October 29, 2010, 3:37 am
Filed under: Breakfast, Brunch, Cheese, Pastry | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Who doesn’t love a great brunch?  Personally, I don’t think it gets any better than having a big breakfast on a Sunday morning, especially after a long run or bike ride. While I was in graduate school, each Sunday my friends, Alex Gutweiler, Erik Hofmann and Robin Shook, and I would go on long ride and then head straight to breakfast.  It was always a great time and was one of my fondest memories of living in Columbia.  In Philly, I haven’t been able to ride as much as I would like because we’re all busy with medical school, graduate school or work (in DC, Columbia SC and Philly).  Instead, I do plenty of running (I’ve run every day this year). The athletic side of the sport-breakfast tandem is easy, finding a place for breakfast is another story.  There are quite a few great places I have had breakfast in the city – Sabrina’s and Honey’s, which are outstanding and relatively inexpensive, and Parc and Cichetteria 19 which are just as outstanding but kind of pricey for breakfast (I recommend the omelet at Parc, which partly inspired this post, and the bloody mary bar and eggs benedict at Cichetteria 19 which are unbelievable).  Everyone in Philly knows Sabrina’s and Honey’s is awesome and inexpensive.  Therefore, it is always crowded.  Unless you either eat alone or arrive very early you’re going to wait 30-90 minutes for a table.  Luckily, Honey’s is soon opening up a second location mere blocks away from where I live.  In the mean time, due to the crowds and/or cost I don’t usually go out to breakfast and will occasionally make my own.  The selection in my kitchen is obviously not quite as grand as these restaurants and my meals unfortunately only consists of any combination of scrambled eggs, melon and a bagel. However, I will occasionally make a larger breakfast if I can convince others to  join me.  So, I wanted to share my brunch with you in case YOU ever want to join me for a run or a ride and then breakfast.

French Omelet with Goat Cheese and Spinach (Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

When I watched the “instructional omelet video” on the America’s Test Kitchen website I was amazed how easy it seemed to make this omelet.  However, I quickly became annoyed while attempting to construct it.  It took me several tries to make it “perfectly.” I think the key to a successful French omelet is understanding your stove.  In my tiny studio apartment I have an electric stove top and each setting on each burner seems to be slightly different.  I would imagine having a gas stove top produces a more consistent temperature across all burners and reaches a desired temperature more quickly.  My first few trials were not very successful. I either had the heat on too low or too high.  However, once I fully understood my stove’s temperature settings I created the “perfect” omelet.  The ingredients are few – 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1.5 teaspoons salt, a pinch of pepper, 2 tablespoons of spinach, and little goat cheese – and the results are spectacular.

The directions are amusing for this recipe. It involves freezing 1/2 tablespoon butter cut into tiny pieces, beating the eggs+egg yolk an exact number of times (80) at a moderate pace, timing the amount of time each stage of the recipe is on heat, frequently removing the eggs from the heat and then reapplying, and using a paper towel to assist in rolling the omelet.  You can find the specific directions here.  The omelet is worth making even if you can’t get it to look nice.

Russet and Sweet Potatoes “Home Fries”

I love potatoes with my breakfast so obviously it was a must to prepare with my omelet.  Not much to this recipe: 1 russet potato, 1 sweet potato, 1 red onion, and a little sage I had left over from a previous recipe.  Cook over medium heat.  This makes lots of potatoes, probably enough to share with 4-5 people.

Monkey Bubble Bread (from “Baked Explorations“)

Last, but not least (and probably the best part of this post), is the Monkey Bubble Bread from the cookbook “Baked Explorations.”  It was so simple to make albeit a bit time consuming due to 2-1 hour periods in which the dough had to rise.  I’m not going to share this recipe since it came from a book, but I will offer a couple suggestions. First, make the dough a day in advance so you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to prepare this for breakfast (or, at the very least, eat a later breakfast). Second, don’t obsess over the shape of the dough balls as baking will remedy any shapes you consider unattractive.  Lastly, I wish I would have put a little extra butter/brown sugar-cinnamon mixture on the bottom and top of the dough before baking.  The top and sides looked a little dry after baking.  However, it still tastes outstanding without this addition, but it may be worth experimenting.

Above are a few pictures of the process if you are curious.  There are not any pictures within the recipe in “Baked Explorations.”  Initially, the quantity of dough seems to be very unsubstantial, but after an hour it doubles in size (from left to right, pictures 1 and 2).  The dough balls should be about golf ball in size and are clearly not shaped very attractively (pictures 3 and 4).  The recipe says this amount of dough will make 60 balls, but I ended up with 54.  Lastly, the dough balls were dipped in melted butter and then in the dark brown sugar/cinnamon mixture and placed in the bundt cake pan (picture 5a and 5b and photo set below).

After preparing each ball, place it in the bundt cake pan.  Believe it or not, you will only end up with 2+ staggered rows of dough balls.  Do not fret as the balls will increase in size during the second one hour rise period as well as slightly during baking.  After baking, allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes before inverting the bread on to a plate. Serve and enjoy!


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Mmmmm!!!!! Can’t wait until you get home to make this…it’ll be good to see you too!

Comment by Dad Naples

and I’ll be joining you guys for breakfast that morning!….i’m SO impressed, you are SO cool!

Comment by Janel

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