Zucchini Bread with Maple Cinnamon Walnuts.

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Breakfast is not my favorite meal of the day. In the morning, forget a meal, what I really want is a cup of coffee. Followed by a second cup of coffee.  Afterwards, we can talk about breakfast. Or we could, except at that point it is definitely time to head in to work. Scratch breakfast.

For more years than I’m comfortable admitting (it would be more than I’m able to count on two hands), breakfast out the door most likely consisted of some dark chocolate, maybe some milk chocolate if that’s all that was left.

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Long before it was hip, a friend’s mom was turning out quickbreads loaded with zucchini and pancakes made of different sorts of flour. Try handing a seven-year-old a buckwheat pancake and you may be disappointed. Wait a decade or two and when that now 24-year-old is grabbing at alternative flours, you’ll can say, “I told you so.”  You’ll also probably say something like, “I can’t believe you’re still eating candy for breakfast.” But it’s the small victories that matter.

Partly because our kitchen ran out of chocolate, and partly because it seemed like at least for a couple of days it’d be nice to have an actual breakfast ready on my way out the door, I went back to that zucchini bread recipe, graciously passed along. Motivated—most likely by the odd things a lack of chocolate and sugar will do to the brain—I swapped in honey and maple syrup for some of the sweetener and whole wheat for a bit of the white flour. Clearly, I should have reached for the buckwheat.

This zucchini bread is the non-chocolate breakfast that’s, truthfully, better than chocolate. It’s spiced, with just a touch of sweetness, soft and moist with just a bit of crunch from candied maple cinnamon walnuts.

Unfortunately, we froze half of the loaf thinking we wouldn’t eat it quickly enough. Two days later what was left is gone leaving me with a sad, half frozen loaf of zucchini bread only one option this morning . Chocolate raisins for breakfast.

Recipe on the following page.

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Continue reading “Zucchini Bread with Maple Cinnamon Walnuts.”

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Salmon Gravlax.

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A lot of the best things you can eat are remarkably simple. Beer, bread, cheese, that perfectly grilled piece of fish. All require few ingredients, a lot of patience, but very little doing in the manner of stirring, whipping, and tenderizing. (Let’s hope no tenderizing…)

But for things that are remarkably simple, yet fantastically delicious, chances are there’s one or two tricks required to yield the perfect result.

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With gravlax, there are no tricks, unless of course, you count faith in your refrigerator. But with faith, there really isn’t any trick. Just forget about the piece of fish hopefully not rotting on your bottom shelf, and wait for breakfast a day and a half away.

Smoked salmon, or lox, are undeniably one of the true pleasure of the breakfast/brunch canon. Don’t even try to argue that a lox benedict isn’t the supreme, the queen of all Bennies.

Because you’d be wrong.

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Gravlax, or lox’s fresh, slightly more delicate sister, may subvertly challenge lox as the premier bagel topping. (May. I’ll have to do a thorough round of testing before I can present you with any sort of accurate conclusion). Lox really is just gravlax, or cured salmon, that’s been taken a step further down preservative lane and been smoked. Slightly more stable, but a little more work.

Gravlax as it turns out, requires little to no work. If you can successfully wrap something in plastic wrap, you can make gravlax. And in the realm of impressive cooking techniques, whipping out homemade, freshly cured gravlax on a Sunday morning surely ranks.

Gravlax has appeared as an appetizer on the family table before, and it was always very impressive. It is after all, a full filet of fish, ready to be eaten straight from the knife. On a hot New York City night out in a backyard, are you really going to opt for too-ripe creamy cheese over chilled, dill-laced salmon? (Thanks to Irene, and the best Upper West Side backyard.)

No, because you’d be an idiot to. And ten years later, displaced in Miami, a slice of gravlax on homemade sourdough is just as perfect as it sounds.

Even better than perfect, because it’s so goddamn simple.

Recipe on the following page.

Continue reading “Salmon Gravlax.”

Blueberry Coffee Cake Loaf.

Some of the best things to wander into a kitchen and find in the mornings are swirled and covered with streusel. Though to be fair, some of the best things ever, regardless of time and location are swirled and covered with streusel.

I’m breakfast-cake addicted, as this lemon loaf and pound cake prove. There is truly nothing better than a slice of cake for breakfast. Not that statement really needs any backing-up or further argument. It’s a slice of cake after all, and you’re only young once. Might as well eat cake for breakfast. Especially when there’s no one around to tell you not to…

This cake really isn’t anything special, save for the fact that it’s absolutely delicious. It’s a standard coffee cake, complete with streusel, except in loaf form for easy consumption. Just imagine, a slice of coffee cake on the way to class, alongside coffee, with a good book, or after a night of bar trivia. Yup. Fills in the space in your stomach left behind by pitchers.

Unfortunately, my title-machine was a bit broken. I’m going to say it was distracted by an overload of cake. Hence the hastily tagged on ‘loaf.’ Sorry. If you’re really that disappointed in my creative-naming abilities, I suggest making a cake. And having a bit for breakfast. Any disappointment will disappear, I promise.

Recipe on the following page.