to remind myself it is only March. But with my first race fast approaching on April 7 in South Beach, it is sometimes hard to reconcile what you want with what you actually have.

Which brings me to granola. Yes, granola.

The other day I wanted some, but as I perused the contents of my cabinets, I realized I did not have the ingredients to make a truly stellar granola. But I had something in I made granola with what I had. And it was good. Quite good, in fact.

So, sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what you have. And as I realized with the granola, what you have can add up to be a lot more than you thought and even produce some pretty impressive results.

Here's how to make Kitchen Sink Granola:

What You Need:

2 cups rolled oats (I used the Quaker 5 minute kind because that's what I had available)

1/2 cup silvered almonds

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup chopped dried figs (you can use any kind of dried fruit, but again, this is what was rolling around in my cabinets).

2 tbsp Coconut Oil

2 tbsp Maple Syrup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

What To Do:

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, throw ALL The ingredients together. That's right, all of 'em. Now, mix. Make sure that coconut oil is evenly distributed.

Spread the mixture evenly onto a large baking sheet and throw it in the oven.

Let it toast for about 5 minutes, and give it a check. The coconut shreds can burn easily, so you want to make sure you give this stuff a good mix every now and again. You do NOT want burned coconut.

Toast for about 10 more minutes, making sure to mix things up every now and again. 

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

Finishing Touches:

I baked a sweet potato, mashed it up with some almond milk, topped it with the granola and then heated the whole enterprise in the microwave for about a minute and a half.

Strong coffee recommended.

South Beach, here I come....

Oh, and Group 1 really doesn't smell. Not worse than the rest of us, anyway...



Mini Brioche with Honey

If you're not aware by now, I have a small obsession with bread. Baking it AND eating it. They say that man cannot live on bread alone, but maybe a woman can. THIS woman. And buttered bread? Well, that holds a special place in my heart. But how about a bread that has the butter already in there? Baked inside! The effect of this butter inclusion is a fluffy, moist, slightly sweet and oh-so-tender roll. And if it's served warm with just a touch of honey....well don't expect me to stop eating them.

Brioche is this bread that combines butter and flour in this satisfying way. It's excellent for breakfast, but it's also a fantastic roll for brisket sliders, in fact. I discovered this usage a few weeks ago when I helped a friend throw a Hanukkah party. Throw a little bit of brisket accented with horseradish-infused creme fraiche in between the buttery top and bottom of a brioche roll and you will be singing the dradle song with enthusiasm!

I happen to think that brisket is good year round...but I have a lot of wacky ideas on food. That's why you come here, yes? Oh let's hope so.

Anyway! You can make this up to a week in advance and freeze them. You can also double this recipe because it only yields about 8 minis (more if you make them smaller). I got about 20-22 by doubling it. I know that's fuzzy math, but hey, it's the truth.

Let's get going:

What You Need:

2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons hot milk (125 degrees F)

3 large eggs at room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces

Butter for greasing the tins

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for a nice shiny wash)

What You Do:

In a heavy duty mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 3/4 cup flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. (NOTE: I actually used my food processor for this whole thing and it turned out great).

Add the hot milk and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gradually beat in the remaining flour. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed until the dough is soft but holds its shape, about 2 minutes.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1.5 - 2 hours.

Scatter the butter pieces over the dough. Knead on medium speed for 1 minute. The dough should be very soft and batterlike (almost like a cake mix). Scrape the dough into an oiled, deep bowl. Cover tightly with oiled aluminum foil and refrigerate over night.

Grease 8 mini brioche tins with butter.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and separate it into 8 small, equally-sized balls.

Cut off 1/4 of each of the dough balls for the "top knot" of each mini brioche. Roll the larger portions of each piece of dough into balls and place in the mini molds.

Cut a cross on the top of the dough in the molds with a sharp knife. Push your finger through the middle of the incision to the bottom to make a wider indentation.

Roll the smaller pieces of dough into balls and then pull one end slightly to elongate it into a point (like a tear-drop shape).

Place the pointed end of the top knot into the indentation of the bottom dough ball. Repeat for the 7 remaining molds.

Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 40-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the brioche gently with the egg mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Immediately turn the brioche out onto a rack to cool, and serve them warm With HONEY! And coffee!


Brittany's Ironman Granola

My friend Brittany has been training for the Arizona Ironman which is this Sunday, November 20th in Tempe. An Ironman is the ultimate distance in triathlon: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run.

I met Brittany when we both signed up for Full Throttle Endurance back in late January.

Britt has worked hard over the past nine months. How hard? Here's an example of a typical training week for her:

Monday: Swim 65 min with Full Throttle, pm bike 90 min with double loops of the Harlem hills
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: Long run, 120 min, easy first hour, then bringing it down, finish hard
Thursday: Bike 90 min with Full Throttle, plus 20 min easy brick run
Friday: Swim 65 min with Full Throttle, pm 3 laps of the bridle path, hard. 5 min full recovery between laps.
Saturday: Century ride with Hugh
Sunday: Bike 120 min, skipping the hills, & brick run easy 20 min, all easy recovery effort

For those of you not in the know, a "century ride" means 100 miles. Ouch.

Like turtles with those backpacks...

Through nine months of this, Brittany has somehow managed all of the above and been champion friend. When you see someone every day at 5:30 am for two hours a day, you get to know them quickly. And well. Consider the following:

She is one of the few people that is allowed to call or text me before 5 o'clock in the morning (all others should wait for an emergency).

She travelled all the way from the Upper West Side to Hoboken just to help me pack up my apartment. I enticed her with wine and pizza, but still – that is a haul, people!

Britt and I at the pong table at Iaciofano HQ, Beach HavenI have subjected her to weekends in LBI with Marmo and Box in which she endured endless games of beer pong, being escorted around the island on the handlebars of bikes (not our usual method of bike riding), and my dad's constant insistence that the bay was infested with gar fish (still unproven).

Right before the Montauk race (like an ad for XTerra!)

We roomed together for the Montauk Triathlon in June and sat up late at night (after the race) eating peanut buttered bagels and gossiping like school girls.

This training is not only physically challenging, but it's also a mental drain. It's a lot. You feel burnt out. Not to mention hungry. ALL THE TIME.

What do you eat when you're a hungry Ironwoman?

Britt's food specialty is granola. She makes a huge batch and delivers it in a giant Ziploc bag. Granola accoutrements vary, but have included: peanut M&M's banana chips, cashews, almonds, craisins, raisins, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips.... you get the idea.

The giant bag of granola is difficult to walk by without scooping out a handful. Or three. So while it is MEANT as a breakfast food, it is hardly ever eaten that way. It's more of a drive-by-snack-when-you-want-food.

We once spent a summer LBI afternoon watching the sea level of the granola bag dip from high to low tide as various members of my family grazed on it throughout the day (no one actually admitted to doing so, however).

Here is Brittany's Granola recipe. Britt, I wish you the best of luck on Sunday. You've worked hard and you're ready. You are going to be great.

What You Need:
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cashews
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 banana chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt

What You Do:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Oil a 4-sided sheet pan or line with parchment paper.

Stir together oats, nuts, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Pour oil and honey over the oat mixture and stir to mix well.

Spread evenly on sheet pan and bake, stirring once, until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool granola completely in pan (it will crisp as it cools), then stir in fruit, banana chips and chocolate chips.

Store in a giant Ziploc bag like Brittany does!


Parmesan Pull Apart Rolls

It is Day TWO of Bread Week! Are you excited? You should be.

Today we are focusing on something I consider an indulgence. A delicious treat-accessory for your dinner table: dinner rolls.

Having full-fledged rolls on your table is way different than having sliced bread. While I consider a good baguette, or crusty loaf a staple at the table, I find that it is often used as a vehicle for delivering the remnants of a tasty meal to your mouth. Especially if that meal was pasta.

Don't get me wrong, a pre-meal bread basket can stand alone. But this too is often received while still anticipating the main course.

Rolls are different. Especially these. A buttery-soft, brioche-like roll with a cheesey SNAP provided by parmesan cheese. The golden outer crust is thin and pliable.

These rolls are meant to be savored, with complete disregard for what came before or after. That being said, you could slice them down the center and make sliders with them. I would recommend porchetta. With some pickels. Or you can have them for breakfast, smeared with a little quince paste. It works, trust me.

What You Need:
1 pacakge active dry yeast
1 tsp mild honey or sugar (I used agave syrup)
2/3 cup warm milk (1105-115 degrees F) divided (I used half and half because I ran out of milk)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated manchego cheese (You can use all parm or all manchego, I just decided to mix for fun).
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
5 tablespoons unsalted BUTTER! cut into tablespoon sized pieced and softened
1 tablespoon water
Equipment: a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or a food processor. I used my food processor and it all worked out nicely.

What To Do:
Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/3 cup warm milk in the mixer bowl and let it stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Wisk together the flour, cheese and salt and then add to the yeast mixture along with the remaining 1/3 cup warm milk. LOW SPEED. This this has the potential to blow.

Increase speed and beat in 2 of the eggs, 1 at a time. Beat until a very soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. You may need to pause the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Beat in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is elastic, about 2 minutes.

The dough will be very sticky. Don't panic. Scrape this dough into a bowl and dust with the 2 tablespoons of flour. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

PUNCH down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Cut it into 12 equal pieces, rolling each piece into a bowl. Arrange the rolls 1 inch apart in a buttered 9x12 inch round cake pan and cover with a kitchen towel. Don't use a terry cloth towel. It sticks and becomes a disaster. You don't want to be a disaster do you? I didn't think so.

Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. The dough will double at the end of this rise.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, with a rack in the middle.

Whisk together the remaining egg and brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. This will make them shiny! And you DEFINITELY want shiny rolls.

Bake until golden brown (and shiny), about 20-25 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the rolls from the pan with a knife and invert them onto a rack. Turn those little guys right side up and cool for about 20 minutes.

Eat them! Immediately, if you can because that is when they are best. If you can't, you can wrap them up and freeze them for later.

NOTE: This recipe is from Gourmet Magazine, February 2009. Even though the magazine has folded, I have squirreled away my favorite photos and recipes (in that super-fancy binder with plastic sleeves I mentioned here).