Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

For a few weeks, I’ll be cross-posting links to my new blog, It Was Just Right. Come on over to my new home and subscribe for email updates to keep receiving my recipes, reviews, and how-to’s. Today’s post features a great on-the-go breakfast from an Oakland-based company, Slow Girl Foods.

slow girl foods steel cut oatmeal

Slow Girl Foods Steel-Cut Oatmeal



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There are a bajillion million granola recipes on the web, but I can’t resist contributing yet another to the pantheon.

What makes this recipe unique is its simplicity — every ingredient is necessary and in perfect balance with the others. I used a generous hand with the pecans, adding plenty of them and keeping the pieces large enough to highlight their luxurious flavor and texture. Slicing whole pecans might seem like an extra step (and by all means, use baking pieces if you’d prefer), but I love the effect here, and encourage you to try it out!

Agave syrup keeps things vegan-friendly, vanilla adds wonderful aroma, and a good amount of sea salt hits just the right salt-to-sweet ratio. And that’s that. No dried fruit, no flax seeds, no bells and whistles.

The last step of this recipe calls for leaving the granola in the oven for a few hours or over night, after you’ve turned off the heat, to allow it to cool completely. This allows it to dehydrate a bit more than if you’d let it cool on the counter right after baking, so it will stay crunchy longer. It also prevents curious beagles from jumping on the counter and eating all of your freshly-baked granola. Win-win if you ask me.


Pecan Granola (printer-friendly version)


6 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups whole pecans, sliced into 1/8” to 1/4”-thick pieces

2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2. In a large (6-quart) mixing bowl, combine oats and sliced pecans. Set aside.

3. In a small (1-quart) saucepan over medium heat, combine the canola oil, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and salt.

4. When the mixture just begins to bubble, pour it over the oats and pecans and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

5. Spread the mixture out onto the lined sheet pan, then place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes total, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even baking.

6. Turn the oven off and leave the granola in the oven. Leave for a few hours or over night, until cooled to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


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Maple is one of our favorite natural sweeteners around here. I always pour a small swig on top of my sourdough waffles, and it goes into my granola, scones, and spiced pecans too. When I happened upon the Tonewood booth at this year’s Fancy Food show, I knew I’d have a favorite new product on my hands.

Tonewood’s Maple Flakes are made with only pure maple syrup — the moisture is removed, leaving crunchy, golden flakes. This morning’s breakfast is pictured above: homemade walnut levain bread spread with peanut butter and topped with maple flakes. Just a light sprinkle added great texture and sweetness, and this combo made for a seriously hearty start to my day. Maple flakes would be delicious on top of oatmeal, too — can’t wait to try that out soon!

This product was provided free of charge by Tonewood Maple. All opinions are my own. 


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Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles

For the last couple months, I’ve been trying out different recipes with my favorite birthday present, a Breville Smart Waffle Maker. The thing is a beast, weighing in around twelve pounds. It makes consistently fantastic, evenly-cooked waffles, no matter what recipe I use.

Cook's Illustrated Whole Wheat Waffles

Cook’s Illustrated Whole Wheat Waffles

After trying out a few road-tested recipes, I decided to branch out and develop my own riff on Nancy Silverton’s Sourdough Waffles. Hers are absolutely delicious, and they made for a knock-out dessert on Valentine’s Day. I topped the crispy, hot waffles with French vanilla ice cream and Grade B maple syrup. The slightly tangy sourdough flavor paired perfectly with the sweet toppings, resulting in a can’t-stop-won’t-stop dessert.


Nancy Silverton’s Sourdough Waffles

In a perfect world, nutritionists would declare Nancy’s waffles the latest superfood. Unfortunately, they are (SPOILER ALERT) high in cholesterol and saturated fat, and made with refined flour. I gave her recipe a healthy spin, making a batch of waffles I would feel good about eating on a regular basis. Sugar, butter, and egg yolks were out, and whole-grain flour and tangy fully-developed sourdough flavor were in.


Breville Smart Waffle Maker

In order to make these, you’ll need a sourdough starter. I got mine from a friend, but it’s actually fairly simple to cultivate your own. Fed weekly with a 50/50 mixture of flour and water, it’ll burble along happily in your refrigerator indefinitely.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Waffles (printer-friendly version)

makes 8 waffles (1/2 cup batter per waffle)


1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup Whole Wheat High Protein Flour*
3/4 cup Baker’s Choice All-Purpose Unbleached Flour*

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Measure the coconut oil and milk into a medium, microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave on high for one minute, until coconut milk is almost melted and milk is warm but not too hot (about 130F). Let stand at room temperature for five minutes to allow the coconut oil to melt fully.

2. Add the sourdough starter and flours to the mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap, then set aside in a shaded, cool place for 8-14 hours. The longer the batter sits, the tangier the sourdough flavor.

3. When you are ready to make the waffles, vigorously whisk the egg whites and salt into the batter until thoroughly combined.

4. Heat your waffle iron and cook waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 1.11.42 PM

*I received samples of flour from Giusto’s Vita-Grain, a mill based in South San Francisco.

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It’s been a while since I’ve made a smoothie, and I’m not sure why! They’re one of my favorite mid-morning pick-me-up snacks, and I’m definitely going to include this one in regular rotation. It’s packed with nutritions ingredients, including a couple sources of healthy fats to keep you energized long after you’re done sipping. Thanks to Linwoods for sending the sample of hemp seeds – they’re mild in taste and blend easily, adding lots of protein, magnesium and iron.


Berry Hemp Smoothie

Serves 2

3 C. loosely packed baby greens (I use a mix of chard, spinach and kale)
½ C. frozen pineapple chunks
2/3 C. frozen wild blueberries
½ medium avocado
2 Tbsp. shelled hemp seeds
1 C. unsweetened cranberry juice
3 Tbsp. agave nectar

1. Place ingredients in blender in order listed.

2. Blend until smooth, stopping and using a spoon to agitate the ingredients a couple times if necessary.

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After getting some great Mexican takeout the other night, we were left with a bag full of tortilla chips, quickly going stale on the countertop. Never being one to waste perfectly good food (and not a fan of slightly chewy chips), I decided to repurpose them in this classic Mexican comfort food dish.

Chilaquiles is a dish born of leftovers. It is most commonly served for breakfast or brunch, using tortillas and salsa from the previous night’s meal. The tortillas are cut into wedges or strips, fried until crispy, simmered in salsa, then topped with a fried egg. The salsa can be whatever you’ve got on hand, whether it be a tomato-based salsa roja, mole sauce, or a tomatillo-based salsa verde.

For today’s version, I made a simple salsa using a mix of Anaheim and Jalapeño peppers, onion and garlic. I tossed the vegetables in oil and salt, then roasted them on a sturdy sheet pan until mellow and sweet. A quick blitz in the blender yielded a velvety smooth, almost creamy sauce, with just a bit of a spicy kick.

You can top your chilaquiles with a fried egg as I did, or grate a mound of cotija or queso fresco on top. Serve it alone or with refried beans on the side. Oh, and the salsa recipe makes enough for three generous servings of chilaquiles — you can freeze the extra salsa for future chilaquiles cravings, or make a big batch to share.

Roasted Pepper Salsa Verde (printer-friendly version)

makes about 3 cups

4 Anaheim peppers, seeded and cut into 1” pieces
4 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and cut into 1” pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1” pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ C. low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1. Preheat oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Place peppers, garlic and onion on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat everything with the oil, then bake for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the ingredients to cool to room temperature. Place in a blender or food processor, pour in the chicken broth, and blend for about 10 seconds, until salsa is smooth and thick.

Roasted Green Pepper Chilaquiles (printer-friendly version)

serves 1

1 C. Roasted Pepper Salsa Verde
2 ounces tortilla chips

top with:

1 egg, cooked over easy
½ of one serrano pepper, thinly sliced into rounds
¼ C. chopped fresh tomatoes (Early Girl or other variety)

1. Ladle the salsa into a medium (10-inch) skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

2. When the salsa begins to simmer, add the tortilla chips. Stir the tortilla chips into the salsa and let simmer for about 3 minutes, until they have absorbed the salsa and become pliable but not broken down.

3. Transfer the cooked mixture onto a serving plate. Fry an egg and set on top. Garnish with sliced pepper and chopped tomatoes and serve immediately.

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Dear Readers,

I hope you’ve had a great week! If you’re looking forward to preparing breakfast or brunch this weekend, I’ve got a unique and delicious recipe for you.

Last week, in the throes of a procrastination-fueled Wikipedia vortex, I found myself researching Turkish cuisine. Included in the list of traditional dishes was an unusual entry that I wanted to make as soon as I saw it: Çılbır. PronouncedCHILLburr,” it consists of poached eggs napped in a garlicky yogurt sauce, topped with chopped fresh herbs and a spicy drizzle of red pepper-infused melted butter. Served with a big basket of warm pita or other whole-grain flatbread, Çılbır makes for a high-protein, wholesome morning meal.

My recipe is scaled to serve two, but you can certainly double or triple it for a larger crowd. Whether served in individual bowls or on a large platter with a serving spoon alongside, the dramatic contrast of white yogurt sauce, spice-infused butter, and green herbs make for a gorgeous dish.

I’ve subbed in a few non-traditional touches — Garlic Gold takes the place of raw garlic in the yogurt sauce, hot paprika stands in for Aleppo pepper in the spiced butter, and flat leaf parsley is included instead of fresh mint. Feel free to play around with your own spice and herb combinations — this dish lends itself well to a little experimentation! Meyer lemon zest in the yogurt sauce, thyme-infused butter on top, an extra dash of cracked pepper . . . now I can’t wait to put another spin on this versatile classic.


Poached Eggs in Yogurt Sauce (printer-friendly version)

serves 2

1 C. plain nonfat yogurt
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
2 tsp. Garlic Gold (Nuggets in Oil)
1/8 tsp. pinch ground black pepper

6 C. water
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 large eggs

1 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. hot paprika

1. Combine yogurt, parsley, Garlic Gold, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to mix evenly and set aside.

2. Heat the water, vinegar, and salt in a medium (2.5-quart) saucepan over medium heat.

3. When the water comes to a bare simmer, turn down to low and gently crack the eggs into the water. Let poach for 4 minutes.

4. Use a slotted spoon to remove eggs from the water and place on your serving plates. Top with yogurt sauce.

5. In a small (8-inch) skillet, heat the butter and paprika over medium heat just until the butter is melted. Spoon mixture over yogurt sauce. Garnish with parsley and extra black pepper and serve.

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