Archive for the 'breakfast' Category

Back to Busy: Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

quinoa 1 Back to Busy: Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

Every September, I come to a screeching halt and resume eating warm oatmeal for breakfast in the morning in place of my standard summer pie/crumble/piles of granola with berries and yogurt. This year was more abrupt than usual, when we went from a sunny 25 degrees to zero overnight, with enough snow to crush nearly every tree in the city.

Early mornings in the dark combined with enough wet snow to keep us shoveling off everything beyond the front door and going from flip flops to damp, cold socks really requires some extra effort to adjust to being awake – at the very least, plenty of espresso and a bowl of something warm. (Half a foot of snow a week into school is also a free pass to get a pain au chocolat at the coffee shop, just FYI.) Oats are my usuals, although I recently discovered that quinoa can be eaten for breakfast in the same way – warm with brown sugar and raisins and milk. Its light texture and mild flavour reminds me of the cream of wheat I grew up with, only quinoa is far more nutrient-dense, with more protein and fibre. (I usually make blonde quinoa, but happened to have some red on hand.)

quinoa 2 Back to Busy: Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

I’ve heard rumours that you can cook quinoa in a rice cooker. I’ve never owned a rice cooker, nor even used one, but know owners of them, and from what I do know those who own rice cookers tend to be over-the-top enamoured with them. And so to make up for my extended lack of kitchen, I’ve allowed myself to accumulate a small army of small appliances in the dining room. Who needs a kitchen? Maybe we’ll just keep it taped off and keep doing the dishes in the bathtub forever.

steel cut oats Back to Busy: Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

With a rice cooker I can go back and forth between quinoa and steel-cut oats, which also do well in a rice cooker – combine 1 part oats to 3 parts water and turn it on – add some cinnamon, stir in some raisins, whatever your usual is. I like to chop up a tart apple and stir it in – the apple softens but doesn’t compromise the texture of the steel-cut oats, which hold their own.

For my first rice cooker experience I decided to go a little higher-end with a Cuisinart, partly because it’s BPA-free, partly because I was wooed by the insert that allows you to steam veggies, chicken or fish at the same time, and once the machine detects that all the moisture has been absorbed from your rice (or quinoa), it flips itself over to warm until you’re ready for it.

I’ll be honest – my first try didn’t go well. Not sure if I wound up with a dud.. it kept prematurely flipping itself over to warm, and when it did get going boiled violently, spewing much of the liquid out from around the lid and through the blowhole. Maybe it’s me? It can detect my indifference to rice cookers? So many have convinced me they’re worth the cupboard space though – one friend set hers out on the table at a party recently, so that friends to serve themselves rice bowls and Korean lettuce wraps – and I do love the idea of not having to tend to a pot on the stove-especially when I don’t have a stove. There are plenty of other rice cookers in the sea, so if this relationship fails, I’m moving on.

Because I do love the idea of dumping quinoa + water into it in the morning while I make coffee and starting the day feeling like I’m on top of things.

Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

2 cups water, or half milk, half water
1 cup quinoa (rinsed in a sieve if it needs it)
a shake of cinnamon
1 cup fresh raspberries, blackberries or blueberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
a drizzle of honey or maple syrup
milk or cream, for serving

Combine the milk, water, quinoa and cinnamon in the rice cooker. Cover, turn it on and let cook until it turns itself off. (Alternatively, combine the milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes.)

Transfer to bowls and top with berries and pecans. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup and serve with milk.

Serves 4.

* This post was sponsored by London Drugs to help get through the back to school crunch – and to help me pay my web hosting fees – but all words and thoughts are my own. Thanks, London Drugs!

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September 11 2014 | breakfast | 7 Comments »

Apple or Peach Fritters

Apple fritters 6 Apple or Peach Fritters

The apples are coming. The peaches are here.

I know it’s early – someone said August is like the Sunday afternoon of summer – but bins of apples are arriving in farmers’ markets alongside late summer peaches – and both make me want to eat fritters. This colossal Sundaynightitis and the mere suggestion of shorter days and cooler nights triggers my need for comfort food something fierce.

Apple fritters 2 Apple or Peach Fritters

These photos should be out in an orchard, on a rustic wood board with apples that still have their stems – and maybe an ever so slightly curled leaf – for optimal effect. But it’s one of the last of the vintage dinette tabletops – the pink and blue so many art directors I know shudder to see peeking out from under my food – and at the bottom, a scrap of the material that’s now on our ceilings. And I’m getting all sniffy at the thought that the table might not be going back – I’m thinking a big slab of butcher block will warm up the room and be nice to shoot on.

Sniff.

Apple fritters 1 Apple or Peach Fritters

All good Canadians are familiar with the apple fritter – one of the most popular doughnuts at our biggest doughnut chain – but if you haven’t tried a peach fritter, you must. Just make sure you let them cool a bit – juicy peaches tend to retain their heat longer than apples.

Apple or Peach Fritters

If you’re feeding a crowd, this recipe can be easily doubled.

1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup apple cider or milk
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. melted butter or oil
1 tart apple or ripe peach, finely chopped (don’t peel it)

canola or peanut oil, for frying
icing sugar or cinnamon sugar, for dusting

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the cider or milk, egg and melted butter and whisk just until combined. Stir in the chopped apple or peach.

In a heavy medium saucepan, heat a couple inches of oil over medium-high heat. When a scrap of bread sizzles when you dip it in, drop a few small spoonfuls of batter at a time into the oil, without crowding the pan. Flip as they turn golden, and continue to cook until golden on the other side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Douse in cinnamon sugar or icing sugar while still warm. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

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August 26 2014 | breakfast and snacks | 2 Comments »

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