There are a handful of people that I know regularly read my blog. Larry is one of those people. The last time I saw Larry, we chatted about food and my blog and he specifically requested some breakfast recipes. He suggested a veggie omelet and I was thinking maybe a frittata. Being that frittatas are usually just eggs and veggies with a little bit of dairy, they are very popular entries in vegetarian cookbooks and I just haven't decided where to start. Do I want to do Greek, maybe something with mushrooms or the traditional Spanish Tortilla style... I don't know. But I'll be working on a frittata soon. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a couple of meatless breakfasts from my childhood.
I guess this first recipe came to my family from a babysitter that I used to go to when I was 3 or 4 years old. My dad dropped me off there one day on his way to class and she told him that she was going to make Toad in the Holes for the kids... My dad asked what the heck she was talking about and she passed on the recipe. I remember my dad making these and feeling like it was such a treat. We didn't eat breakfast that often, but when we did, it was almost always a bowl of cereal. This was no bowl of cereal, and I was always so excited to have one. And, I'm pretty sure the unique name added to the allure for me as a child.
You start by using the top of a drinking glass, like a cookie cutter, to make holes in your bread.
Then butter both sides of your holey bread and put it in a pan that's heated to just below medium to "grill" it, like you would for a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
After the first side of the bread is nicely browned, flip it over and gently break an egg into the middle of the hole. You may want to add just a touch of butter to the pan before adding the egg to help keep it from sticking. Season the egg with a little bit of salt and pepper and let it cook for a few minutes. You want the bottom of the egg to be completely cooked and set-up. Then flip it very carefully and allow the top part of the egg to cook. The egg should be "over easy" when you're finished so only let it cook briefly on that side, maybe 3 minutes.
Here I plated it up with some plum tomatoes that I just halved and seasoned with salt and pepper. They added a lovely acidic contrast of flavor but you could accompany a Toad in the Hole with just about anything.
To start eating this, gently puncture the yolk with your fork and flip open a little hatch so that you can get to all of that delicious runny yolk on the inside. Then use the rounds you cut out of the bread to dip in and soak it up. Yuuuummm. To me, almost nothing tastes as rich as a warm runny yolk. Of course you can toast your bread rounds if you'd prefer. And if you're one of those people that doesn't like eggs cooked over easy, you can cook your egg through, but I wouldn't recommend it. :-)
I can remember sitting at the table, as a child, in anticipation of receiving my Toad in the Hole, bread round in one hand and fingers crossed on the other, just hoping my dad hadn't accidently cooked the yolk through.
I googled "Toad in the Hole" before writing this blog to find out if they are a common breakfast item for others or if members of my family are the only ones that make these. What I found is that it's not "common" but other people definitely make these. I also learned that there is an English dish called a Toad in the Hole that resembles hot dogs laying on top of a thick pizza crust. I guess it's actually large sausage links on a Yorkshire Pudding batter. So maybe you're familiar with that type of Toad in the Hole??
Anyway, this next one is uniquely an Iwert concoction. At a party my mom attended when she was in high school, her friend made a peanut butter stuffed French toast that she enjoyed. Apparently she replicated it at home and over the years, it evolved into what we call it a Peanut Butter Thing. Yes, I did say, a Peanut Butter Thing. So, maybe we're not the most creative people, but we get a giggle out of the name every time. Basically it's a grilled cheese sandwich with peanut butter in the middle instead of cheese. There are a few Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly (or Banana) Sandwich recipes out there, but none of them are quite the way we do it.
So you start by buttering 2 slices of bread.
Drop one of the slices of bread, butter side down, into a pan on about medium- medium low heat and spread peanut butter on the other side of the bread. Put the second slice of bread on top, butter side up, and allow it cook until the bread has browned nicely.
Give it a flip and let the other side of the sandwich "grill."
And here's where our Peanut Butter Thing is different than the others. Instead of having jelly on the inside, the sweetness comes from drizzling maple syrup over the top.
It's difficult to see in this picture, but the warmed peanut butter is so delicious, it just oozes out when you cut into it. And the syrup adds a sweetness to the sandwich in an unexpected way. I also considered this to be a wonderful treat for breakfast as a child, but we enjoyed them so much, they were often requested for dinner as well. Give a Peanut Butter Thing a try some Saturday morning for brunch. You'll love the warm gooey peanut butter.
Larry, I hope you enjoy a Toad in the Hole or a Peanut Butter Thing for breakfast soon.