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Mrs. Breakfast With Nick: Breakfast Pizza

I have a secret. My favorite breakfast does not include eggs. It does not include toast, or bagels, or even – dare I say it – bacon. My favorite breakfast is, hands-down, cold pizza. And not fancy pizza. In fact, the cheaper the better. It’s not even that I like pizza so much or anything, although I make a mean homemade one: Exhibit A:

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I honestly just want some chilly cheap pizza with my coffee in the morning! But I am Mrs. Breakfast with Nick. It was only a matter of time before I was forced to reconcile my pizza-breakfast ways into an actual Breakfast Pizza. We have had some great ones in the past – Due Amici and Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza, for instance.

I started with my dough (recipe courtesy Dave Scarpetti of WeberCam. Thanks again, Dave!) the night before and made a few naked pizzas. I love doing this when we’re doing a make-your-own night and the oven is at a screaming 475 – we just make extra dough, and par-bake a few with simple olive oil and cracked sea salt. These work great for an easy meal later – breadsticks, steak wedges (do people have these outside of PA?), or a quick and easy pizza later in the week.


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We had a few of the crusts made up already, at room temp, and fired up the oven again to get it to about 400 degrees (no need for higher, the dough is already baked).

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Then, the toppings. I’ll admit, we went a little nuts. (In our defense, a lot of these items were from cooking we had been doing all week as a family, so it was a bit about cleaning-out-the-fridge too.) Spiraling out from the middle: pre-cooked hashbrowns, fresh basil, sautéed onions, marinara, sautéed peppers, browned sausage, cooked bacon, eggs, tomatoes, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, aged mozzarella, and sautéed zucchini. Just note that you will want things mostly cooked – the time the pizza spends in the oven isn’t long enough to cook meat or soften veggies.

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I don’t have many life-changing secrets to applying ingredients, except:

1. Go. Light. On. The. Sauce. I know you want to glob it on – it’s the most fun part. But hold back, because it will get soggy.

2. Don’t put the basil in the oven, wait until it comes out or it will turn black.

3. Finish with cheese. It will hold everything together after you bake and cut it.

I usually start with a little bit of sauce, and then a thin layer of cheese. If I’m using meat, I’ll put that on next (so it doesn’t dry out on the very top), and then veggies followed by another layer of cheese.


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What’s that?  You can’t have breakfast pizza without eggs? I agree!!! But we wanted to know what would work best for cooking them on the pizza – do we crack them right on or fry them before? We tried to crack them and bake them, with mixed results.

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8-10 minutes was just about the right time for the toppings to be heated all through and the cheese melty, but it took about 12 minutes to cook them through with semi-soft yolks, but the other toppings got a bit too crispy. (Delicious, but crispy.)

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Then, we tried frying the eggs perfectly sunny-side up, and putting them on top – it was exactly what they needed.  The yolks were deliciously runny with perfectly cooked whites.

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These pizzas were a great way to feed a crowd at breakfast, and do it quickly. It was a lot of fun, perfect for kids to get involved, and the prep ahead of time was well worth it.

Pizza Dough

Preheat oven to 500 degrees, and place your flat pizza stone in the oven to heat.

300g water

36g olive oil

20g honey

250g flour

10g salt

10g yeast

Stir ingredients together until combined and leave in plastic bowl covered with a damp cloth or saran wrap – wait for about an hour or so until the dough doubles in size. (OR put all ingredients into a bread machine on the “dough” setting.) Dump out onto a floured surface, punch down, divide into two balls and round dough by folding it underneath itself. Let it rest for 5 minutes, and squash dough into a 6″ disk. Cover it with a bowl or a damp towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out the disc to about a 14″ circle (depending on your chosen thickness), place on a floured wooden pizza peal and cover each while they rest for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the dough with olive oil, cracked sea salt and transfer the pizza to the oven using the peal. Par-bake the crust for 6-8 minutes. (At this point, you can bag or cover the par-baked crusts to save for future pizzas. They freeze well when fully sealed. Treat them as you would any bread on the counter.

Pull out of the oven, add the toppings however you’d like, return to oven for another 5-6 minutes. Enjoy!

Mrs. Breakfast with Nick: BLTs and Brussels Sprouts

Part of me always feels like BLTs are cheating a bit. I mean, they’re deceptively simple, easy to make, and not ALL that bad for you. But SO delicious! When I saw that there were some bright red ripe tomatoes and some local Bibb lettuce in the Green Bean Delivery box, I realized we were only BACON away from a BLT, so we pretty much had to do it.

Having produced BaconCamp Columbus for a number of years, Nick and I have tried A LOT of local bacon. All of it is good, most of it is great, and a few are out of this world. Weiland’s bacon is one of those treats that we get once in a while, beautifully thick cut and perfectly marbled.

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My trusty helper was all about showing off his kitchen skills. He said he wanted me to caption this picture “Long Bacon” as he inexplicably tore one in two. We’ll go with it.

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As you can tell, we like using our cast iron skillet to make bacon, and we mess it all up – no careful strips, no flat pieces. Just separate each piece, lay in the pan, and stir with tongs. I know I’m going to catch flack on this, but we just love the caramelization you get with the cast iron, and I have no patience for flat bacon cooking.

I will say, though, when I want to make a lot of bacon for family and friends, or events (we cooked 30 pounds of bacon on the mornings of BaconCamp… in my kitchen… and another 30 at the event itself!), I use parchment paper on rolled aluminum trays in the oven. Doing more than a few pounds in the cast iron skillet builds up a nasty layer on the bottom of the pan that interferes with the cooking process after 2 or 3 rounds.

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While it’s cooking, slice the tomatoes into thin slices. Aren’t they beautiful? Who is READY for tomato season!? We have 15 tomato plants in the garden ready to burst!

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Cook the bacon until it is right before your preferred doneness, which, in our case, crispy dark edges with softer parts, but little light fat areas. I usually pull it out of the pan onto a plate with napkins to let it cool, and it will keep cooking on the plate. (Be sure to save the bacon fat! Let it cool, strain it, and put it in your freezer. You’ll thank me later, when you remember that you have it and that you want to make eggs in it and they are delicious.)


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BONUS RECIPE!

So, even though these aren’t from the Green Bean Delivery box, they were in my fridge… so, I threw together my favorite way to make brussels sprouts. When I have time, or when I make Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, I roast the sprouts after tossing them in olive oil in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. They get beautifully dark and crispy. Today, the natives were hungry and impatient, so I decided to steam them by cutting them all in half, adding an inch or so of water in our microwave steamer, and putting it in for 6 minutes.

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After they come out, bright green and tender, add a handful of blue cheese crumbles, some dried cranberries, cracked pepper, sea salt, and a few shots of balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar sauce (which is usually thickened with corn syrup). If you have REAL aged balsamic vinegar, you lucky devil… now invite me to dinner.

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Toss it together, and you get a beautiful sweet salty green side dish in no time.


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Oh! I also whipped up some peanut-butter celery sticks with sea salt, using the great celery that was in the Green Bean box. I’m assuming you can figure out how to do this, so I won’t insult you with a recipe… but trust me that the sea salt is worth it.

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My boys like to eat “picnic-style,” which involves this ridiculously huge wooden tray I’ve had forever. I set everything out on it, and then they can build their meal at the table. We had made a few loaves of bread that day, so it was a perfect fit.

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The finished meal! We toasted the bread a bit, added mayo – and kept it simple. It was a perfect summer dinner!

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Mrs. Breakfast with Nick: Eggs, Potatoes and Toast

Sometimes, you need to stick with the classics. When we go to a new breakfast place, I can always count on Mr. Breakfast with Nick to order the Classic Breakfast – usually eggs, potatoes, bacon and toast. It’s a great way to test the place on the basics – which are, in our humble opinion, the most important indicators of a restaurant’s foundation. Our Green Bean Delivery box came with some beautiful potatoes, and I was eager to try yet another way to make hash browns…or home fries…or breakfast potatoes…whatever you call them, there are as many recipes in a city as there are people and we keep trying new ways to do them. Normally, what we like is to use some russets, boil them for 12 minutes first, chop them, and then pan “fry” them in a cast-iron skillet. These new potatoes were more tender, with two of them being classic reds, and I knew they could stand to just be chopped and thrown in to a pan with some great bacon fat. (This was a day I was also making bread, so although there are no veggies in our bread from Green Bean, I included that process below as well!)

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I kept the pieces very small, less than 1 cm. square, knowing that the heat would have to cook through without having boiled them first.

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I chopped up part of an onion from the Green Bean Box as well as half a red and orange pepper to throw in. I sautéed the onions and the peppers in the bacon fat (we keep some in our freezer for these very occasions!), and threw the potatoes in when the cast-iron skillet was very hot.

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Last year, Chef Butcher from Creole Kitchen gave Nick this incredible cajun seasoning and I try and throw it in whenever I can, so I sprinkled a bit of this on the potatoes as they cooked. (You can see I’m running low!)

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I fried up a nice egg – check out Nick’s post on Ways to Cook an Egg on lots of ways you can add one to this meal.

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And there you go! The little brown bits on the potatoes were the best part, of course, and the cast iron skillet was the right choice. I still think, given the choice, I would go to the boil-first and then fry method, as they did take a bit longer to cook and they soaked up more of the bacon fat than I liked. But it was still delicious!

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Now on to the toast… About four years ago, Dave Scarpetti of webercam.com fame hosted Nick and I and some friends for a bread-making class. He is a brilliant scientist, and had perfected his baguette recipe that he was sharing with us. I remember very specifically saying to a friend that night “This is fun, but there is NO WAY I have time to make bread every other day.” Well… I went home and, on a whim, tried it on my own. And then tried it again, and again… and for the past four years, we have been making bread every three days for our family.

We do this for a few reasons: 1. We know what is in our bread. We buy good ingredients, and that’s all that goes in. 2. Cost – for 2 loaves of beautiful crispy bread, it costs us $1. Our boys eat more than most adults, so every penny helps. And 3. The taste. Come on over, we’ll make you a believer.

The thing that makes it work, though, is keeping it simple. We have a specific area in our cupboard with all the bread ingredients, a measuring cup that stays with the flour, and bottles for the other ingredients that stay in one place all the time. We also use our bread machine to knead the dough and bring it through the first rise. I know it’s cheating, and I don’t care. I love it. (And we have never once baked bread in our bread machine, so we felt like we needed to use it for something!) And we use a scale. USE. A. SCALE. I can’t stress this enough. Baking is a science and science takes precise measurements. Your scale doesn’t need to be fancy – ours has a units and a tare button – that’s all.

We measure directly into the breadmaker container on the scale, water and flour first. Then yeast. I have tried lots of yeasts, and my favorite is Fleischman’s ActiveDry. I also like the packets much better than the little jar container. It stays active much longer, because once yeast is exposed to air it starts to slow down. And, even with making bread 2 or 3 times per week, by the time we finished the container of yeast, we had issues with the loaves not rising.

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Here are my ever-so-fancy squirt bottles ($1 each at Wasserstrom).

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Each of the bottles, containing olive oil, kosher salt, and sugar, has a different cut spout depending on how fast I need it to come out for measuring.

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For the first rise, you lock the pail into the breadmaker and put it on the “dough” setting. (If you don’t have a breadmaker, never fear! Check out the recipe below for how to make it without one.)  It will take about an hour and a half and come out looking like this:

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Dump the dough out onto a floured wooden board and shape into a rough mound. I say wood, because we have found that temperature and moisture control are both very important at this point. Something like granite is going to cool the dough down too quickly, and plastic or metal for the second proof doesn’t afford as much rise. Maybe I’m making that all up in my head, but we’ve tried it all the ways, and this is what worked best for us.

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Cut the mound in half, and shape each ball into a smooth ‘boule’ shape. This is done by using both hands to fold the outsides under and to the bottom center underneath the ball of dough. This allows a nice “skin” to begin forming. Dust the tops with some flour and cover with a damp cloth. (What I do is form the boules, wash my hands, dry them on a clean dishcloth and use that to cover…it’s all a system after so many times of doing it!) Turn on the over to 425 degrees.

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After about 25 minutes (depending on the time of year), your oven will be at a rip-roaring temp (there is no way it is at 425 after the normal pre-heating cycle – ours never is), and the boules will have doubled in size.

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Move them to a cheap vegetable grilling pan. Yep. You heard me right. A vegetable grilling pan – they sell them at Lowe’s 2 for $3 or something. They are made from thin aluminum and are the BEST ways to bake this specific bread. You can leave them in the boule shape or form more “loaves” by tucking in two sides and setting it down on the “seam.” The slashes we do with a very sharp serrated blade, and are where the bread is going to split and grow during baking. You can also use a straight knife, a razor blade, or kitchen shears.

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The most important step of this recipe is the water and is impossible to really show you in a picture. In order to get a beautiful brown crispy crust, throw 1/2 cup of water on the bottom of your oven which, for us, means directly on the filament. It creates steam which moves up through the holes in the pan and perfectly crisps the crust. You can do it without this step, but it won’t be as crispy.

20 minutes in a hot oven, and there you have it – two beautiful crispy loaves.

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Ingredients:

  • 400g water
  • 1 packet yeast (7g)
  • 20g vegetable oil
  • 20g sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 600g flour (unbleached all-purpose – high quality)*

Directions:

1. Add the ingredients, in the above order, to a bowl and mix to combine. (Rubber spatula works well.)
2. Turn out on a floured surface, cover, and let rise for 1.5 – 2 hours; it should double in size.
3. Punch down and divide into two balls, turning the dough under itself to create a smooth, tight surface. (This is where you can knead in raisins, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, nuts, etc…
4. Turn oven on to 450 degrees. It will take a normal oven about 25 minutes to get up to this temperature.
5. Place on floured surface, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes, or until a fingerprint in the surface of the dough almost disappears when you press into it.
6. Transfer the boules to a thin aluminum vegetable grilling sheet (with holes in it).
7. Take a sharp serrated knife and make 3 parallel slices in the tops of the dough balls, about 3/4 inches deep.
8. Put the bread in the center rack of the oven and throw 1/2 cup of water onto the bottom floor of the oven, right on the metal base or the element. It will steam like crazy. QUICKLY shut the door to trap the steam. Bake for 18 minutes.
9. Take out and let it cool down! Don’t eat (any) bread right out of the oven – the gluten doesn’t have time to set and it will be gummy and taste awful. If you want to eat it warm, let it cool and then warm it back up.

*A Note about Flour – You can use a mix of white and white whole wheat flour (King Arthur is great) but don’t use any more than 1/3 wheat to make up the 600g. Also, use the highest quality flour you can buy. I have tried 15 or so types of low-end flours, Aldi’s, Wal-Mart, etc… these will just waste your time. I use Montana Sapphire Unbleached All-Purpose and I buy it in 25 pound bags at Giant Eagle. Just try to buy the best kind you can, and try different kinds. The price difference is worth it.

Mrs. Breakfast with Nick: Kale Yes!

We were eating kale before it was cool.

Honestly, this salad has been a staple at our family’s meals for years, and every time I serve it to someone new, I get asked for the “recipe.” So after many awkward conversations of “well, you just put it together with other stuff…” I actually did come up with one that I share when anyone asks.

I *may* have squealed a bit when I saw that the Green Bean Delivery box included kale, and again when I saw that it was Italian lacinato kale, which I hadn’t tried yet with this salad. The leaves are more rubbery than grocery store kale, not as “spiky,” with flatter stalks. I also got two beautiful limes in the box, which were a perfect addition.

Most varieties of home-garden kale are a bit more tender and can more readily be eaten like spinach or greens. Almost all kale I have purchased at the grocery store has been very tough and needs to be broken down in some way – either by cooking, marinating, or mashing up like this salad. (Note: This salad’s proper name is “Massaged Kale Salad,” but I always get a bit uncomfortable with the idea of “massaging” vegetables. So I usually just say “Kale Salad.” I know, real descriptive.)

We started with a quick wash on the beautiful bunch of kale. (Again, thoughts of green and green-blue paint colors…)

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Then, the most fun part of pulling the leaves off the stalks. Essentially, just grab the stalk with your left hand, and then the leaves with your right hand and slide them away from one another. The edible leaves will come right off the stalk.

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You’ll end up with a pile of beautiful leaves, which you can then roughly chop or tear into bite-sized pieces. Throw all the pieces into a gallon-sized freezer or storage bag.

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Then you want to start making the dressing, right in the bag: a few tablespoons of local honey, 1/8 c extra virgin olive oil, a few twists of fresh cracked pepper…

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…1/2 a fresh squeezed lemon or lime, and a 1/2 teaspoon of cracked sea salt or kosher salt. The secret ingredient that brings everything together is 2 tablespoons of guacamole. We always keep a few bags of Wholly Guacamole in our fridge and freezer for a quick snack or to add to recipes – the fat in the avocados is unbeatable. (You can obviously use fresh avocados – we have just found that lining up their ripe-window with your need-to-use-them-window is tricky, and our boys eat more guacamole than you would believe.)

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Once you have the dressing in the bag, squeeze all the air out and seal tightly. Then start mashing! This takes longer with more rubbery kales, and much shorter with garden-fresh kale (our kale-towers in the backyard are almost ready t0 start harvesting!). I would say mash and smash for about 2-3 minutes. What you are trying to achieve here is two-fold: 1. Marinating the kale in the acid of the lemon/lime juice and olive oil, and 2. Breaking down the fibers of the kale with the fresh ground pepper and cracked sea salt. (This is why I stress using fresh ingredients whenever you can. Canned lime/lemon juice is great for some things, but won’t be as strong, and fresh cracked pepper and salt provide the rough edges that pre-ground and table salt don’t.)

After about 5 minutes, open the bag and try a leaf. You can adjust the sweetness, saltiness, and acid levels. If you’re questioning the size of your bunch of kale, try adding less of the ingredients at the beginning so you can adjust up at this point.

For the toppings, I stick to the rule of 1 nut or seed, 1 dried fruit, and 1 cheese and start with a tossing in a small handful of each. Some of our favorite combos are:

Pepitas, dried cranberries and goat cheese

Sliced almonds, dried blueberries and sharp cheddar

Pine nuts, dried apricots, and parmesan


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This is sure to be a crowd pleaser – making it is really fun, and good to get little hands involved in mashing the bag of kale!

“Massagaed” Kale Salad

1 bunch of kale, stalks removed and discarded, leaves chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces

1/2 lemon or lime, juiced

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2-1 tsp fresh cracked sea salt or kosher salt

1 tbs local honey

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1-2 tbs avocado or guacamole (optional)

Toppings: 1/4 c each to taste:

Cheese (feta, parmesan, goat, sharp cheddar, etc…)

Dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, apricots, raisins, etc…)

Seeds or nuts (pepitas, pine nuts, slivered almons, chopped walnuts, sesame seeds, etc…)

Directions: Place kale and dressing ingredients into a gallon storage or freezer bag, squeeze out all the air and seal. Mash the bag for about 2-3 minutes until the kale is tender and alter dressing ingredients to taste. Dump kale in bowl and toss with 1/4 c of one cheese, one dried fruit and one seed/nut.

Nick’s Note: Many of these ingredients come from our sample Green Bean Delivery. Mrs. Breakfast With Nick last shared a tomato and asparagus quiche she made.

Mrs. Breakfast with Nick: Tomato and Asparagus Quiche

I am excited to be writing my first guest-post on the hubby’s blog! I am the most frequent dining-companion sharing a meal with Breakfast with Nick, and it’s fun to share some of the ways we try and introduce our two boys to great, fresh, local food at home. Nick and I share the cooking in our home, and we approach it very differently. Nick prefers to use a recipe that he sticks to. On the other hand, I view recipes more as “guidelines” and am more adept at throwing something together out of what’s in the kitchen. I’m pretty sure that my superhero power is being able to walk into the kitchen with two hungry boys clawing at my knees and put a (fairly) healthy and well-balanced meal on the table in 20 minutes. I like the challenge of it, I like the fast-decision-making part, and I love the multi-tasking efficiency. So I LOVE mystery food boxes, like CSAs. When Nick told me that we were getting a chance to try out a delivery bin from Green Bean Delivery, I was excited – a whole new bin to create delicious meals!

My first creation was the night after we received the bin. Nick was at an evening meeting, so it was just me and two hungry boys and a bunch of produce. We had a few dozen fresh eggs, and the bin included some beautiful asparagus, tomatoes, kale, and limes. I decided on a quiche and used a tried-and-true recipe I keep memorized for times like this! I made a quick pastry crust, and not wanting to mess with the food processor, I just did everything by hand. Prep for the full thing took about 15 minutes, and with cooking time at 35 minutes, it took a bit longer than usual. But it was worth it.

First things first, I started up the oven at 375 degrees, and gathered items for the pastry crust so it could chill a bit. The basic ingredients for the pastry crust are:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into rough cubes)
3 tablespoons ice water

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In a wide bowl, whisk the flour and salt together, then “cut in” the butter by using a pastry cutter or a few forks until it looks like corn meal. (My normal recipe uses chilled lard as well, but it takes a bit longer, so I’ll show that another time. Butter is delicious too.)
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It should just hold together when pressed, like so:

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Then, going slowly (some say use a spray bottle), add very cold ice water to the mixture a few drops at a time just until it comes together.  I usually just grab a few drops with my hands and spritz it in the bowl.

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Shape into a rough flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and put into the fridge for a bit  while you prep the filling. For the filling, my rule of thumb (for my specific pie plate) is 6 eggs, 2 cups of “stuff” (sausage and spinach, asparagus and onions, bacon and mushrooms), spices, and 1/2 cup of cheese. For any veggies, you’ll want to quickly cook those (blanch them in boiling water or sautee in a bit of butter) because the baking portion of the quiche is mainly to cook the eggs, not necessarily cook the other ingredients. (For meat, make sure the bacon, sausage, or chorizo is cooked through.)

For Breakfast with Nick (and those other recipe-followers out there), I did put together a quick “recipe” for this asparagus and tomato quiche:

1 pound fresh asparagus, cleaned and cut into ¾-inch pieces
2 medium tomatoes, cut into eighths
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup onions, chopped
6 large eggs
¾ cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded Dubliner Irish cheddar

Start by boiling some water and throwing some ice water into a separate bowl, filled with water (for the ice bath). Stare at your beautiful locally-grown asparagus for a while, and wonder if you should paint your kitchen in stunning asparagus purples and greens. I did.

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While the water is coming to a boil, chop up the asparagus into 3/4″ pieces and roughly chop the onion. Throw a small saute pan on the stove on medium, and add the butter to melt.

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When the water is at a boil, throw the asparagus in for about 4-5 minutes. Then add the curry and cayenne pepper to the butter, and throw in the onions. Cook the onions until they are translucent and most of the liquid from the butter has cooked off.

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Once the asparagus hit 5 minutes, take them off, strain them, and put them right into the ice bath to stop the cooking. There are few food-textures worse than an overcooked asparagus.

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In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, and grab your cheese and pie crust. We were lucky enough to have some beautiful fresh eggs from Nick’s brother’s chickens, who was visiting from Kentucky a week earlier. (He also has bees! Follow him at the Rooftop Apiary!)

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Look at those bright big yolks! (I don’t have tiny hands, btw, this is my 5-year old helping out. He wants to be, in no particular order, a chef, builder, printer and jet fighter. Go big or go home.)

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When all your ingredients for the quiche are ready, spread out the plastic wrap and roll the dough using a lightly-floured rolling pin, and press into a pie plate or tart pan.

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If you want to get fancy with the edges, great! I didn’t, because my pie pan is huge and this recipe didn’t make enough. (Which are both excuses for the fact that I am HORRIBLE at crimping pie edges. Just terrible.) (If you’d like to see some BEAUTIFULLY crimped pie-edges, take a trip to Worthington to say hi to AJ Perry at Sassafras Bakery and marvel at the perfect crimps.)

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Sprinkle half of the cheese on the bottom of the chilled pie crust. (I will make a note here that sometimes, some pans don’t do great at cooking the pie crust all the way through in the middle of the bottom of the pie – it stays doughy. If you know this about your pans, try par-baking it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. When you go to actually bake it, you might need to cover the crust edge with a layer of foil so you don’t burn it.)

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Then dump the asparagus, spiced onions, and tomatoes in.

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Finally, fill it up with the eggs and top it with the rest of the cheese.

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Once you bake it in a 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes, switch it to the top rack for 3-5 minutes on broil (do not walk away from the oven – I’m saying this more for myself than you.) This gives it a great crispy cheese top which, let’s be honest, is why we all eat quiche in the first place. (IGNORE THE NON-CRIMPED EDGES!)

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Let it sit for a few minutes before you slice and enjoy!

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Stay tuned for more creations!

Pastry
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into rough cubes)
3 tablespoons ice water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a wide bowl, whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl, then “cut in” the butter by using a pastry cutter or a few forks until it looks like corn meal. Taking a few spritzes of cold water (with spray bottle or just using fingers), wet the flour mixture a bit at a time until it just holds together – don’t add too much or it will get sticky. Pat into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 15-30 minutes. Remove, and then roll out with a floured rolling pin onto the plastic wrap. Then use that to transfer to a pie dish. Depending on your dish, you might need to throw some flour or non-stick spray into the bottom of the pan. Pat the crust into the pan and then crimp the edges. (I’m not the one to ask about this.) Fill, and bake according to pie or quiche instructions.

Asparagus and Tomato Quiche
(Note: try subbing the asparagus, tomatoes, and onions with Bacon and mushrooms or sausage and spinach)

1 pound fresh asparagus, cleaned and cut into ¾-inch pieces
2 medium tomatoes, cut into eighths
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup onions, chopped
6 large eggs
¾ cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded Dubliner Irish cheddar

Instructions:

Start by boiling some water and throwing some ice water into a separate bowl, filled with water (for the ice bath). While the water is coming to a boil, chop up the asparagus into 3/4″ pieces and roughly chop the onion. Throw a small saute pan on the stove on medium, and add the butter to melt. When the water is at a boil, throw the asparagus in for about 4-5 minutes. Then add the curry and cayenne pepper to the butter, and throw in the onions. Cook the onions until they are translucent and most of the liquid from the butter has cooked off. Once the asparagus hit 5 minutes, take them off, strain them, and put them right into the ice bath to stop the cooking. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, and grab your cheese and pie crust. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the bottom of the chilled pie crust, and dump the asparagus, spiced onions, and tomatoes in. Finally, fill it up with the eggs and top it with the rest of the cheese. Once you bake it in a 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes, switch it to the top rack for 3-5 minutes on broil. Let it sit for a few minutes before you slice and enjoy!

Green Bean Delivery!

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Who’s up for a cooking challenge? Last week the folks at Green Bean Delivery kindly sent us a sample delivery so we could see how their process works. Green Bean delivers fresh goods to homes across Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. The orders are customizable, but they also offer set bin sizes. We received the standard Small Produce Bin, which comes pre-loaded with a mixture of fruits and veggies. You can modify your order to include other vegetables, fruits, beans, meats, even finished products like coffee, falafel, roasted nuts, Sriracha, and more. They conveniently label goods that are organically or sustainably grown, and they identify the origins by region or country.

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You can set up a one-time or a recurring order through their website, picking and choosing from over 40 different items of fresh produce. This is the breakdown of our Small Produce Bin.

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Deliveries are dropped off at your home. You’re given a set day of the week and a window of a few hours during which it will arrive. The bright green bin is lined with styrofoam and includes a coldpack, so your food arrives fresh and cool.

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Here’s the bounty from our delivery. Now, I look at this and I’m intimidated, but Mrs. Breakfast With Nick looks at it and sees a challenge. Over the next series of posts, she’ll be sharing some of the things we’ve made from the delivery. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: Here are some of Mrs. Breakfast With Nick’s creations using our Green Bean Delivery!

Tomato and Asparagus Quiche

Kale Salad

Eggs, Potatoes, and Toast

BLTs and Brussels Sprouts

Photos: slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oatmeal

Inspired by this recipe we found on Pinterest (yes, I joined), we set out the crock pot last night to make some overnight steel cut oatmeal. It never occurred to me to make breakfast overnight, even though we’d made plenty of pulled pork in the crock pot.

The recipe is fairly simple: steel cut oats, butter, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, apples, and salt (we skipped the flax seed). Pour together in the crockpot, stir, and leave it cooking on low overnight.

Steel cut oats are simply whole oats that are roughly chopped. This makes them ideal for an overnight recipe, because they take longer to cook. Instant oats would turn completely to mush.

For an incurable morning person like me (one who refills the kettle for coffee the afternoon before), this recipe appealed to the excitement of waking up with a hot breakfast ready to go.

We upped the butter and sugar quantities in the recipe, and I think that led to some excessive caramelization around the edges. Next time, we’ll try the suggested amounts. That said, this made a delicious and filling breakfast. Not too sweet, wonderful texture from the oats. I’m already looking for a morning to try it again. Great for Saturday mornings, or even to have a hot breakfast ready to start your Monday.

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