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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Breakfast For Dinner - Baked Eggs & Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Photo: NK
Today's post is dedicated to Marina. You may remember her as our first guest poster here on NK: Marina's Fabulous Fish Tacos. For the past two years, Marina and I have become more than coworkers; I consider her a friend. Though we grew up on opposite sides of the world, she in Russia and me here in NYC, we share many synergies in our likes and dislikes, the greatest of which center around our mutually favorite subject - food! Before knowing Marina, I had yet to meet a person who enjoys an oyster as much as I do. But more than her great taste in cuisine, Marina's just one of those people whose sunny personality, warmth, and passion for life, make everything else just seem OK. 

As with many of my friends at work, Marina has been a dedicated NK fan, and someone I turn to when writer's block strikes. In fact, I came to her just last week to help me come up with a post idea. 

"Breakfast for dinner!," she suggests without missing a beat. Interesting. Can the same soul-satisfying meal you greet the day with also be the one that helps you send it off? The answer - absolutely. 

Later that night, as I sat down to do my recipe research, I thought more about breakfast for dinner... I thought about beginnings and endings, and how sometimes, they can be one in the same. 

Fast-forward a few days later, and I realize how timely Marina's idea really was. I'm standing on a corner in NYC, getting misty-eyed as I hug Marina goodbye. We've known for some time that she'd be leaving our company to relocate back home to Chicago with her husband, and though everyone at my office is incredibly sad to see her go, we all know she has many exciting new beginnings ahead of her and that we'll keep in touch to share them with her. So here's to new beginnings and memorable endings, and since this wouldn't be the first time I eat my feelings of melancholy, Marina: this meal's for you, and I think you will approve!

Day One - We enjoyed an amazingly delicious and decadent Baked Egg and Asparagus dish enhanced by Garlic Scented Cream, a crispy Panko topping, and fresh Chives to brighten it all. 

Day Two - We cooked up some lighter-than-air Pancakes made with Vanilla Greek Yogurt. The Pancakes by themselves were fluffy and seemingly light, but I felt compelled to include an optional topping to make them "extra special" aka: sinful - a Bourbon Maple Syrup dotted with Orange Segments and diced Thick-Cut Bacon. Now that is special. Just like Marina. 

Baked Egg and Asparagus Gratins
Adapted from Food and Wine
Photo: NK
Serves 2 
Ingredients:
1/2 a large Garlic Clove, sliced very thinly
6 large Organic Eggs
1/2 cup Panko (Japanese Dry Breadcrumbs) or other plain breadcrumbs

1 Tablespoon Salted Butter, melted
2 Tablespoons chopped Chives

10-12 Aparagus Spears, ends cut off and discarded, remainder cut in thirds

1/4 Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper
Toasted Bread for serving
2 Ovenproof Gratin Dishes 

Method:
Preheat Oven to 350. 
In a pie plate or foil pan toss the Panko with the Melted Butter and bake for 6 minutes until golden, stirring midway through. Remove and set aside when done.

Meanwhile, boil water in a small to medium sized sauce pan. Add the Asparagus and cook until crisp-tender for about 3 minutes. Drain the Asparagus in a colander and run cold water over it to stop the cooking. Pat dry and set aside. 

In another small sauce pan, simmer Heavy Cream and Garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes, and season with Salt and Pepper to taste. 

Arrange Asparagus in the bottom of each gratin plate, covering a good amount of the base of the gratin.
Asparagus Base in the Gratin, NK

Now, carefully crack 3 Eggs into each gratin dish. 


Photo: NK

To ensure eggs stay intact,it's wise to crack them into a smaller bowl first and shimmy them carefully, one by one, into the gratins. This also allows you to remove any shell you may see before it is too late. 

Next, pour even amounts of the Garlic Cream over each gratin, and sprinkle each gratin all over with the Buttered Breadcrumbs. Place gratins in the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the Whites are firm and the Yolks are still runny. Remove from the oven and season each gratin with a small sprinkling of salt and a Tablespoon each of the Chopped Chives. Serve Immediately with Toast and enjoy!


Photo: NK

Baked Egg and Asparagus Gratins, Photo: NK
Next up, 

Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Bourbon Maple Syrup + Mandarin Orange & Bacon Hash
Pancakes - Adapted from Recording Moments 
Serves 3-4 

Pancake Ingredients: 
1 Cup Vanilla Flavored Greek Yogurt - we used Oikos Brand
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
3/4 Cup Skim Milk
1/2 teaspoon Real Vanilla Extract
Salted Butter, for cooking the pancakes
*Optional Topping - Recipe Follows Below - Topping should be prepared just after the Pancake Batter has been made and before cooking the Pancakes.  

Method:
Combine all Dry Ingredients together. 

Whisk in Wet Ingredients into Dry Mixture, and mix gently until fully incorporated. 


Optionally, prepare the Maple, Bourbon and Mandarin Bacon Hash Topping as below


Heat a skillet over medium heat and grease with an ample amount of Butter. 

Pour Pancake Mix into a container with a spout or measuring cup and pour slowly into the skillet, forming uniform circles. Cook for a few minutes on one side until golden brown (these will cook quickly) and flip midway through. Set Pancakes aside in a stack and keep warm.

*NK's Bourbon Maple Syrup + Mandarin Orange & Bacon Hash
Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Real Maple Syrup
1 15 Ounce Can of Mandarin Orange Segments, rinsed, drained and patted dry
5 Slices of Thick-Cut Bacon, diced into small pieces
1 Tablespoon Bourbon, plus more to taste if you like 

Method:
In a small pan, cook Bacon Bits to your desired doneness. Drain Bacon Bits on paper towels and set aside. In another small pan, heat Maple Syrup and Bourbon together until sufficiently warm.

To serve, remove Maple Syrup from the heat and stir in Mandarin Segments. Spoon the mixture over Pancakes and sprinkle all over with Bacon Bits. Enjoy!


Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Bourbon Maple Syrup & Mandarin Orange Bacon Hash, Photo: NK


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