Microwave Poached Eggs

20190201_121915The easiest cooking you’ll ever do, and the simplest way to cook an egg. Finally, eggs can be poached without all the fuss!

Put 8 oz. of water in a glass measuring cup or coffee mug. Break open an egg and quickly pour it in the water. Microwave for 1 minute, then remove the egg with a slotted spoon.

The reason you need to do it individually is to help the egg keep a compact shape. That’s often tricky when trying to poach eggs in a pot of water. A coffee mug or small measuring cup will do that.

Enjoy it on toast with a sprinkling of salt and pepper on top. Heavenly.

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Moroccan Orange Salad with Cinnamon

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This recipe is originally from Mourad Mazouz, the owner of the London restaurant Momo. It’s a wonderful, easy, and elegant way to serve oranges as part of a meal. Bonus: It can be plated up and made ahead.

We had a “breakfast for dinner” night and this was on the table with homemade pancakes and breakfast sausage. Everyone finished their plate, including my children, who devoured it. My son even enjoyed the garnish of fresh mint!

I have changed the recipe a little from the original, which I got at some point while we were in London. His calls for regular oranges that are seedless, which I couldn’t find at this time of year, so I used mandarins. His recipe said to slice the peeled oranges, which is difficult with mandarins, so I broke them up into sections and cut the sections into small pieces. That was more accessible for my children anyway.

Serves 4

5 mandarin oranges, peeled with pith removed
2 Tbsp. powdered (icing) sugar
2 Tbsp. orange juice (best if freshly squeezed)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 sprigs of mint leaves

Separate mandarins into sections, then cut each section into four pieces and divide them evenly onto plates. Sprinkle with sugar (depending on your preference, you may not want to use it all), then orange juice, then cinnamon. Put a sprig of mint on each plate. Serve chilled.

Hard-boiled Eggs

There isn’t much to say about this recipe, but it’s a basic one that ought to be in your cookbook somewhere. I’ve been making more of these lately so we can dye them for Easter eggs.

1. Wash eggs to be hard-cooked in warm soap and water.

2. Place eggs in a single layer in an enamel, glass, or steel pan.

3. Add enough tap water to come at least 1 inch above the eggs.

4. Cover the pan and rapidly bring the water to a boil. Then turn off the heat. If you’re using an electric range, take the pan off the burner.

5. Leave the cover on the pan. Let large eggs sit for 15-17 minutes; medium eggs about 3 minutes less; extra-large about 3 minutes more.

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6. Heat retained in the water will continue to cook them, so remove eggs with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Cooling helps prevent the green rings that sometimes form around the yolks.

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Notes:
Don’t worry if the eggs crack a little during boiling, because they are still cooked and perfectly edible. If you dye them, part of the egg underneath the shell will be colored, but since most egg dyes are food-safe it won’t matter.

To eat them, tap the eggs gently on a hard surface to make cracks, then gently peel off the shell.

Slice or cut them into chunks, sprinkled with a little salt. Chop them for an egg salad sandwich or crumble them for a salad. Or make them into deviled eggs — see my recipe here.

Overnight Fridge Berry Oatmeal

20160307_083606(0)Oh my goodness. You have no idea what you’re in for with this breakfast. It’s absolutely delicious.

I came across the recipe when I was looking for a way to use up some bags of frozen berries. You make this the night before, with yogurt instead of milk, and you eat it cold in the morning with a sweetener like honey or agave syrup. I had my doubts about the cold part but they flew out the window once I tried it. The oatmeal did not last long after the first spoonful.

The especially nice thing is that it’s so healthy! Nothing is processed and it’s all low-fat or fat-free, depending on the yogurt you use. Whole oats, yogurt, fruit, and a bit of juice are all that’s in it.

Credit to the Busy Mommy blog for the recipe.

3 cups old-fashioned (whole) oats
2 cups vanilla yogurt (low-fat or fat-free)
1-2 cups frozen mixed berries*
1/2 cup apple juice

Mix all ingredients in medium sized storage container with lid. Keep in the fridge overnight. Top oatmeal with a drizzle of honey or agave syrup. Also try mixing in cinnamon, chopped nuts, or coconut. Serve cold.

*I used a mixture of frozen raspberries, which break apart when mixed, and whole frozen strawberries, which held their shape and simply became soft.

Pancakes!

It is so easy to make pancakes from scratch! All you do is mix and cook. In this recipe, the rich flavor of the buttermilk is perfectly balanced by whatever sweet thing you choose to drizzle on top.

Of course maple syrup is the perfect thing to have with pancakes, but you may want to try a fruit sauce too. I made two over the weekend, just to try them, and was surprised by how good they tasted with the pancakes. If you try them, make them before you start mixing the pancake batter — you can even make them the night before.

Special thanks to my husband, mom, and toddler who tested this recipe with me for a weekend pancake brunch. We ate so many of these that we barely needed dinner that night.

One note: If you want everyone to eat pancakes together at the table instead of eating as you make them, plan on an hour between the time you start mixing and the time you sit down to eat. Keep the pancakes warm in the oven in the meantime.

Serves 5-6

2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 ½ cups buttermilk
4 Tbsp. butter (half a stick)

Preheat oven to 170F/76C degrees. Put a cookie sheet in the oven while it heats. Preheat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together the egg whites, milk, and buttermilk. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a small pot over low heat, then remove from heat and add the egg yolks, mixing quickly and thoroughly. Stir the yolk mixture into the milk mixture. Pour this into the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended and still lumpy. Do not overmix or the pancakes will be tough.

Using a ladle, pour a scant ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto the non-stick skillet. Cook about 2 minutes per side until golden brown, turning to cook the second side when the pancakes have a bubbly surface and the edges look dry.

Keep pancakes warm in the oven until ready to serve.

(This is another recipe I cut from the newspaper, maybe in 1997 or -98 or so. It was adapted from “A Cozy Book of Breakfasts and Brunches” by Jim Brown and Karletta Moniz.)

Sweet Peanut Butter Spread

Here’s a simple and delicious spread perfect for smearing on toast for breakfast or a snack. Just mix 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter with 1 Tbsp. agave syrup — that’s it!

The syrup makes the peanut butter even smoother and spreadable. And it’s made with GI-friendly ingredients, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar, especially if you use whole wheat, sugar-free bread.

Enjoy.

French Toast

Many french toast recipes out there are unnecessarily difficult. They call for a mix of egg and cream or milk, with extra ingredients and detailed instructions. You don’t need any of that.

The delicious recipe I remember from when I was growing up calls for only two ingredients, uses regular sliced bread, and tastes wonderful with maple syrup.

Figure two slices of bread per person. Here’s a recipe for two.

4 slices bread, crust removed and cut into 2 triangles
4 eggs

Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Beat the eggs with a fork and pour into a flat dish. Lay the slices in the egg until wet, then fry until browned. Serve immediately. If making recipe for a crowd, keep slices warm in oven until ready to serve.