Browsing Category

Breakfast

Breakfast

All Eggs are Not Created Equal

September 27, 2017

I love eggs.  I eat them poached, coddled, fried, boiled, scrambled or as an omelette. Sometimes nothing hits the spot better than a simple egg salad sandwich on squishy white bread with crunchy lettuce. (Okay not healthy, but this is one of my guilty comforts!) When I order Chinese, I always have the Egg Foo Young, basically a Chinese frittata.

Eggs are personal. Some people just can’t eat eggs. On the other hand, I once cooked for an ova-lactate vegetarian who could eat eggs all day long. Then there are my vegan friends who don’t eat any animal products at all. Others eat only the whites, but  I love the entire egg, especially the yolk. These are all personal choices and to be respected.

(Some of my vegans make the argument that they don’t eat eggs because all eggs are a potential life, a position that for me holds no water. Eggs are a byproduct of a hen. Whether there is a Rooster hanging around or not, that little lady is going to drop that egg no matter what. To my thinking, if the egg isn’t fertilized,  it’s not really a potential life, is it?).  

Before moving to Panama, I pretty much thought an egg was an egg was an egg. I couldn’t have been more wrong, but I only knew what was around me.  Before Panama, I had switched to organic eggs after hearing  the Buddhist monk, Thich That Hahn explain that “If you are going to eat an egg, eat a happy egg from a happy hen.”  But I learned that “organic”  doesn’t guarantee the hen is raised in a happy environment and these so-called organic eggs tasted and looked about the same to me with a very pale yellow yolk inside a runny liquid white.

It’s not all about taste for me.  No, I’m not an activist vegan for several reasons, but I do respect their cause and their commitment.  And, if you haven’t gone online to view how hens are treated at the big egg factories, please do. It is not pleasant. There is nothing remotely good,  appetizing or humane about factory farming.  It’s destructive and cruel. But it lines the pockets of the big companies and it does offer a less expensive product for people who need to shop economically.  The latter point I understand and I have chosen, on my tight budget, to cut corners elsewhere so that I can pay for my happy eggs. My local supermarket, Publix, now offers at least three farm-raised egg options, indicating, at least anecdotally, that the mainstream demand for fresher eggs seems to be increasing. (Links to some of these companies are posted, below.)  When I support a company selling “pasture-raised” eggs, I am supporting the local farmers who provide product for these labels. 

It wasn’t until we moved to mountains of Panama where my neighbors had hens that I had my Come-To-Jesus moment.  These eggs, even those from the supermarket, were delicious!  They were rich, rich, rich! The yolks were a deep cadmium yellow, brighter than a school bus, nearly orange and at first I was actually startled by the intensity of color.  These gorgeous yolks sat in a firm albumen that stood up on its own when you cracked it into a pan.

With fresh eggs, the white around the yolk will stand firmly after cracking. Note the color of the yolk.

All Panama eggs have brown shells.  I’ve never seen a white-shelled egg in Panama, but I think this speaks only to the breed of hen. In Mexico, eggs are white and often called  “blanquillos” meaning whites.  The only drawback to having brown eggs is that if you have little ones, it puts a damper on Easter Egg-dyeing fun … but my neighbor’s hens laid pastel colors eggs, shown in the featured picture for this post, and I was able to get some color on these.

Panama spoiled us forever. I could purchase eggs from my neighbor, Rumelia, for .15cents per. Further up the road, Grandma Gloria , who loved my cakes but who was reluctant to use her propane gas for baking, would share her pastel colored eggs in exchange for some of my oven treats. And at one point, we had a few hens of our own and Honey Bun, the prettiest, sweetest and cleanest hen ever, would come up onto my porch at 7 am, sit outside my kitchen, lay an egg and leave it for me under my table.

The flavor of an egg from a pasture-raised hen is so notably richer that my brother Nicholas, who lives lives in California where there’s a lot of conscious eating going on, exclaimed that the eggs he ate at my Panama house  were the best tasting eggs he had ever had. Ever. And he’s traveled the world.

When we moved back to the USA, my son William, who had grown up on Panama eggs, declared that he simply could not eat the supermarket eggs sold in the USA.  So I resolved to spend the big bucks!  A dozen eggs from pasture-raised hens will cost me anywhere from $4.50 to $5.99 (occasionally more). They are not quite as good as our Panama eggs, but they are noticeably better than the factory raised eggs with their pasty yellow yolks and runny whites.

Note of caution:  “Organic” does not mean cage-free. And “Cage-free” does not necessarily mean “Pasture-raised.”  “Free-range” might mean that a hen has one square foot of space.  So it’s best to get acquainted with the companies who are selling you your eggs. It’s not hard to do: A good company will have a website that answers all your questions under it’s FAQ section. Read on for links…

Here are links from two of the companies I purchase eggs from here in Florida.e Happy Eggs,  Nellies.  You will find good explanations of the differences between “free range,” “cage free,” and “pasture raised.”

 

 

 

Breakfast

Sneaky Pinks… A Healthy Treat!

August 29, 2015

A dangerous thing has happened to me. And it’s personal.

Directly across from my bedroom & kitchen windows, making a visual & olfactory bee line for my eyes and nose,  is a Donut Factory.

Their kitchen is soin such close to mine that we busy cooks can wave to each other, the warm smells from our respective work spaces wafting out to blend & mix in the middle airspace between my apartment and  the Donut Factory.

What’s a grain-free, gluten-free, low-sugar gal to do?

Here’s what. Try the recipe below. It provides a sneaky way to give yourself & your family a donut-like treat that is full of nutrition, very low on sugar, and zero of gluten & bad fats!

SNEAKY PINKS

Into a mixing bowl, add

  • 2 Free-roaming eggs
  • 2 Tsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 5 Drops liquid Stevia (or 4 packets if you don’t have liquid)
  • 1/3 Cup good quality sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups Pureed Cooked (fresh or from a can) Beets
  • 1-1/2 cups Gluten-Free Pancake mix (See my photo)
  • 1/2 Tsp. Baking power
  • Pinch of salt

image

Blend on high with a hand mixer or hand blender until completely incorporated.

Coat your favorite frying pan with Cocout Oil or Butter or Good Earth Butter sub.

(I used a tiny pan, the kind one would use to make an individual egg for a McMuffin type sandwich. But… you can use a larger pan and just made small rounds, dropping in each PINK  ROUNDwith a spoon.)

When your pan is nice and hot, drop in your pink batter, any size you like.

Immediately lower the head to medium-low. Allow to cook on one side until you see the top batter bubbling and the cake is firm enough to flip without spilling.  Then cook another minute  and remove from pan.

Arrange on a plate any way you like, and dust with powdered sugar. They are surprisingly moist and sweetly satisfying.

imageimage

 

 

 

 

Breakfast

Easy, Fluffy French Toast

July 29, 2015

Here is how I make the fluffiest French Toast, with a good portion of healthy protein in each serving.

image

PREPARATION  1 Serving

  •  Select 2 large pieces of your favorite bread, leaving crusts on. Any bread will do: White, whole wheat, French, it doesn’t matter.
  • Into bowl, break 2 fresh, cage-free eggs (one whole egg for each piece of bread!)
  • Add  2  Tablespoons of heavy cream. Half & Half will do, but I prefer heavy cream
  • Add  1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Add 1 packet of Stevia (or a teaspoon of sugar)
  • Beat the egg mixture up until well-blended and fluffy.
  • Pour the mixture into a shallow dish that will hold your bread  snugly,  without leaving too much space. You can use a small baking dish or rectangle cake pan. Something shallow and that will contain the bread without a lot of extra space.
  • Place your bread into the mixture and let it sit for a good 2-3 minutes.
  • Now, very gently, flip each piece of bread and allow to remain until all the egg mixture is soaked up.

COOKING IT UP

  • Melt 3 tablespoons of butter or butter substitute into your favorite skillet or frying pan.
  • When the pan is good and hot, but not enough to burn the butter, gently place your soaked bread into the  pan.
  • Immediately turn the heat down to medium low.
  • Leave the bread to cook for several minutes, until the bottoms of the bread are golden brown and you notice the center is becoming firm as the inner egg mixture cooks up.
  • You will know your bread is ready to flip over when the middle is firm enough that it does not sag or fall apart when lifted with a spatula.
  • Cook another minute or two, until the bottoms are brown and the center feels firm.
  • Cut bread pieces in half (I use scissors) and arrange nicely  on a nice plate.
  • Set a dipping cup along side filled with real Maple Syrup.
  • Garnish with whipped cream or….sift some powdered sugar on top!

This dish is definitely made With Love & Butter…

Breakfast

Low-carb potato substitute!

July 20, 2015

Two foods I love to eat with scrambled eggs are sliced, cold tomatoes and, of course, potatoes. Any style will do, but sliced thin and fried in bacon greese is tasty.

Ah, but I’m eating low carb these days. So instead of potatoes, I sliced up some Chayote from my garden.

Chayote, eaten cooked or raw, has about 1/4 the carbohydrates of potatoes, but offers up the same amount of fibre.

For the Chayote:

Peel 1 medium or 2 very small Chayotes under running water.

  1. Slice the entire piece into sticks, seed included, or in any shape you desire.

Now toss into a very hot pan laced with your choice of oil: olive oil, healthy butter, coconut oil, bacon grease.

  1. Toss in 1/2  thinly sliced  Onion. (set aside rest for later)
  2. Sprinkle with salt & pepper

Cook on medium heat until they begin to bown a bit.
Now flip then and leave to brown all over stirring occasionally.

NOTE: Chayote do not take long to soften.

For some Flavorful ScrambledEggs: (2 Servings)

While the Chayote is cooking, get your eggs ready to scramble. Into a favorite bowl, crack 4-5 large,  free-range eggs and to these add:

  • 1 Teaspoon water per whole egg
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 8 Drops Sriracha hot sauce (or fewer, but you will hardly notice the heat.)
  • Whisk this mixture up well
  • Chop 1 a cup of Broccoli into very small pieces.
  • Finely chop the other half of the onion
  • Toss broccoli & onion into a hot frying pan laced with hot oil or bacon grease or butter of choice and sautee for 1 minute.
  • Add your entire egg mixture right on top of you broccoli & onion, stir to incorporate, and wait until the layer begins to bubble. Then slowly draw the edges in toward the center to make a fluffy scramble. I like mine on the soft side, but plate up when they’re done your way.

Plate your eggs.
Garnish with Fresh Cilantro or Fresh Parsley or Chive.
Scoop on a healthy spoonful of your browned & seasoned Chayote sticks.
Crown your place with soe beautiful, sliced tomatoes & sprinkle with some seasoned salt.
Now dig in! You won’t miss the potatoes and your carb count will be low!

To you with Love & Butter, Elizabeth

 

 

 

Breakfast

Healthy Craving Fixer

May 10, 2015

imageAs a little girl, no trip to “the city”, a.k.a, New York City was complete until, at my mother’s pleading, my dad pulled the car over at 86th and 3rd, to fullfil her craving for the then exotic fruit, slightly odd tasting fruit, papaya,  always available at the now historical Papaya King.   She adored this gorgeously colored fruit which, to my young palette tasted a bit, well, off. Still,  I loved anything coconut, and a trip to Papaya King meant a coconut treat for me!

As I grew up and traveled some,  my taste buds came on board. In the Southern Philippines, I learned to stab a slice of fresh papaya with my fork, and then fill the tiny rows of holes with fresh squeezed Calamansi, a kind of citrus, not quite like a lemon or a lime, but these will do.

calamansiIt was here that I also learned  to love crisp, tart, unripe, green papaya, sliced into sticks, then dipped in vinegar and spicy salt. Later, in New York City, I learned you can julienne green papaya to add to salads and savory dishes.

 

Calamansi

green papayaIn Mexico and in Panama, I came to love thick fruit smoothies, either alone or paired with bananas or pineapple or strawberries.  I cut the papaya into cubes and store it in bags in the freezer. This way my smoothies are cold and fruity, undiluted by water or ice cubes.

Today,  I enjoy teaming my papaya up with the taste of coconut, which I still adore.

But when I was first diagnosed as pre-diabetic (I have corrected this with my diet), I steered away from sweets, including fruits in general, since sugar is sugar… isn’t it?

With a Glycemic Index value of 59, Papaya is generally considered a “medium” sugar threat.  And now for the good news: On the Glycemic Load Index, papaya measures at a low 10.

The Glycemic Load refers to the body’s response to sugars by taking into account both the quantity of carbohydrates as well as the type of carbohydrates. For a detailed explanation of glycemic values and how they are calculatedClick Here.  In short, this means that eating papaya occasionally, especially if paired with other foods, doesn’t necessarily cause blood sugars to spike.

When I have a true craving for something sweet, I make this delicious treat using only four healthy ingredients.

1 Cup papaya, diced.
2 Heaping tablespoons coconut milk (I like to spoon it on, chilled)
1 Tablespoon crushed flax seeds (easy to crush up in a coffee grinder!)
1 Slice of Lemon or Lime

TIP:  Keep papaya cubes cold and handy by freezing them. Then, use the same above ingredients to blend into a  fresh smoothie, and, if you are feeling festive, add and ounce and a half of rum! 

Breakfast

Better Omelettes

April 2, 2015

Here is how to make your omelettes fluffy and fuller looking, and it’s all in the wrist!

Before you begin cooking up your omelette, have your filling ingredients at the ready. For example, if you are adding mushrooms, have them already sauteed and set aside in a bowl. Ditto for onions or any meats. Also, if you are adding cheese, have your slices or grated bits ready for pouring. This way you can focus on creating a fluffy omelette and the ingredients, still warm, will be added at the very end.

  1. Your pan.  If you have a really great non-stick pan, you are ahead of the game. Still, I like to slick up my pan with Earth Balance butter substitute (or olive or coconut oil).
  2. Get your pan nice and sizzling hot.
  3. Beat two eggs very well, adding a tablespoon of water to lighten them up. (I like to add some salt and a dash of Tabasco or Sriracha right into my wet mix.)
  4. Now, pour your beaten eggs into you sizzling hot pan and wait until the mixture settles and begins to bubble! Do not touch your mix until you see the bubbling and a solid base forming.
  5. As it bubbles, take a fork and pull or drag the edges of the omelette in from the sides toward the center.
    Wait for more bubbling and repeat this process 3 or 4 times.
  6. As you continue to pull in your sides toward center, you will notice your omelette is becoming  fuller, fluffier, bigger.
  7. When your egg mixture is still wet, but mostly cooked through, turn heat to low and add your filling ingredients. Cover and leave 1 minute.
  8. Now using a spatula, fold one side onto the other, creating a half-moon. Then slide this on to your plate.

imageIn this Omelette, I have added a kind of Kale, chopped, and sauteed with a bit of garlic, onion and salt.
Also, I put in some cheese and a bit of ham. (Omit if vegetarian).

This omelette came out so large I had to cut it in two, thus the quarter pie look!

I love serving eggs with fresh tomatoes. I just think the combination is delicious.

Breakfast

Spoiling My Peeps

February 26, 2015

One way to make a family member feel extra special is to deliver breakfast in bed, just because.

Featured in My Daily Kitchen here is Eggs over Filet Mignon with Hollandaise Sauce, Potato Sticks, Fresh Pineapple Puree, Mocha Coffee.

Have your tray ready, nearby, set with utensils, salt & pepper & decorate with a floral or green clipping from outside.

To Begin
Potato Sticks

Cut a potato into thin sticks, keeping the peel.
Slice 1/2 a white onion into thin strips.
Sautee potatoes & onions in a tbsp. of olive oil
Sprinkle Salt & Pepper to taste.
Add a very tiny pinchof Cayenne.
Cover and sautee on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are soft to the fork and they begin to form a crust in the pan.

While the potatoes are cooking
Begin boiling water for the eggs to poach. I like to add a tsp of white vinegar to my egg water.

As the water heats…
Toast bread or muffin of your choice. Butter lightly.
Sautee two thin cutlets of filet mignon in a bit of real butter (you could switch beef for a ham cutlet)
Now, place the warm, cooked meat atop the toasted bread, set on a plate & keep warm in the oven.

Eggs
Poach or Gently Sautee two Free-Roaming Eggs until the yolk is cream & the whites firm.
Place them carefully on top of your toast and filet arrangement.

Easy Hollandaise
In a blender (or into a beaker, using a hand mixer), crack 2 egg yolks (no whites!)
Add 3 tsp of water
Add 3 pinches of salt
Add 2 tsp of lemon juice
Blend.
In a saucepan, melt a stick of butter.
Once melted, slowly add this to the blended egg mixture.
Transfer mixture to saucepan and keep warm, on very low heat.

Putting it together
Arrange your potato sticks on your plate
Spoon a good portion of Hollandaise over each egg, garnish with a sprig of parsley
I love the combination of tomatoes with eggs. Slice up some fresh tomatoes, arrange on the place and sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper.

Pineapple Smoothie
Blend/Puree fresh pineapple or any fruit of your choice and pour directly into a pretty glass.

Breakfast

Shakshuka – Gluten-Free, Delicious

February 18, 2015

Shakshuka is an egg dish poached in a tomato sauce.

It’s my understanding that Shakshuka is originally a peasant dish, something  less wealthy folk slapped together with ingredients on hand. I’ve heard that every Jewish grandma has her own way of making it, so you can take my recipe and make it your own.

My first &  only Shakshuka was delicious &  prepared by an Israeli woman whose family is from a village so old, it’s mentioned in the traditional Seder ceremony.  I liked the dish so much, but never got her recipe for the pungent paprika-garlic paste she made ahead of time for her tomato sauce.

So I made up my own recipe.

Shakshuka

Lace a large sauce pan with about  two tablespoons of olive oil.

ADD
6 teeth minced garlic
6 Medium, chunked tomatoes
1 Can of diced tomatoes
1/2 Can of tomato paste
1 Chopped green pepper
1/4 Cup finely chopped parsley
1 Cup of water

NOW ADD
2 Tbsp paprika
1  Tsp cumin
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tsp turmeric
1/2 Tsp hot pepper flakes, or any hot sauce you desire.
Go slowly, or use none at all if you are serving children!
Salt & pepper to taste.

Over medium heat, simmer down until vegetables are soft.
Puree with a hand or table top blender until rough.

Crack  6 Fresh Eggs into the sauce, now cover & poach over low heat until the yolk is soft &  whites are firm — about 5 minutes.
Ladle sauce into bowl, then place eggs gently on top.
Garnish all over with finely chopped parsley