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Saturday, March 5, 2011

What's for Breakfast? Mashed Potatoes and Eggs

A hot breakfast is a smart way to begin the day. But it can take too much time to prepare. Because they're already cooked, left-over mashed potatoes are a quick and easy way to make a nutritious breakfast.

For dinner last Sunday, we had a Caesar salad made with frisee instead of romaine and roast pork (porchetta) flavored with Italian parsley, garlic and onions. Garlic mashed potatoes and roasted whole tomatoes were the sides.  A plate of cut up cara cara oranges and a custard with crystallized ginger and orange juice finished the meal. All in all, dinner was very satisfying.


The next day, the refrigerator was the beneficiary of Sunday's dinner. Considering what was left-over, we were looking at a succession of meals we could have during the week.

Reheated, the porchetta could easily be enjoyed as an entrée or a hot sandwich. The roasted tomatoes would make a delicious pasta sauce. And the mashed potatoes....! They were so delicious the first time around.

Made from King Edward potatoes bought at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, the mashed potatoes were sweet and full of flavor. Certainly we could just reheat them to serve again with the porchetta but they would also be good for breakfast.

From my hippie days, I always save the potato skins when I make mashed potatoes because I add them to stocks. It occurred to me that they would also be good sauteed (to crisp up) and added to the mashed potatoes.

Some bacon would be good too.

Breakfast Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Potato Skins and Onions

Using a non-stick pan is the way to go with this dish. Just be sure to use the pan on a medium-low to medium flame to avoid health risks.

Serves 4

Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup skins, peeled from 6 large potatoes, julienned
2 cups mashed potatoes, King Edward, Sierra Gold or Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tablespoon sweet butter
1 medium onion, washed, peeled, root, skin and stem removed, roughly cut
1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only, washed, finely chopped
2 slices cooked, crisp bacon, cut into strips (optional)
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over a medium flame, saute the potato skins, onion and parsley until lightly browned, add the bacon (optional) and the mashed potatoes, mix together, season with sea salt and pepper and saute until potatoes are lightly browned on top and form a crust.

Serve with eggs, any style.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Infinitely Variable Omelet

Omelets are a great main course. Perfect for breakfast but also satisfying as lunch, dinner or a snack.

Easy to make, infinitely variable, filling, healthy and affordable, they are warming and delicious.

Just about any ingredients that can be sauteed can be used as a filling. (Why saute the fillings? To eliminate excess water and caramelize the ingredients.)  I like mine with cheese, but that's a matter of personal choice.

For breakfast this morning, I made my wife a vegetable omelet with spinach and shiitake mushrooms while I had a bit of bacon in mine.

Bacon Omelet with Comte Cheese and Parsley

Use any kind of frying pan, but a nonstick pan makes everything easier and a nice crust forms on the outside of the omelet.

For a one-person omelet, use a 9" pan. An omelet for two requires a doubling of the recipe ingredients and a 12" pan.

Serves: 1

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

2 large or extra large eggs, farmers' market fresh
2 tablespoons milk, half and half or cream
2 teaspoons sweet (unsalted) butter
1 slice raw bacon, finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup grated cheese (comte, cheddar, munster, or swiss)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method

Beat the eggs with the milk and set aside.

Heat the nonstick frying pan on a medium flame, melt 1 teaspoon butter and saute the bacon, parsley and onion until lightly browned. With a silicon or rubber spatula, remove the sauteed vegetables and reserve.

Return the pan to the flame. Melt the other teaspoon of butter, add the eggs, swirling them over the bottom of the pan. Season with sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle grated cheese on one half of the omelet. Spoon the sauteed vegetables over the cheese.

Let the eggs set and the cheese melt, about 2 minutes. Using the spatula, gently fold the "empty" side of the omelet onto the side that has the cheese and sauteed vegetables.

Slide onto a plate. Serve with toast or fresh fruit and a hot beverage.