Celebrating a Local Breakfast

Coming back to the blog has me in a very reflective mood. As does starting a new book Blessing the Hands that Feed Us, Vicki Robin’s experiment with a 10-mile diet. The book has been sitting on my shelf since it was given to me as a gift from a student a couple years ago. Robin challenges to us to reflect on our relationship with our food – a task I try to keep in my heart and on my mind each day.

With this reflection in mind, I am very proud to share my homegrown and local breakfast: West VA heirloom blue corn bread with homegrown eggs and greens frittata. The main ingredients were either grown/raised at my home or purchased locally. (Yes – those are blue eggs from our two Ameraucana chickens in the picture below, we are very proud) But, the most exciting part to me – the other ingredients were local as well – garlic and local WV salt for flavor and cooked with local, organic rapeseed oil.

I have an ongoing thought experiment to see if it is possible to meet all my basic culinary needs locally. Recently, my attention was turned to oil and I was pleased to see a number of local cooking oil options at Chesapeake’s Bounty. I am experimenting with local sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, and butternut squash. These oils have replaced olive oil in my cupboard this winter. I am sure there will be a dish that is diminished without beloved EVOO, but I haven’t found it yet.

PB&J Muffins

I’ve been baking more often recently to provide encouragement and show my appreciation for those students, staff, and faculty working with me on the University of Maryland Public Health Garden. Last week, I tried these PB&J muffins.  They are easy and a little different.  Paula Deen always has good ideas.  It is messy to make though!

PB&J Muffins (from Paula Deen)?
What You Need
– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
– 2 tablespoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon creamy peanut butter (plus more to stuff the muffins)
– 1 cup milk
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 3 tablespoons butter, melted
– 1/4 cup thick jam, such as seedless raspberry
– 1/3 cup honey-roasted peanuts, chopped
– Compound butter: 1 stick butter, room temperature with 5 tablespoons of your favorite fruit preserve

What You Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Pulse in all of the peanut butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Add the milk, egg, and butter and pulse until combined.
  5. Distribute half of the batter equally among the muffin cups.
  6. Drop a teaspoon of jam into each cup and a teaspoon of peanut butter and cover with the remaining batter.
  7. Top with the chopped peanuts.
  8. Bake until the muffins are light golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or allow to cool completely.
  10. Spread compound butter on top.

Note: Store in an airtight container. The muffins will keep for 1 to 2 days.  Share with friends.

Lilly Pancakes

I was up in NJ last weekend helping my grandma move from her home in Queens, NY to a new apartment in an independent living facility in NJ. It was a great success. We also had time to get together as a family to have Sunday brunch. We made a family classic: crepes.

Growing up, my dad used to make us “pancakes” on the weekends. When I went to IHOP for the first time, I was shocked and appalled because they’re pancakes were so fat and dry. And you couldn’t roll them up with fruit inside. It took some time to realize what I had always known as pancakes were actually crepes.
My sister and dad are the experts on these amazing crepes, but I’m learning as well. Here is our family recipe adapted from the 21st printing of the Joy of Cooking from 1980 (the recipe is different in my new Joy). We always double the recipe, but doing the math is part of the fun so I left the original amounts below…you can double it yourself.

Lilly Pancakes (Crepes)
What You Need
– 3/4 cup all purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
– 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2/3 cup milk
– 1/3 cup water
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (this was always our job growing up..making sure to get a good sniff of the vanilla)
What You Do
1. Sift together dry ingredients.
2. Beat 2 eggs.
3. Mix together liquid ingredients ad eggs.
4. Pour liquid into sifted ingredients and wisk gently (don’t worry if there are some clumps).
5. Heat skillet (the size you want you crepes).
6. Grease skillet (we use pam but oil is good too…this needs to be done before each crepe is put on the skillet).
7. Use 1/3 cup measure to scoop batter into skillet. When adding the batter, tip the skillet to spread the batter evenly over the bottom of the entire skillet.
8. Cook on medium heat.
9. When first side is brown, flip crepe and brown the other size. We like them pretty light, and my sister and dad are the masters of the flipping skills! 10. After all the batter is used up, serve with vanilla yogurt, cut strawberries, other berries, and/or nuts. 11. To prep the perfect crepe, place the crepe on your plate, spread yogurt on the whole thing and then add a fruit topping in the middle. Roll up the crepe and enjoy!
I hope you can get as much pleasure out of this recipe as my family.