Monday, March 7, 2016

Embracing Breakfast for Dinner

The more I actually experiment with different foods and explore new ways of cooking them, the more I realize that most of the foods I thought I hated were honestly just cooked horribly every time I had them. Case in point -- eggs. I still remember talking about my hatrid of eggs back when I first started this blog. I hoped that one day I'd be able to at least tolerate them so that I could actually order something other than waffles or pancakes when I visit a breakfast restaurant. (I'm really not a fan of sweet things for breakfast -- more of a Ron Swanson than a Leslie Knope.)

I'd say I reached the land of tolerance a while back, but since I've had such easy and continuous access to fresh eggs through our CSA program (thanks, Glaum Egg Ranch), I've been cooking and experimenting with eggs a whole lot more. At this point, I'd say that I've actually really developed an appreciation for them. I've also realized that the gummy, chewy texture and sulphur stench I associated with the eggs my parents and in-laws used to cook are abominations that only happen when they're overcooked. I learned how to cook them properly from Gordon Ramsay a while back so that I could make us a nice breakfast for Halloween and haven't looked back since.

I've made and fallen in love with lots of different dishes since -- scrambles and various frittatas featuring fresh produce, especially. However, I think my favorite egg dish so far is the tater tot quiche pictured above. (The good folks at Spoon University call it an "epic breakfast pizza", but this is a quiche as far as I'm concerned.) I'm never really one for following recipes to the letter or anything, but I've made this twice now and I did it almost exactly as specified behind the link there. The only thing I do differently is mix things up in regards to the cheese sometimes (depending on what's on hand) and add mix-ins to the eggs like white onion, scallion, or herbs. 

The quiche above featured eggs with sauteed white onion, spicy Spanish paprika and a few carrot greens I had in the fridge. The cheeses were a mixture of good old Velveeta for the bottom layer that goes under the eggs and Monterey Jack plus sharp Cheddar for the top. A few sausage links and a little citrus fruit on the side rounded things out for a really nice breakfast-at-dinner treat. (We've had an abundance of fresh organic oranges and grapefruits on hand lately.)

We've also become fans of classic multi-component breakfasts like the one above. The potato hash in the picture was a combination of sweet jewel yams, onion, and Irish red potatoes. The scramble had plenty of cheese, as we like our eggs rich and flavorful. And then there's our friend, fully cooked ready-make bacon for the side. I'd never be able to create such perfect slices myself!

I think I'm finally starting to "get" what people like so much about breakfast food. As is the case with vegetables and many other delicate ingredients, eggs are just not nice when they're overcooked, underseasoned, or just badly prepared in general. But when you treat them with the love and care they deserve, they become a really wonderful treat -- filling, but not overly so. Light and rich at the same time. It helps that they're appropriate for meat-free days as well. We're right in the middle of Lent and as much as we really like fish, it's nice to have an alternative protein to enjoy now and then.
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