Big Breakfast Time!

Big Breakfast Time!

It’s not easy for our family to sit down at dinner. Often times Kelli or I will have something going on in the evenings, or we are not hungry when the girls usually eat. Most nights the girls get their dinner earlier and Kelli and I will enjoy a dinner together later in the evening after the girls go to bed. There are rare occasions where we have tried to have a common dinner but often times the cuisine that Kelli and I enjoy is far from the more simple tastes the girls will eat.

There is one meal that we all agree on in regards to time and menu: breakfast. We’ve made it a tradition to – whenever possible – sit down to a breakfast together on the weekends.

The process usually begins on Friday night when Michaela at almost the same time each week asks the question: “daddy, can we have a big breakfast in the morning?” Most times I’ve already purchased the necessary items for said meal, but I always respond with a “I don’t know… we’ll have to see.”

Melanie can be picky and never eats the eggs. I have no idea what planet she if from - who doesn't eat scrambled eggs?

Melanie can be picky and never eats the eggs. I have no idea what planet she is from – who doesn’t eat scrambled eggs?

Daddy is usually the chef-in-charge of the meal so the first thing that happens, of course, is coffee. Michaela and Melanie are usually pretty patient for a Saturday morning “big breakfast” unless daddy slept in too much (which is known to happen on occasion.)

The menu is typical: scrambled eggs, biscuits and sausage patties. If I’m tired or it’s late in the morning I’ll use tube biscuits and precooked sausage patties. However, I love to make homemade biscuits and cook up fresh sausage when possible. The smell of sausage cooking in a pan reminds me of early mornings at my Mama Jane’s house in Antlers, Oklahoma. (Mama Jane was my paternal grandfather’s mother – some great memories in that house!) My speciality are scrambled eggs – deceptively difficult. I’ve trialed and errored my way to discovering the way my grandma Sherry used to make them – fluffy, moist, buttery – God’s gift to the culinary world. If I’m especially in a good mood I’ll include some sausage gravy and even more rarely some hash-browns. If I’m really ambitious, I’ll present the family with cinnamon Belgium waffles. (Yes, they are good… very good.)

Michaela get's pretty hostile when daddy tries to take some of her eggs.

Michaela get’s pretty hostile when daddy tries to take some of her eggs.

Michaela and Melanie love the time and attention and it’s a wonderful experience to sit with the whole family together at a table. Michaela likes to watch daddy make sausage biscuit sandwiches and Melanie will eat her sausage patty whole, right off the fork, like a little Viking eating a turkey leg. Even Keena gets a little treat at the end as we usually have a bit of leftovers.

I’m sure we will eventually meet in the middle on dinner times and menus in the future – I look forward to that time. But until then, “big breakfast” will always be a time to enjoy our company together.

Recipes

You can’t have a post about the grand glorious American meal called “breakfast” and not share some of your favorite recipes! Here are my better creations:

Scrambled Eggs

The “gold” standard of any breakfast meal. This little dish is deceptivley difficult to cook without burning or overcooking the delecate protiens of chicken eggs – a crime that will result in creating a rubbery monstrosity that is only good for padding delicate items for shipping containers.

The three tricks for cooking good scrambled eggs are 1) don’t over cook, 2) don’t overcook and, most importantly, 3) do NOT over cook.

Here’s the line-up (for two people):

  • 4 large eggs
  • splash of 2% milk
  • small pat of butter
  • couple pinches of salt

You’ll notice that I don’t give exact measurements – this is because I had to figure this gem out on my own, based on the memory of my grandma’s glorious scrambled eggs that we would receive each morning we stayed at her house as kids. Nothin’ better.

Lightly beat the eggs with the milk and salt. Set aside and warm up a non-stick pan on medium heat with the butter. Make sure the butter coats the entire pan. Add the eggs and wait until the eggs start to cook – don’t stir them! When the eggs are just beginning to cook, turn the heat up to high and using a rubber spatula, pull the eggs to the center of the pan and allow the uncooked egg to run onto the bottom of the pan. Repeat until the eggs look almost done. Transfer directly to plates and serve. The trick: if they look done in the pan, they’re overcooked! Eggs continue to cook even after you remove them from the pan so take them out of the pan just before they are done – they’ll be cooked by the time you eat – trust me. Over cooking also kills the flavor of eggs, so be careful!

Enjoy!

Belgium Waffles

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe found here.

Cannot have an “American” meal without “Belgium” waffles… HA! Of course, having a Belgium Waffle maker would be somewhat necessary for this recipe, but I’ve been told that a regular waffle maker will also work. Kelli and girls presented me with an actual Belgium Waffle iron last year and I love it! I use a stand mixer to make the recipe because I’m lazy. Here’s the parts list:

  • 2 cups cake flour (I’ve used all purpose for this just fine, so don’t worry if you don’t have cake flour!)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tbls sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 4 tbls unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the waffle iron. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer bowl add the eggs yolks and sugar and beat with the paddle attachment on a medium-low speed until sugar is completely dissolved and eggs have turned a pale yellow. Add the vanilla extract, melted butter, and milk to the eggs and combine on low speed. Slowly add the flour mixture while still running the mixer on low just until blended. Do not over mix. Transfer the batter to another bowl and wash out the mixer bowl. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter. Do not overmix! Coat the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and pour enough batter in iron to just cover waffle grid. Close and cook as per manufacturer’s instructions until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve immediately with melted butter and some syrup – a guaranteed sugar high for the rest of your Saturday morning!