With the cultural expectations of the Thanksgiving weekend behind us, there’s a certain freedom in making our own traditions for the morning meal. The aroma of a steamy pot of coffee wafting through the house sets the tone for a leisurely late morning breakfast.
Breakfast is one of the simplest meals to make and planning ahead makes for ease of preparation. Pipérade is a colorful Provençal omelet of sautéed onions with sweet peppers and garlic that can be started the day before. In the morning just scramble your eggs with the prepared vegetables and season to taste. Crispy homefries make a suitable accompaniment. Diced Yukon Gold potatoes can be cooked ahead until barely tender,, drained until dry and left to cool completely or even refrigerated overnight then sautéed in butter and oil until crisp and golden. If pancakes are your thing, mixing the liquids and dry ingredients for cornmeal pancakes is a practical last minute preparation. Serve with cranberry maple compote that can be made the day before and warmed to spoon over the pancakes.
Bake or buy a sour cream coffee cake to top off the morning with that steamy pot of coffee!
Julia Child introduced us to a pipérade, a vegetable sauté of Basque origin. She suggested finishing as an omelet. Here is my adaptation using farm fresh eggs.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
I medium onion, sliced
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon each chopped Italian parsley and fresh thyme leaves
6 to 8 large eggs
1. In a skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion slices slowly, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic, tossing to coat with the onion then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes longer; add the herbs and stir to mix. Remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile, scramble eggs in a bowl until whites and yolks are combined. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables in the skillet. Return skillet to medium low heat; stir the mixture and cook, stirring slowly, until eggs are barely set and still moist. Taste for seasoning and serve at once on warm plates.
CORNMEAL PANCAKES WITH CRANBERRY MAPLE COMPOTE
Mix dry ingredients ahead of time to make quick work of these nutty flavored pancakes. The use of skim milk, buttermilk and egg whites in the batter make these corncakes heart-healthy.
Makes 12 4-inch pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup skim milk
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons canola or corn oil
2 egg whites
2 whole eggs
1. In a large bowl sift dry ingredients to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
2. In a clean bowl mix together milk and oil until blended. Beat egg whites and whole eggs until foamy and add to the milk and oil. Whisk to combine the mixture. Stir wet ingredients into the dry cornmeal mixture. Don’t over mix; if a few lumps remain they’ll work themselves out when cooking.
3. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat until hot enough to make a few drops of water bounce. Lightly oil griddle or skillet using a brush or paper towel.
4. Spoon enough batter onto griddle or skillet to make 4-inch rounds. Cook until bubbles on the surface break and edges are set, about 2 minutes. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 1 more minute. Continue until all the batter is used. Keep pancakes warm in a 180° oven. Serve with cranberry maple compote.
CRANBERRY MAPLE COMPOTE
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4-1/3 cup pure maple syrup, depending on desired sweetness
1. Combine cranberries and syrup in a small saucepan. Heat slowly over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Cook until cranberries soften, burst and syrup turns red, about 10 minutes. Spoon warm compote over corncakes and serve.