April 25, 2009

"It's A Beautiful Mornin'..."

Words can't express how happy I am that winter is gone! My windows are open, the screens are down, and I'm stocking up on Windex and paper towels. It makes me so happy to finally go out and breathe in the smell of new life. (Until I realize that most of that new life smell is going to aggravate my allergies, invade my sinus cavities, and I'll be sneezing for the day). It's worth it.

I always think of springtime as my "new year". I feel it's a time of fresh beginning and renewal. My diet motivation will now kick into full gear with the panic of visualizing my legs in shorts and skirts. I won't even discuss trying on bathing suits. I'll give myself another month for that shocker.

Mr. Grumps looks at it as a time of house projects and tools to buy. He is seeding the lawn this weekend, and writing things down on a little piece of paper (not a good sign!) All I know, is that I'm definitely going grill shopping. At this point, I'm leaning towards a Weber. Not a stainless one, but I like the reviews I've read, and they're not overly pricey. I'm sure our visit to Lowe's will include a few things needed for his "list". Yikes.

I couldn't resist posting this little pic of baby robins from the Associated Press. The minute I saw it, I thought back in time to our "little birds". Weekend mornings were so different from routine weekdays. There was no rushing or packing. It was heaven to just wake up, get a steaming cup of hot coffee, and read the Sunday paper. If the "little birds" got up before Mr. Grumps and me, their morning greeting would consist of jumping up and down on our bed, giggling and laughing uncontrollably. There was usually a funny song from preschool to accompany the jumping. I can't tell you how much I miss those days. Listen to the lyrics of "Secret O' Life" by James Taylor. It always puts things in perspective for me.

Even though my baby birds are all grown up now, they still look forward to a warm breakfast when they're home. This morning, I decided on scrambled eggs, fruit salad, and lemon berry biscuits. I'll also inform those birds, if there is a frown aimed towards the breakfast menu, Eggos can be found in the freezer!

Before I introduce the lemon biscuits, let me show you a tool called a zester. I don't use it often, but when a recipe calls for grated rind, which is just the outer part of the orange, lime or lemon, this does a great job!

All you have to do is wash your fruit, then take the zester, and gently pull it across the surface. The result is super thin strands of citrus rind, which tastes awesome in your recipes.

If you don't have this little gadget, you can always use the lowest grade, or smallest holes, on a handheld grater. Just make sure that you only use the bright colored part of the fruit, as the white "pith", tends to taste on the bitter side. This zester also works well for garnishing mixed drinks with citrus, but that's another time! I will definitely share my summer party recipes down the road. Especially once I get that grill (insert "happy face" here!).

Now, turn on the music, grab a mug of coffee (or tea), and let's get started.

These look like muffins, but have a dryer texture which I think makes them more like a biscuit. I bake them in muffin tins so they'll hold their shape. They almost remind me of Bisquick drop biscuits that you make for strawberry shortcake. I like them because they're not too sweet; just the right ending to a breakfast or brunch.

Lemon Berry Biscuits
(Serve with lemon curd, additional fresh fruit, or if you're feeling blue, some cool whip)

You'll need:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 oz.) lemon yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup (6 oz.) fresh raspberries, blackberries or blueberries (or you can use 6 oz. frozen, unthawed)


3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cold butter

Combine the topping ingredients first in a small bowl. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the flour and sugar until crumbly, and set aside.

Now, for the biscuits. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl and mix well.

Whisk together the yogurt, oil and eggs. Add this to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Add the lemon rind and juice. The batter will be thick.

Gently fold in your berries.

Spoon into lightly greased muffin pans, filling two thirds full. Sprinkle each biscuit with a little topping.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove biscuits from pan and place on cooling racks. Enjoy!

*(For these pics, I did not use the butter/sugar topping. Like I said earlier, I'm in "panic" mode for bathing suit season. If I were serving these to a crowd, I would definitely use the crumb topping.)

Now let me say, I love scrambled eggs. And in my early years of cooking, I turned them into a disaster. That's why I'm a firm believer that mistakes are okay, as long as you learn from them. As an 18 year old living in Buffalo on waitressing tips, eggs were about the only food I could afford (aside from pot pies, which were 4/$1.00)...shudder.

Scrambling eggs, although basic, wasn't easy. Sometimes they came out dry and rubbery; sometimes my toast was swimming in water from the eggs all over the plate. I later learned that this was all due to improper heat. Too much, too fast.

There are a few simple tricks to making perfect eggs. Your heat has to be low, don't be impatient. You are going to actually "pull" and fold your eggs, (no stirring), from the outside to the center. Don't salt your eggs until serving time. I won't bore you with the chemistry of salt meeting hot eggs, but the salt changes the composition of the eggs, and can make them runny.

I use Paula Deen's ingredient recipe for Perfect Scrambled Eggs, and usually don't measure, just eyeball it.

Creamy Scrambled Eggs
2 large eggs
light sour cream
fat free half and half
unsalted butter
snipped chives

In a small nonstick fry pan, melt 1 teaspoon of butter over low heat. In a medium bowl, add the eggs, a dollop of sour cream, and a bit of half and half (I usually quickly count to "2" while I'm pouring, then stop). Whisk up the egg mixture, (whisk in an up and down motion, as opposed to stirring. You want "air" into the egg mixture.) Slowly pour into the hot pan.

Let it cook for a minute, then gently continue to pull the egg from the outside of the pan, towards the middle. Don't stir, keep gently pulling and folding the eggs, keeping on low heat. Don't leave even for a minute! Take the eggs off the heat when they look undercooked. Your pan will be hot enough to continue the cooking process. Your little eggies are delicate, and will continue to have their fannies roasted even off the heat.

Spoon onto a warm plate. Now you may season with salt, pepper, chives, or even a sprinkle of grated cheddar. Heaven......

Really quick - if you are cooking for a crowd, you can also make scrambled eggs in the oven. Just be sure not to overcook or leave unattended.

Company Baked Scrambled Eggs

12 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups half and half
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350. In a 13x9 pan, add the butter, and put the pan in the oven until the butter is melted. Take out the pan, and swirl the butter around to coat the bottom.

In a blender, add the eggs, sour cream, and half & half. Blend for about 30 seconds, then pour into the warm pan. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, then stir gently in a folding motion. A rubber spatula works best. Continue to keep folding and checking on the eggs every few minutes. Take them out of the oven when they look undercooked. They will stay hot and continue cooking once removed from the heat.

Season with salt/pepper/chives/cheese; whatever you'd like. Serves about 4-6.

Hope your breakfasts are healthy, delicious and "egg"-cellent!


Alisa said...


Anonymous said...

I love eggs too!

- Anne Marie