Weekend Breakfasts

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Weekends are for making breakfast. I used to think weekends were for going to brunch, and we still do go out to brunch every now and then, but I’ve started to embrace the simplicity, comfort and relative cheapness of making those same dishes at home.

Take the dish you see above: that’s called a dutch baby; a big, puffy, baked pancake. I got the recipe from The Joy of Cooking, but Molly has a pretty gorgeous looking one on her site too (click here.) Whichever recipe you choose, it couldn’t be simpler: you mix melted butter, eggs, flour and milk (or in Molly’s case, half-and-half), pour that into a skillet and bake in the oven. I’d recently purchased a cast iron skillet, and there was something especially satisfying about making a dutch baby in a cast iron. How much would this be if you had this at a restaurant? I’m guessing, at least, $12. At home, assuming you already have milk, eggs and flour in your fridge, it’s free.

Another weekend breakfast I love to make is eggs and biscuits:

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I have the best biscuit recipe in the world in my archives (click here) and I’ve streamlined it by doing it all now in one bowl. I take the butter, cut it into the flour using two steak knives until the flour’s lumpy like course meal, then I pour in the buttermilk, stir it around with a rubber spatula, and scoop out 1/2 cupfuls of dough, drop them in a bowl of flour, and put in the cake pan. It saves dish time to do it that way.

These eggs are scrambled, obviously, but what makes them delicious is the addition of bacon (which I had on hand) and parsley. I start by crisping the bacon (or, in this case, pancetta) and just when it gets golden, I add six beaten eggs for the two of us. I keep the heat relatively low, and move the eggs around until they just turn solid. Then I add a big handful of parsley, I taste for seasoning and serve. It couldn’t be faster.

The best breakfasts are often the ones you throw together with whatever you have on hand. Take this breakfast from last weekend:

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Those are eggs scrambled with chorizo, which I browned first, like the bacon, before adding the eggs. On the side are large wedges of sweet potatoes that I borrowed then re-invented from The Barefoot Contessa’s newest book, “Back To Basics.” I’d made her version the night before where you cut the sweet potato into six wedges (cut in half, then cut into thirds), toss in olive oil, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of brown sugar and roast at 425 for 15 minutes, flipping it over, and continuing until brown.

It never got brown, it got soggy. So this time I swapped the olive oil for vegetable oil, which has a higher smoking point, and raised the oven temp to 450. I also left the skin on (her recipes calls for peeling.) The result were fantastic wedgy sweet potato fries; you sprinkle with more salt and serve right away.

The best part of making these weekend breakfasts, though, has been brewing my own coffee. We live right near one of Park Slope’s best coffee shops; it’s often easier just to walk out our door and get a latte than it is to brew our own regular drip. Even when I do make regular drip, Craig still gets his latte.

But because I get lattes during the week when I write there, brewing fresh coffee on weekends has become a real pleasure. I use whole beans which I grind myself; I use cold filtered water, which was a trick taught to me by Joe the Art of Coffee’s owner Jonathan Rubinstein. And nothing beats the smell of fresh brewed coffee on a Sunday morning, especially when enhanced by the smell of just-baked biscuits.

So don’t go out to brunch this weekend, make your own. You’ll save money and, more importantly, you’ll get to enjoy a calm, peaceful morning in a way that you rarely do on a weekday. Brew your own coffee, and leave the dishes in the sink. Read the Sunday paper. It’s one of life’s great pleasures and with just some eggs, flour, and coffee beans, it’s yours for the taking.

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23 comments

  1. Too true. Fresh coffee on a Sunday morning whilst still in your sweats and watching the Sunday news shows is that one slice of life you shouldn’t compromise!

  2. And if you are out of coffee beans, that breakfast will go well with the bottle of burgundy in the last photo.

  3. Adam,

    French Presses are fine, but this thing right here will make you the richest, most delicious coffee you’ve ever had:

    http://www.evasolo.com/products-cafesolo.html

    I have one. Remind me about it next time you’re over and I’ll make you some!

    Can you write out your one bowl biscuit instructions in detailed fashion?

  4. I love waking up on a weekend morning knowing I have enough stuff in my fridge to make a big breakfast. The lazy food preparation, coffee-making and later newspaper-reading and lounging is the best. I’m thinking gourmet ‘fu scramble on sourdough, or steel cut oat porridge with fruit compote today… when I finally get out of bed!

  5. My greens are sprouting now, thanks to the extended warm weather here in NC. Soon I will have spinach to throw into my scrambled eggs, which is my favorite way to eat them.

  6. Adam, one of our favourite breakfasts lately is cheese blintzes with homemade blueberry syrup. They’re easier than we thought. The filling makes up in two minutes in a food processor. The crepes take a little longer to make (we use a well-seasoned iron skillet), but they’re easy enough. The hardest part is waiting the last ten minutes or so for the assembled blintzes to warm up in the oven. Here are some recipes. Only thing we do differently is add a little lemon zest to the cheese filling. (You can use frozen berries for the syrup, but fresh is nice.)

    http://www.recipezaar.com/Cheese-Blintzes-144121

    http://www.recipezaar.com/Syrup-for-Blueberry-Pancakes-42038

  7. A Dutch baby is also called a German pancake, and is great will all sorts of toppings. (I made one last weekend with baked apples and cranberries. Here’s a photo.)

    I use my great-grandmother’s cast-iron skillet, that was dedicated to German pancakes. Couldn’t be easier!

    Brunch at home is so satisfying.

  8. Adam,

    I don’t have a cast iron skillet, but i have a lodge cast iron dutch oven, do you think i can use that?

  9. You’re right… weekends are great for breakfasts. This morning we had ground venison tacos! Nice to have something different other than the traditional breakfast fare. I made a dutch baby some years ago… had forgotten about them. Will give them another try!

  10. Hi Jessica Mae,

    I really wouldn’t use a Dutch oven to make a Dutch baby; though it would seem to make sense (with “Dutch” in both their titles), I think it needs to be a skillet because the sides aren’t high and I think it exposes the pancake to just the perfect amount of heat. But cast iron skillets aren’t expensive; I got mine for $12. Get yours now!

    Josh,

    Here’s a more detailed approach to making biscuits in the one bowl method.

    Take all the dry ingredients in the recipe and put them in a bowl, whisk them together.

    Take the amount of butter the recipe calls for, make sure it’s cold, and cut it into small cubes. Toss in the dry mixture and then cut with two steak knives across the flour and butter so the butter gets cut into the flour; a pastry blender will do this too, but I like two knives. You’ll know it’s done when the flour mixture looks pebbly and moister than just normal flour; it’s ok if there are still large lumps here and there, that’ll add texture to your biscuits.

    Finally, you add the cold buttermilk, stir til just combined, and then scoop out mounds, drop them in a bowl of flour, roll them around and put them in the cake pan just like the recipe says.

    Then bake according to the recipe’s instructions.

    Hope that helps!

    Adam

  11. I’ve actually made a dutch baby in a dutch oven (a 5 quart I think, staub). A bit hard to get out of the pan, but it worked out fine. I’ve also made it in a cake pan, which was a good substitute. But like Adam said, cast iron skillets are worth the 10, 15 dollars.

  12. Ooooh I will have to try this for a weekend breakfast soon! I love making breakfast but lately haven’t been loving the recipes I chose! This one will change that…

  13. Adam,

    I completely agree. Breakfast is definitely one of my most important–and favorite meals–of the day. And weekends are the ideal time to perfect all of my delicious experiments. Of course, I always SAY I’ll make something savory, but sweet generally wins :)

    Kasey

  14. So, is a dutch baby sort of like a giant popover? The recipe sounds about the same.

    I generally don’t make time for leisurely weekend breakfasts. My husband tends to sleep in so late that by the time it’s time to eat, I’m STARVING, it’s lunchtime, and there’s much to be done in the last few remaining hours of daylight.

    I often make coffee at home (when there are guests coming, anyway–I’m not much of a coffee-drinker myself) and I usually add either a few scrapes of nutmeg or a wee bit of cinnamon–about 1/4 tsp–per pot of coffee. It does something magical. No one knows that I’ve added the spice, it just makes it better somehow.

  15. I made the biscuits to go with dinner tonight. I had to add about 1/2 – 1 cup of flour to the batter to keep it from being completely liquid, but the result was delicious!

  16. We grew up eating Apple Dutch Baby. Basically, you melt butter in a cast iron skillet (though you can use a plain old frying pan as well), stir in butter and cinnamon, and then slice in two apples. When the apple slices are translucent, you pour in the batter and bake the whole thing for 25 minutes or until it’s done. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and voila! it’s done. I love it — delicious and easy and a great way to use apples.