Savory pear Dutch baby

November 24, 2010 § 15 Comments

Boston is a brunch city.  This is one of the first things I really noted about the place after moving here a few years ago.  Other characteristics I was more prepared for, the Red Sox fervor, the horrendous driving (you could use Bostonian driving to define the word abysmal), the unfortunate weather, the massive quantities of students stuffed into every historic nook and cranny.  But, the brunch fanaticism, I was not prepared for.
Somehow, and who knows how, it has become a deeply rooted issue of culture and identity out here.  Discussions about the best places for brunch are loving gush fests centered on hollandaise and stuffed French toasts, though disagreements can come close to blows.  Oh, and any meal on the weekend that comes before dinner is called brunch.  That was the most confusing part for me.  People would invite me to brunch and when I’d ask what time they’d say 2pm.  Isn’t that a late lunch??
Apparently not.
I enjoy brunch foods, but I am not a brunch person.  I am a breakfast person.  One of those people who wakes up already reaching from their bed for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.  And if I don’t eat within approximately 30-45 minutes of waking up, I melt into an incapacitated, shaky, whiny, grouchy lump of low blood sugar.  So, if I’m going to have brunch, I usually have breakfast first.
This works especially well on the day after a holiday like Thanksgiving.  I languidly wake up – a couple of hours before everyone else – and while they slowly creak their eyes open and take a few hours to contemplate the idea of having something to eat (a hair of the dog that bit you after an extravagant feast like Thanksgiving, you could say) I get to dive into the leftovers of the pie, with some whipped cream of course, for breakfast.  And by the time everyone else is ready for brunch, well, I am too!

Truffled (!) potato pancakes with fried eggs for breakfast

May 2, 2010 § 1 Comment

“Wow,” I thought to myself as I set breakfast down on the table.  “Did I just take up residence in Martha Stewart Living, or something?”  Then I glanced over at the piles of paper on the edge of the table and the laundry that hadn’t yet been folded, and I knew I hadn’t.  But, that didn’t change the fact that I had just made truffled potato pancakes and over easy eggs for breakfast, on a weekday, no less!

It all started because I somehow bought some truffle butter.  This is what happens when it’s too long until the next farm share delivery, and I’m allowed to go by myself, unsupervised, to the grocery store to restock the kitchen after being gone for a while.  I get awestruck by all the fancy specialty ingredients and every now and then I discover that I’ve bought something that I didn’t intend to buy, but that in the moment seemed eminently useful.  I love the earthy, musky flavor of truffles, but in general they are way too fancy-pants for my style of cooking.  I rarely go in for fancy and frilly (unless I’m at a nice restaurant and someone else is paying, hehe!).  I’ve only bought a truffle product one other time before and that was because I read an article by the amazing and hilarious food writer Jeffrey Steingarten about a truffle sandwich that was the new rage in Haute Cuisine in Paris.  That right there would normally signal “out of your league” to me, except that he described it in such darn engaging, drool-inducing language, and then he shared the recipe!  I descended into some crazy, hazy truffle-desiring stupor that compelled me to empty the contents of my savings account and buy a truffle to shave on country bread, thickly slathered with butter, which was then wrapped and refrigerated overnight and grilled the next day.  It tasted pretty much like buttery bread with truffle.  Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but I didn’t ascend into some special circle of fungal heaven or anything.

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Vegetable frittata (aka Christmas morning frittata)

December 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’m pretty much always the first one up on Christmas morning (originally because I was more ridiculously excited to open presents than anyone else, now it’s because I’m hungry before anyone else!), and while I wait around for all the other creatures to start stirring, I put on a pot of coffee, and I start cooking this frittata for our Christmas Day brunch.

This year, as I sautéed the onions and whisked the eggs, the ghost of Christmas past beckoned me to look back on young Emily, back when we first started serving this dish for Christmas.  I had no idea what a frittata was in those days.  I just knew that this thing that we were eating was, creamy, flavorful, and delicious and made me feel like it wasn’t even so very horrible to be eating something with vegetables, even for breakfast!  I also loved the word “frittata,” and ran around saying it dramatically, as though I was casting a spell.  “Frittata!” (Yes, I was an obnoxious little kid.) « Read the rest of this entry »

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