Two Breakfasts

One at IHOP and one at home
And then, two more breakfasts

International Crepe, Omelette at IHOP

Son Brian’s job has moved him from Montpellier, in southern France to Reno, in western Nevada. Quite a change, but Reno is a pretty nice place. He closed on his house a short time ago. Carol and I went to help him unpack and move furniture around. His refrigerator was delivered about the time we arrived on Friday; a beautiful refrigerator, but empty.

Brian had to go get his driver’s license early Saturday morning, so Carol and I went searching for a proper sit-down breakfast. Outside of downtown Reno and the casinos, restaurants are situated in outdoor shopping centers. The first we passed had no restaurant. At the second, larger shopping center we spied an IHOP. Their parking lot was full, a good sign that they’re open and popular.

I don’t think I’ve been to an IHOP since they were the International House of Pancakes on Storrow Drive in Boston, back when our kids were kids. I’m not a fan of pancakes, so I ordered the International Crepe Passport: Two eggs, two crispy bacon strips, two pork sausage links and your choice of a Danish fruit crepe or two Nutella or Swedish crepes. I chose sausage only, eggs over easy and the Danish fruit crepe.

Carol chose the “Create Your Own Omelette” with sausage.

The portions were enormous, way more than I wanted or needed for breakfast.

August 09
That’s the “Danish” apple cinnamon crepe on the left. The white blob on top is whipped cream and the crepe is also stuffed with whipped cream. When the waitress asked if I wanted sausage and bacon or one or the other, I thought she was talking about a total of two. Silly me. I declined extra toast. The trouble is, people expect these huge portions, and then feel obliged to clean up their plate. I ate the sausages and eggs and about a third of the crepe. The kindly waitress offered a box, but enough is enough.

During breakfast I read the menu carefully and discovered on the back of the menu — that would be page 8 — a Seniors menu and a childrens menu sharing a page. The portions were smaller and one could order a la carte. The manager stopped by to greet us and said that in 3 weeks, they would have a new, healthier and more organic menu.

Left to my own devices at home, I consider this much a big breakfast.

August 09

With that experience, over the next week I made a note of what I made for breakfast — not that any self respecting restaurant would offer or serve such things. That’s the joy of cooking for myself.

Egg, beet and sauces

Home from the Farmers Market on Saturday morning a week later, I foraged in the fridge for breakfast fixings.

I got out a box with scallion toasts, brought home from a late dinner at Heaven’s Dog after the movie Flame & Citron, a SF Film Society members screening. It’s a Danish film about the resistance fighters in Nazi occupied Copenhagen during WWII. Check it out when it comes to a theater near you. There were no Danish fruit crepes in the film.

I got out a jar containing a boiled egg.

A jar of green stuff caught my attention. It turned out to be pureed spinach, made as a sauce for Sake Cured Salmon. We ate the salmon at Brian’s house.

Another jar with one roasted golden beet. I like to store stuff in glass rather than plastic containers, so I save jars. And I store small bits of things… you never know.

A bit of homemade tartar sauce left over from a recent catfish dinner.

Some toasted pine nuts, the excess from a watermelon and blue cheese salad.

Looks like breakfast.

August 09

Scallion toasts
Sliced boiled egg with pureed spinach sauce
Sliced golden beet with tartar sauce
Toasted pine nuts as garnish provide crunch.

All of which is not to say that I won’t be back to IHOP. It’s near Brian’s house and by the time we’re back in Reno they’ll have their new menu.

Two more breakfasts
During the week I seemed to get all inventive about breakfast, creating two more worthy of note.

Potato sausage peach “sandwiches”

My morning routine is, well, a routine. I get up, make coffee, have a small glass of juice and go for a walk — a brisk half-hour — for exercise. Meanwhile, Carol gets up, gets ready for work and has her breakfast. Sometimes I think about my breakfast while walking, but generally I check what’s available when I get back.

I’m not a traditional breakfast eater. No milk and cereal for me. I find breakfast and lunch a good time to experiment with food on hand, satisfying my creative bent as well as hunger pangs. On this morning I was thinking about a fried potato something. I wasn’t in the mood for hash, or eggs.

When I perused the kitchen, I found a lovely peach just about to go south. It’s eat or waste. There was also a link of smoked sausage left over from last night’s dinner. That peach would certainly brighten the smoky, rich sausage with a slice of fried potato as the starch component. A sandwich, if you will.

August 09

I peeled and sliced a nice Carola potato, just now in season. Fried in about a teaspoon of lard, they get nice and crispy on the outside with a soft creamy inside.

While that was going on, I peeled my peach and cut out the few southbound parts. Lovely. I sliced the smoked sausage and when the potatoes were done, put those slices in the same skillet, just to warm.

August 09“sandwich” assembly in progress

Potato, sausage, peach slice. Sweet and smoky and crisp and creamy and warm – all combine to tease the palate. Seven of those bites made a swell and healthy breakfast. Yum.

Mashed onna plate

At some meal somewhere, I was served a dish that included mashed potatoes. When I was served, I didn’t see the traditional pile of mashed anywhere but as I began eating, I realized that the mashed potatoes were spread out as a base to cover a good portion of the plate. Very nice.

Doing my breakfast foraging, I saw leftover grits, saved from a shrimp and grits dish — not mashed potatoes, but the right consistency and including the requisite butter an cream. Nearby, was the last of a K-Paul meatloaf that we had for dinner and a few sandwiches in the following days. That will be good, but kinda plain.

Over the last weekend, in using part of my box of Mariquita heirloom tomatoes, I made Tomato Coulis from a SF Chronicle recipe by Georgeanne Brennan.

“This is the tomato sauce my neighbor in France, Marie Palazolli, taught me to make, soon after I first met her many years ago. She kept it in a stoppered wine bottle in her refrigerator, and made a new batch every 5 or 6 days. Everything from green beans to grilled bread received a dousing, and of course, she used it for dressing pasta dishes.”

I had eaten some of it as a snack dip… this was a chance to try it for real.

Remembering the mashed onna plate, I spread out the grits, seasoned them with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil.

August 09

The plate went into a 350° oven while I fried slices of meatloaf. The meatloaf nice and browned, I arranged it over the grits, heated the tomato coulis in the same skillet and added that to the dish.

August 09
Oh my, that made a fine breakfast, pretty too. They’re good, healthy and satisfying breakfasts, and none took longer than 15 minutes to prepare. More on the coulis and those heirloom tomatoes, later.

Spinach Puree

12 ounces spinach, washed and blanched
2 tablespoons butter

Purée spinach with butter until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt.

Lemony Tartar Sauce
Half recipe

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1+ tablespoons finely chopped cornichons
1/2 tablespoon minced drained capers
1 teaspoons freshly minced green onions
1/2 teaspoon freshly minced parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon freshly minced tarragon leaves
1/4 teaspoon Creole or Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

In a non-reactive mixing bowl combine everything except lemon juicee and stir to thoroughly combine. Add the lemon juice and stir to blend. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a non-reactive bowl, covered, until ready to use.

Yield: about 3/4 cups

Tomato Coulis
by Georgeanne Brennan, Special to The Chronicle
Sunday, July 26, 2009 Makes about 3 cups

“My most precious sauce is the tomato coulis taught to me by my neighbor in Provence. When I make the coulis, and when I use it, sprinkling a little over green beans or a piece of grilled fish, I am tasting memories of my friends and my life in France, bringing those into my California kitchen.”
“This is the tomato sauce my neighbor in France, Marie Palazolli, taught me to make, soon after I first met her many years ago. She kept it in a stoppered wine bottle in her refrigerator, and made a new batch every 5 or 6 days. Everything from green beans to grilled bread received a dousing, and of course, she used it for dressing pasta dishes. Her version has a little kick to it from the cayenne. For dousing portions, freeze this in snack-size self-sealing plastic bags or in ice cube trays.”

August 09

Tomato Coulis and juices… the coulis containers are 2 cup… the straight sided juice container is 2 cups

Cooked 8.09 — This turns out almost like a salsa… not juicy at all. I used some to dip Fritos Scoops and some for breakfast with fried meatloaf and grits. Good, bright tomato/onion flavor… sorry, little kick. I got nearly 4 cups + 4 cups of drained juice.

* 25 medium-size very ripe red tomatoes (about 5 to 6 pounds), peeled, seeded and chopped (My tomatoes were big, beautiful Cherokee Purple, Pineapple and Beefsteak heirlooms, about 5 or 6 tomatoes, 5 pounds)
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 2 medium yellow onions, minced
* 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 5 large basil leaves, minced
* 5 sprigs parsley
* 1/2 bay leaf
* 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

Instructions: Put the tomatoes in a large pot and sprinkle with the sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until the juice is released. Remove from the heat.

Line a sieve with cheesecloth and drain the juice from the tomatoes into another pot; reserve the juice for another use. Return the tomatoes in the pot to the stove and cook until nearly all the liquid is gone, about 30 minutes. I got about 4 cups of drained juice.

In a frying pan large enough to eventually hold the tomatoes, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onions, garlic, basil and parsley and saute, stirring, until the onions are soft and translucent but not browned. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and add salt, pepper and cayenne.

Remove the parsley and the bay leaf. Let cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze.

Uses: Serve on pasta, green beans and smeared on grilled bread. I found myself using this often… on Romano beans, over sliced HB egg for breakfast… when I heat it, I add a bit of the drained juice to brighten the flavor.

3 thoughts on “Two Breakfasts

  1. Nicely done…I am going to link out via Twitter…


  2. No recipe or link to the recipe for tomato coulis?


  3. OK Eric, good point. I plan to do a whole tomato thing, but in the meantime, I added Tomato Coulis at the end.


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