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:
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:
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.