No matter how old you are, you probably have a memory of eating pizza for breakfast. While I no longer indulge in such juvenile adventures, I remember them vividly. They began during college (little pizza in my childhood as my parents thought it was junk food) when waking too late to make it to dining hall breakfast, we’d grab now-stiff slices out of a cardboard box and shove them down our throats as we ran or biked to class with little hope of making it on time. Was there alcohol involved? Well. Years later, I won’t say I never repeated the scenario after getting my own kids off to school and running for the car to get to my own teaching or library job. My kids would not have been happy at my snarfing down their favorite leftovers with little thought. Somehow I don’t remember it ever coming up, but I’ll bet it did.
Today’s recipe and post does away with the need for such disgusting (ok, fun) breakfasts because I’m here to sell you on my newest morning recipe deal. And cold it ain’t. Casserole, strata, egg bake, brunch dish, whatever you want to call it. You might be like me and have a favorite egg casserole you’ve been making for years and, if you do, good on you. Keep making it; everyone loves it. But just once, give this new very pizza-ish oh-so-crispy version a chance. I promise you’ll be glad you did. It is the stuff of many pleasurable brunches to come.
It’s a rather sad fact, but most people choose to eat the same or nearly the same breakfast every day — or at least several times a week. There are scientific, sociological, and emotional reasons for this (We have less time, don’t want to waste energy, need healthful food to balance other meals, desire a lot of consistency…) You can ask anyone, “What do you eat for breakfast?” The answer will generally be one thing or at the most two. “I eat oatmeal.”“Eggs and toast.” (And the eggs will be cooked the same way each time, I’d wager.) Whereas should you ask the same person what they eat for lunch or dinner, the answer will be long, varied. Lots of folks are continually looking for something new to cook. It’s funny (peculiar), but understandable.
Perhaps because I love cooking, my breakfast changes regularly. I find that fact fun, entertaining, and encouraging. I’m sure I come out of it with a wider variety of nutrition, too. It’s also true I’m retired from a full-time job requiring my presence on the desk at 8am every morning. I don’t even have kids at home needing a helpful shove out the door. Dogs? Yes. They’re however generally fed and walked by my better half, leaving me to spend any amount of time I’d like sussing out sustenance like Cream Cheese-Avocado Toast come morning. If you have a toaster and a skillet, you have the equipment necessary for this lovely, filling, and pretty breakfast. (Grill the toast in the skillet and you don’t need a toaster.) Let’s face it, you could eat this morning, noon, or night. Add some fruit, a Mimosa or Bloody Mary and you have brunch if you’d like. Sweet.
What is it about making brunchat home that feels extravagant and comfy all at the same time? We’re all over planning changeable, healthy dinner meals complete with menus, shopping lists, and Sunday prep, but morning fare is relegated to nearly the same dish over and over again. Folks literally eat oatmeal for breakfast every single day. Or peanut butter toast. Yogurt and granola. Whatever. But take us to a swank brunch buffet at a fancy hotel and we’re putting soft poached eggs on smoked salmon dill biscuits and snarfing down raspberries in Grand Marnier with dark chocolate waffles as if there were no tomorrow. And then there’s the bottomless mimosa, isn’t there? When we finally decide to put on an at-home morning spread–for Mother’s Day, say?– that takes more thoughtful preparation than slamming down bread in the toaster and manage some actual day-before cooking or baking, it’s amazing how pampered-rich, how homey and cosseted we feel. Kinda like, “Well, isn’t this nice?!” And it is.
Here in Colorado and perhaps even elsewhere in the U.S., there’s no diner breakfast more famous than the Denver Omelet — except maybe biscuits and gravy. You know how the Denver Omelet goes — lots of browned onions, green peppers, diced ham and some ooey-gooey orange cheese. It should be cooked firm and golden brown unlike the pale and buttery French omelets. And while I’m totally fond of a Denver omelet or a French omelet (mushrooms, please), for that matter, I have for quite a while enjoyed a different sort of southwestern egg breakfast here in my kitchen in Colorado Springs. My tender little elegant omelet is whisked with salsa rather than cream or water. It’s cooked slowly and gently in a covered skillet rather than at breakneck speed with constant whisking in an open pan à la française (like the French). Occasionally I turn the burner off toward the end, but leave the covered pan on it for another minute or two to slowly finish cooking my omelet. Good trick to have up your sleeve for any eggs (and some other things, too) you make to avoid an overcooked fry-up.
When Easter is on its hippity-hoppity way, I often research and make some scrumptious Easter bread if only because there are so very many and they’re all so individually addictive. Once or twice, I’ve looked for a Scots version (as some of my folk come from Scotland), only to be disappointed because there really isn’t a Scots Easter bread unless you include Hot Cross Buns, which I guess you could in a pinch. (I think Hot Cross Buns are more Good Friday-ish. By the way, I made Nigella’s scrumptious version this year with a few easy twists I’ll share next Lent.) Last Sunday morning, I woke feeling a little sorry for myself –for both me the baker and me the Scot. Until I realized just WHY the Scots have no Easter bread. Who needs Easter bread when you’ve got God’s perfect bread — scones — hither, thither, and yon? (FUN FACT: Most folks in Scotland pronounce the word scone to rhyme with our pronunciation of the word done, by the way. So that’s skuhn to you and me!)
This is a copy of a blog post (April, 2012) from my now finished blog, dinnerplace.blogspot.com. Such a fun little Easter or post-Easter breakfast made for many years in my kitchen, I thought it deserved its own spot here on More Time. I've updated only the recipe to make it printable.
One of my favorite spring breakfasts is so terribly simple, that it appears I’ve never blogged it. I see the photos on my Pinterest board and on fb, but when I checked the blogs–no eggs on muffins! So here it is: a meal perfect for Easter when you have lots of boiled eggs to use up, but also perfect any other time or for any meal, come to think of it. If you have a plethora of eggs, as does my friend Cathy (we’re trading my granola for her backyard eggs this week), this is a fine use for them. My own kids had this every Easter for years. Well, I served it anyway. Whether or not they ate it is beside the point!
When people talk seriously to me about why they don’t cook or why they dislike cooking, there are a few oft-repeated reasons. One is the time it takes. (So does getting to a drive-through.) Another is “too many ingredients.” (Buy Jamie Oliver’s 5-Ingredients Cookbook.) Third is not knowing what to cook. (Food and Wine: Meal Planning 101.) A fourth favorite is, “I hate the mess.” (That’s why God made dishwashers.) The other day on Twitter, there was a thread that began with a comment that went something like this, “If I had known that as an adult I’d have to come up with something for dinner every night the rest of my life, I’d never have grown up.” A multitude of responses intoned the same lament. While those feelings indicate any number of problems (“That’ll be 5 cents, please.), cooking truly needn’t be one. Devoting a little time to planning, shopping, and learning how to cook your favorite meals solves a lot of it. One can’t just show up in the kitchen at 6:30 a.m. or p.m. and hope for divine inspiration. Unless, that is, you’re counting on breakfast for dinner (or breakfast!) and know you have eggs in the fridge — or, if you’re elsewhere in the world — on your counter. In that case, you have a million options. And my Salsa-Cheddar Omelet with Pickled Onion is just one. You can come up with the other 999,999.
When my husband Dave and I became empty nesters several years ago, we began to eat brunch out on Sundays after church and rarely cooked it at home except on holidays or special occasions. Then came COVID-19. No church except online. No restaurants open until recently. (We’re still not going, though we did go to our local dive drive-in for ice cream the other day.) We immediately hopped to and began cooking brunch at home again–just like in the old days. We shared the work–Dave making eggs, etc. and me happily baking a goodie like the Blueberry Buckle below, which I hadn’t been doing in eons. We’ve taken turns on what we now call our Cheep A** Bloody Marys (more on that later) and now eat brunch BEFORE church for the most part. We’ve even gone way old school and made Dave’s mom Lorna’s comforting egg casserole a time or two as it provides excellent lunch leftovers. (Recipe in photo below.) Could we ever have imagined all this? No. You probably hadn’t either.
“What would you like for breakfast?” I asked. “I never met an egg I didn’t like,” said my very dear friend Chris Kliesen Wehrman with a gleam in her eye one morning after she had spent the night at our house.
Working ahead on Thanksgiving food is truly a happy, hearty, fulfilling, and filling part of my job as a food blogger. That activity usually includes coming up with something new to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s a fun occupation that keeps me, and, of course my husband Dave and the babies (see below), right on top of our game this week.