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Today is not an exciting day, but it is a big one. I’ve got 50 papers to grade (hooray for my MA, side projects, and profs desperate for grading help), a birthday cake to bake (Happy Birthday, Steven!), and of course, blogging to do. We’re almost through NaBloPoMo!
I thought I’d start with breakfast today (start blogging, not start eating. I eat breakfast every morning. I am obsessed with food after all, and NEVER miss a reason to eat). Please excuse the glamour photo. Given that I started my day with papers, I thought it would be appropriate to photograph my eggs with one of those essays. But then I realized that I didn’t want you to be able to read any students’ work, so I soft-focussed it. Of course, these eggs deserve a glamour shot. That’s home-smoked salmon perched on top of soft, silky, creamy, slow-cooked scrambled eggs. Isn’t that salmon a beautiful colour? My dad just bought a smoker, so that salmon was part of Thanksgiving dinner last night. Thank goodness there were leftovers. We smuggled home two big chunks. It’s salty and smoky and sweet, and I can’t wait to go over my my parents’ again. I was thinking maybe smoked tofu would be a worthy smoker experiment. What do you think? Anything else I NEED to try?
As far as the eggs go, I cooked them over low heat for about 10 minutes. As I was beating them with a fork, I thought “you know, this breakfast is going to be pretty virtuous.” So I added a couple tablespoons of cream. And there you go! Breakfast to go with “”Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, which is a good example of a Bildungsroman. Bildungsroman is defined as….”
Here’s what we had for breakfast this morning. The recipe isn’t quick–the rice pudding takes about an hour and a half– but it’s worth the time you put into it. It’s especially good for a lazy Saturday. Get up and put on some slippers, then pop the rice and milk onto the stovetop. Have a coffee and thumb through a cookbook or a magazine while your rice pudding cooks down. You need to check on it occasionally, but not too often. It requires just enough attention that you don’t have to feel bad about sitting around doing almost-nothing. As for the stewed prunes, well, I know they’ve got a bad rep, but it’s undeserved. For a great defense of prunes, see Orangette, from whom I borrowed the prune recipe.
The prunes and clementines are a nice mix, with the sweet tang of the citrus and the smoothness of the prunes. And they go perfectly on top of slow-cooked rice pudding (we use jasmine rice, which adds a lovely perfume, but any rice is acceptable), infused with a stick of cinnamon and a few pods of cardamom. Next time you want an excuse to relax Saturday morning, try this out. If you don’t have time to relax, this pudding is forgiving. Just give it a stir now and again and when you need to take a break from work, a fabulous comforting treat will be ready and waiting.
CINNAMON-CARDAMOM RICE PUDDING
makes about 4 cups
3/8 cup rice
5 cups milk
1 small cinnamon stick
2-3 pods of green cardamom
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
Combine the rice and milk in a medium saucepan. Crush the cardamom pods with the flat side of a knife, and extract the little dark brown seeds. Add these, along with the cinnamon, to the rice and milk. Bring the mixture to a slow simmer over low heat. Cook for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot fairly often. You need to pay attention to this mixture or it will burn and coat the bottom of your pan. If it does start sticking and/or burning, try not to scrape the bottom of the pot too hard or you will dislodge the burnt bits and ruin your pudding.
When the pudding has thickened sufficiently, to a thick and creamy consistency, remove it from the heat and stir in the sugar. I prefer a less sweet pudding, but if you like yours sweeter (or if you’re serving it for dessert), you can go up to 1/2 cup sugar. It can be served warm or cool.
STEWED PRUNES recipe adapted from Orangette
2 large handfuls of pitted prunes
2 clementines, halved and sliced thinly
1 small cinnamon stick (I cut one regular-sized stick in half and used 1/2 for the rice and 1/2 for the prunes)
Place the prunes and clementines in a small pot and pour in enough water just to cover them. Bring them to a boil over medium heat and stew them for 30-45 minutes, until the water has reduced and the prunes and clementines are soft.
I put the rice pudding on the stovetop and then after my third or fourth time checking on it, put the prunes over the heat. Both the pudding and the prunes were finished at around the same time and we ate them warm.
Saturday morning SupperInStereo original! It was good, real good. To serve two, this is all you need:
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (chile powder also works)
- 3 Tbsp chopped, toasted pecans (optional, but awesome)
- 4 eggs
- Salt, Pepper to taste
For the (quick) Hollandaise Sauce:
- 1 egg yolk
- Splash of lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of smoked paprika (cayenne also works and is more standard, but we’re on a smoked paprika kick)
- 1/3 cup butter
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan.
- Grate sweet potato. Roughly chop onion. Mince garlic.
- Give garlic and onion a head start in the pan, cooking them until golden before adding the sweet potato.
- Cook until browned. Don’t stir too much or it won’t get crispy. About 20 minutes.
When sweet potato mix is almost done:
- Poach eggs (not sure about that link’s last recommendation, saran wrapping the eggs)
- Add toasted pecans to the sweet potato hash.
While eggs are cooking:
- Melt butter in small frying pan.
- Whisk egg yolk, salt, smoked paprika and lemon juice together until creamy.
- While whisking, slowly pour the melted butter into the mixture. It will thicken into a rich sauce.
Serve poached eggs on a bed of sweet potato hash. Generously (more than pictured above) drench plate in Hollandaise sauce. Eat.
Saturday mornings, I like to play housewife. Instead of telling Carlo “make your own breakfast. You’re a grown man,” I get out of bed and cheerfully mix flour and baking powder together to make a weekend feast. Sometimes it’s muffins, but usually it’s pancakes because they come together so fast and cook quickly enough that my hunger doesn’t overwhelm my good intentions. When the food is ready, we douse our pancakes in maple syrup, sprinkle a little sugar on our lattes, and curl up in armchairs with our plates on our laps. It’s a good way to start a Saturday.
Last time I made these pancakes, I used whole wheat flour. This time I used all-purpose. It’s good both ways, but the whole wheat does make them a bit heavier. They’re very filling because of the oatmeal, which adds a rich creaminess that goes really well with tart grated Granny Smith apples.
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal (I use instant oatmeal, but this would be great with rolled oats)
3/4 cup milk
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
Preheat a skillet on medium heat.
Mix together flour, salt and baking soda. Add wet ingredients and mix gently.
Melt a generous pat of butter onto the skillet and pour batter in 1/4-1/2 cup servings onto skillet. Allow to cook until bubbles show on one side, then flip and cook on the other side until both sides are golden. Flip pancakes onto a plate, cover with maple syrup, and relax.
*By the way, can you tell we just bought a new camera? You could if you looked at any of our earlier posts. It’s a Canon Powershot G7, and we loooove it. But now that we have no excuses about image quality, any ugly photos are entirely our own faults. I’d love to hear some food photo tips!*