Archive for April 7th, 2011

April 7, 2011

breakfast for dinner

I’m going to make a confession, but you have to keep it between us, okay?

About a year ago, I went to brunch with a couple of friends, and Olga ordered a dutch baby with blueberry compote. I had no idea what it was, but feigned excitement when she and Maggie talked about it before we arrived. A bit later, a small cast-iron skillet arrived at the table. Underneath the blanket of warm blueberry sauce was a fluffy, light as air puff of egg and flour.

Little did I know the chance to make this at home was right under my nose. My eyes had always glanced over the recipe for oven puffed pancakes in my Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. You know, the one with the red check gingham cover.

For years I dismissed it, thinking why crank up the oven for something I’ve always made on the stovetop? Yes, stupid me. My punishment for lack of culinary curiosity all those years was missing out on one of my family’s favorite meals now—dutch baby.

A dutch baby is more than simply a baked pancake. In fact, its base is primarily eggs, and for that reason it’s become my go-to dinner on busy weeknights, of which I seem to be in a pattern of never-ending ones.

And it all started with an email from my friend Michelle. She sent a few recipes to try out from her new book The Whole Family Cookbook. In it was one for a baked apple puff. Having spent some time in a heated affair with making dutch babies after that brunch at Little Giant, I knew exactly where this recipe would lead me.

Or so I thought.

It turns out Michelle’s recipe re-ignited my lust for making this pretty easy dish, and the eggs lend a protein punch, making it a perfect breakfast-for-dinner meal. After getting all hot and heavy with Michelle’s apple version, I expanded my horizons into the savory realm.

The first time I branched out, it was with fingerling potatoes sliced into coins, thinly sliced shallots and shredded cheddar cheese. The next time I subbed crispy homefries for the fingerlings, earning bonus points for using up leftovers from the past weekend’s breakfast.

Since that fateful day I opened Michelle’s email, I’ve also swapped in almond extract for the vanilla and added lemon zest. I even made a lemon ricotta variation, but that one needs a bit of tweaking before I can wax poetic about it.

The moral of this story?

Eat your breakfast—every chance you get.

As for Michelle’s recipe for the baked apple puff, go order a copy of The Whole Family Cookbook today. You won’t be disappointed, and the color-coded age specific instructions make it easy to assign tasks so the kids can help out. I’ll be posting a recipe for my savory fingerling, shallot & rosemary dutch baby soon, either here or at In Jennie’s Kitchen.

And if you’re looking for some ideas for a quick No Fast Food Friday meal, why not make it a breakfast for dinner night. Here’s few recipes to get you started.

Savory Waffles — Eat, Play, Love

Oat Ricotta Pancakes — In Jennie’s Kitchen

Toad in the Hole — Three Many Cooks

Gluten-Free Whole Grain Crepes —Gluten-Free Girl & The Chef

Breakfast Casserole — Savory Sweet Life

Tomato Jam & Mozzarella Eggy — In Jennie’s Kitchen

Breakfast Polenta — 101 Cookbooks

Manchego Cheese Grits — The Merry Gourmet

Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Onions & Ricotta — In Jennie’s Kitchen

For more ideas, go take a peek at what Gina, Melissa, Kristen and Michelle are up to for No Fast Food Friday. And Rob always offers food for thought, so follow him on twitter.

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