Breakfast Ogre

Almost without exception (the exception being breakfast sausage), I love, love, love breakfast food.

I adore eating breakfast out.  The omelets and hash browns at Waffle House are the stuff of cheesy, carb-y dreams.  The crispy on the outside, creamy in the center French toast at Tra’Li at Brier Creek in Raleigh is more than delicious (The Kid really digs their traditional Irish breakfast, but once you put blood sausage on the plate,  my heart and appetite are broken).  In addition to perfectly cooked, creamy, rich eggs Benedict, Watts Grocery in Durham offers fresh churros with the best chocolate dipping sauce you’ll ever dunk into to.But, my very favorite breakfast experience, hands down, is a buffet.

The reason is simple.  I can eat fifteen or twenty different dishes at a buffet, without the judgy server, or the $75 breakfast bill that comes from ordering like a lumberjack with a hollow leg.  It’s heart breakingly frustrating to be limited to either French toast or pancakes because of the social stigma attached to life-threatening gluttony.

It just ain’t right.

And unless I plan on running seven or eight hundred miles a day or switching out all my clothes for caftans, sweat pants and elastic waists, giving rein to my darkest dining desires has to be a once-in-a-great-while occasion.

This is mine.  What are y’all eating?

But as every mother who’s worth her operator’s license will tell you (multiple times); “You gotta eat something!” “Do you wanna get sick?”  “Eat!  You’re breaking my heart”  “I’m cold! Put on a sweater!”

So, one needs to eat.  But ideally something that contains less than forty-seven thousand calories and doesn’t put you into a food coma for 3 days.

It may not sound exciting, but these days many of my breakfasts center around yogurt.

The thing is, traditional yogurt doesn’t move me.  In fact, I don’t really like it.I don’t know whether you’ve taken a gander in the dairy department lately, but we are living in the golden age of fermented moo juice.  Even in the smallest grocers your choices can easily number from 20-30.

There is fat-free, low-fat, and full fat.  Sweeteners from sugar, to honey, to lab created artificial supplements, and even no sugar in some savory versions.  Extra protein, gluten-free, even dairy free.  From organic yogurt from a goat named Gertrude to synthetic concoctions filled with Captain Crunch and Oreo crumbs.

And pretty much any flavor you can imagine is available for purchase

I like bigger flavors, like salted caramel and black cherry, which can cover any strong, yogurt-y tang.  And I always pick the chiffon-style.  Then I get to work tarting it up.The easiest and quickest way to do this is to have the dairy act as a dip for graham crackers.  Most of the time, though, I really get busy with it.I add fresh blueberries for brightness.  I add dried fruit for chewiness, and pecans for crunch.  I then stir in a tablespoon or so of chia seeds because they swell up when they sit in the fridge for a half hour.  Once activated, they’re just like tapioca, and I love the gelled pop they add.

Some of the factory fancified yogurt varieties can have up to 500 calories, so I steer clear—if I want that many calories, I’ll spend it on a stack of 15 or 20 pancakes, drenched in butter and syrup.But Chobani has something called “Simply 100 Crunch”.  The peach cobbler tastes like fresh, ripe peaches, only contains 100 calories, and shockingly, includes real peaches.

So, I’ve never owned a pair of yoga pants, The Kid has never played soccer, and I don’t drive a mini-van.  But gosh darn it, I can get behind some frou frou, fancy-schmancy yogurt.Oh yeah, ogre?  That’s how The Kid used to pronounce yogurt.

Oh yeah, ogre?  That’s how The Kid used to pronounce yogurt.

No that’s an ogre I can get behind.  Except for that damn black (blood) pudding.

Thanks for your time.

The Egg & I

Katey and Jim

Petey and The Kid

I am grateful to Petey for many reasons.

He appreciates my humor.  On an unrelated note, he’s pretty smart.  He’s always on my side, no matter what crazy scheme I’m percolating.  And when it comes to spouses, his standards are kinda low.

But specifically, I’m grateful that my ever-loving husband loves eggs.

I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it really, really is.

Pound for pound, eggs are just about the most nutritious protein out there.

And eggs are cheap.  A dozen can be routinely purchased for $1.  That dozen can feed four adults.  With eggs, the protein comes in at $0.25 per.  That kind of fiduciary skill is flirting with magic.In eggs, as in much of life, simpler is better.  And the simplest, tastiest, most satisfying way to cook and eat an egg is scrambled.

When I was really little, like kindergarten little, I was having breakfast with some other kids that were a little older than me.  I don’t remember who the kids were, it’s all a little fuzzy.

But one thing I do remember all too well.

My dining companions told me they ate their eggs sprinkled with sugar.  They told me that once I tried it, I’d never eat them any other way.To this day I don’t know if that’s how they really ate their eggs, or it was all an elaborate, egg-wasting hoax, but those sweetened eggs were terrible, horrible, no good, very bad food.

Decades later, I perfected extremely tasty and insanely easy scrambled eggs.  It turns conventional egg scrambling on its head and takes less than ten minutes from carton to plate.

I normally cook three eggs per person, plus one extra “for the pan”.  Butter is mandatory and so is both salt and pepper, but no salt until the eggs hit the pan.  The eggs cook very quickly, so if additions like herbs or cheese are desired, put them right on top of the eggs at the very beginning.

egg tools

As for tools, you’ll need a non-stick skillet, a silicone spatula, and a blender; either the immersion type or standard style.

They’re very good plated over sautéed spinach, or with some lightly dressed baby greens on top.

Easy Creamy Scrambled Eggsscrambled eggs7 large eggs

2 tablespoons butter

Salt & pepper

Break eggs into a high-sided bowl if using immersion blender, or into blender bowl.  Blend on high until the eggs have lightened in color and thickened up a bit (about 1 minute).

Put skillet on burner on medium-high (7 on 10 point scale).  Add the butter and let it melt.  When it foams, pour in eggs.  Season, then turn down burner to about 5.5.  Gently stir the eggs, scraping the center of the pan frequently to get the cooked eggs up, and the uncooked onto the pan bottom.

Continue slowly turning down the burner as they cook, (it should be about 4 when the eggs are done), and stirring the eggs until they’re soft and very moist (their residual heat will finish cooking the eggs on the plate).Serves 2.  

Eggs are so darn delicious. I know there are folks out in the world who would rather be eaten by crocodiles than eat an egg; heck my own child is one of them.

But they’re wrong.  And The Kid actually loves one of the best egg dishes in the history of egg dishes—a cheese omelet from Waffle House.

So even the most egg-phobic can find something to love in an ovum.Thanks for your time.