Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Egg in a Hole for Breakfast

It’s entirely possible that I’m the last person to arrive at this party, but these days I find I really, really like soft-cooked eggs. Growing up I thought I only liked scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, and deviled eggs (who doesn’t?) but recently, I’ve discovered the pleasure of the slightly runny yolk.

And THIS, it turns out, is the best way I’ve found to enjoy it. I feel a little generous even calling this a recipe because it’s SO quick, SO easy, and amazingly, deliciously good.

Simple ingredients
I’ve seen this recipe with a number of different names. Egg in a Hole, Frog in a Hole, Egg in the Middle… but the principle remains the same. You take a piece of bread. And you punch a hole in it. And then you put an egg in the middle and cook. Simple!

Making the hole
I like using a round cookie cutter for this, but you could get cutesy and use a heart, a square, or whatever shape you want. The important thing is to not make it too small. Trust me, if there isn’t enough hole, the egg will just overflow and not cook and you won’t be able to flip it and all will be ugly for your breakfast.

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Whole Wheat English Muffins

I don’t eat a lot of sandwich bread. Brad can finish off a loaf of bread in three or four days, even faster if he’s trying to eat at home. I, on the other hand, have a tough time getting through even half a loaf before it takes a turn for the moldy.

I’ve always tended to prefer my breads in other forms. Tortillas, bagels, biscuits, cornbreads, and baguettes are much more likely to appeal to me than a loaf of sandwich bread. And more recently, English muffins.

Homemade English Muffins

Considering that I love finding ways to replace my store-bought staples with homemade versions, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I really haven’t spent a lot of time focusing on breads. I do have some go-to recipes for quite a few quick breads, but not many that I cook on a regular basis (the dramatic exception being my favorite, favorite cornbread, which ends up on my menu quite frequently).  So when I ran across a recipe for this, my current bread-of-choice, I decided it was time.

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Cheddar Swirl Buns

The internet is full of food blogs, and though I’ve been a bit busy for leisurely reading lately, I read quite a few of them. I love to see what other bloggers are cooking, writing, and photographing; each one is hugely inspiring. One of my favorites — I adapt quite a few recipes from her posts — is Smitten Kitchen, crafted by the clever, snarky, and talented Deb Perelman. Her site is gorgeous, her archives well-organized, and if you’ve never taken a look, I highly recommend it. In fact, Smitten Kitchen was the first food blog I ever read, and was a major source of inspiration for me to start a food blog of my own.

Today is a special day here at 30 Pounds of Apples… it’s my two-year blogoversary! And to celebrate, I have a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook — signed by Deb Perelman herself — to give away to one of you!

Lots of tabs

Last fall, Deb’s work jumped out of the internet and onto my bookshelf when she released a cookbook. After receiving a copy as a Christmas gift from my fabulous sister, I spent quite a bit of time and many post-its paging through her book marking up recipes I wanted to try. And this one, for these luscious, savory breakfast buns, was at the top of the list.

Cooking from the book!

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As a junior in college, I moved out of the dorms and into my first apartment. I was thrilled to flex my baby culinary muscles beyond what they could make in a microwave or a contraband toaster, so my friend and I marched to the grocery store to see what there was to see. And what there was to see was Jiffy corn muffin mix, for twenty cents a box. We bought about a dozen boxes and a 2-pack of cheap muffin tins so that each of us could make cornbread at any hour of any day with our new-found kitchens.

Several years have passed, and my kitchen has come a long way since those first cornbread-baking days (though I still have that very same muffin tin). I still make this tasty treat quite a lot, though I haven’t bought a box of the Jiffy for years. Why? Because I discovered it’s just as simple to make it from scratch as it is from a mix. Seriously.

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I frequently lament that I need another freezer. We have your standard apartment fridge-and-freezer combo, but our freezer is, shall I say, stuffed. Filled to the brim. There are many reasons for this. I have given up on buying chicken breast and now buy the whole dang bird, break it down, and separate the parts into meal-size portions. I capture strawberries at their peak ripeness, freeze them on cookie sheets, then bag them up to use in winter months when the only berries to be found are the imposters at the grocery store. Insanely, I recently made enough soup to open a deli and froze most of it because really, who wants soup in 95° weather?

Oh, and last summer, after foolishly planting seven basil plants that plotted to take over the world, it was all I could do to keep up with it by tossing it in the food processor with some nuts, garlic, parmesan, and a glug or two of olive oil before freezing it in my ice cube trays to make an army of pesto cubes. (Finding actual ice in our freezer is, coincidentally, impossible. Icy beverage lovers, beware.)

And then there are the pizza doughs. I made about twenty of them in the afterglow of my homemade mozzarella cheese experiment this spring with the leftover whey, and may have over-estimated the value of their convenience in relation to my precious freezer real estate.

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This is one of those rare weekends when I have not a single show to work. I love working in performing arts, but oooooh how I do relish these weekends with minimal events.

I feel like a superhero the Friday before a full weekend. So many potential things to do… elaborate cooking projects! Sleeping in! Planting seeds! Reading on the porch!

And of course, the opportunity to make fancy breakfasts. Or at least something fancier than a poached egg and an apple, my normal morning fare.

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Generally quiet, cold, and frugal, it’s never been my favorite month. The anticipation of the holidays has passed, and the next break seems distant. But I’m still juuuuuuuuust close enough to December that I am still savoring the memories of a holiday baking project conducted in my parents’ kitchen.

Potica (pronounced po-tee-tza) is one of those recipes that my grandma made rarely but talked of often as a favorite family treat. It apparently is known by many names and varies dramatically depending on which eastern European recipe you happen to be following. To create this spiral nut bread, a sweet dough is rolled extremely thin and slathered with a mixture of butter, pecans, and sugar before it bakes into lovely loaves, fitting for a simple breakfast or a stunning gift.

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I doubt flying home will ever get old. Stepping off the plane into the cool, breezy mountain air, encountering several people I know (or at least know of) on a quick grocery stop before we head out of town, watching the peaks I’ve grown up with becoming larger and larger as we drive home.

Since I left for college, my parents have sent me pictures of first snows, sunrises, and pretty clouds nestled around those peaks, and I never tire from seeing them. This morning is no different, after a night of fresh snow.

Comfort. Major.

But you know what else is comfort major? Hint: starts with cheddar, ends with biscuits.

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When asked if I could bring scones to a “Ladies’ High Tea”, I found myself suddenly faced with two questions:

1. What exactly is a Ladies’ High Tea?
2. How the heck do I make scones?

Scones are something that I always hear about, that people some to rather enjoy, but that I’d never made before. But what better excuse to learn a new recipe than a chance to share it with new friends?

Not really having the time to experiment with several recipes, I began hunting for a recipe that seemed simple, basic, and classic. I was, however, incredibly surprised by the range of this pastry, and have now added many recipes to my list to try in the future. Apple cheddar scones? Blueberry lemon scones? Cinnamon scones?

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My high school theatre classroom (the Dungeon, to be exact) was unlike any other classroom. It had no desks but was bordered with squashy, mis-matched sofas, and it served as not only a classroom, but as a rehearsal space, a lunch hall, a dressing room on show nights, and for some of us, an office. It’s possible that during tech weeks I spent more time in there than in my own house.

Needless to say, a LOT of food found its way in and out of the Dungeon. But there were certain foods that were never allowed.

Corn nuts (for the smell). Sunflower seeds (for the mess).

But above all, blue food. There was no real purpose in asking why. You just. didn’t. eat it.

But I like to think that if school had been in session over the summer, blueberries would have been allowed. As one of natures only blue foods, they are phenomenally good for you, delicious, and extremely versatile.

Blueberry season is coming to a close here, but while they were still plentiful on the bushes, I made a trip to a little pick-your-own farm nearby to get my hands on some. Plenty for immediate use, plenty to freeze for later so that I can make these muffins all year long.

I’m actually really not much of a muffin person, to be perfectly honest. I tend to crave something savory rather than sweet in the morning. But if I do make muffins, this recipe is likely to be repeated with regularity.

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