Here we are again talking about Breakfasts. Since September is ‘National Breakfast Month’ this is a good format to use – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – simply because you are breaking a long fast between the last meal of the day before and the first meal of the current day. Your body, like your car, needs fuel to run on and your brain especially needs that fuel to keep you thinking straight. In the last blog I talked about Western Style Breakfasts – that is the Breakfast as we know it in American and also in parts of Europe.
Pictured above is Pineapple and Pork Fried Rice – this would make a good and healthy breakfast for any culture so try having an Asian Style Breakfast sometime if you have leftovers.
Today I am going to be talking about Asian Breakfasts. People in Asia, for the most part, do not have special foods that they eat for Breakfast. Usually it is food left over from the day before. However, in China, Congee, a porridge made from Rice is the preferred Breakfast. Usually leftovers of vegetables, fruit or meat are added to the Congee. Interestingly, the last time we were in Thailand our Hotel served a Breakfast Buffet every morning. Since a considerable number of Chinese people visit Thailand, along with Westerners, the Hotel served a Chinese Breakfast. Congee with a large number of different items that could be added to it. They also served a Western Breakfast. I always have a habit of observing what other people are eating and I noticed that the Chinese guests were eating the Western Style Breakfast. I who always eat a Western Style Breakfast at home was eating the Congee or the Chinese Breakfast. I guess people all over the world do like a little variety in their food.
Japanese people usually eat whatever is left over from the night before as do the people of Thailand. Even though Breakfast Foods per se are not common among the Thai people there are plenty of restaurants in Thailand that do serve a Western Style Breakfast. That being said, if you are Thai you probably have Rice along with perhaps some Pork or whatever happens to be available. When my Sons and Daughter- in – Law were here visiting, my Thai Daughter – in – Law fell in love with Breakfast Jacks. She also loves to make a Thai Omelet which isn’t necessarily eaten for Breakfast. A Thai Omelet is similar to Egg Foo Young but is still different. It is quite delicious and can be eaten for any meal of the day.
More Fried Rice Photos just to the left. The top one is Chicken-Fried Rice – a good way to use up leftover Chicken and the one on the bottom is Fried Rice I made when we were in Kauai. There is a strong Asian influence in modern Hawaiian Food and Rice is frequently eaten for any meal.
For Western Breakfast Ideas please see the previous post ‘Breakfast’ in this Blog.
September is ‘National Breakfast Month’ and this is a particularly good time for it. With the kids back in school, it is a good time for parents to emphasize the fact that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The word Breakfast literally means to break a fast. That Fast is the time between when you eat your last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day. This usually is a period of 10-12 hours. This is the reason that your body needs to replenish its fuel supply to run and to feed your brain. Automobiles can’t run without fuel and neither can the human body. Therefore, skipping breakfast is not good for your body or your brain.
A healthy Breakfast should contain some Protein and some Carbohydrates. If you eat wholesome nutritious foods they will also contain the vitamins you need along with essential fatty acids.
All cultures have a breakfast menu, although some do not call it as such. Breakfast foods as we know them in the West are not necessarily what people in the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures eat. The typical American Breakfast is actually based on the English Breakfast which traditionally consists of Eggs, some kind meat such as sausage or bacon and maybe potatoes plus fruit and a beverage. And don’t forget the toast!
In Asia most breakfasts include rice of some kind. In China, it is Congee, a porridge made with rice but in other Asian countries rice is just used as one of the ingredients for the breakfast.
Since we could elaborate for miles and miles on the different breakfasts around the world I am going to stick with the Western Variety. This would include, of course European Countries as well as North America.
In Spain and Germany, the first meal of the day is usually just a cup of coffee and a pastry and a larger more elaborate breakfast is eaten a couple of hours later.
In American, many families have opted to have dry cereal for breakfast along with milk poured onto it. This is certainly faster for people in a hurry, but it is not necessarily the best or tastiest way to go.
My favorite breakfast stems back to my childhood when my parents and my brother and I usually had eggs for breakfast. To this day, Eggs are still my favorite food for breakfast.
Since this is ‘National Breakfast Month’ we will devote one blog a week to Breakfasts around the world. This month will be American Breakfasts such as we know them. The traditional American Breakfast at least as I knew it was Fruit Juice or Fresh Fruit, Eggs, Toast and Milk or Coffee for the Adults. Of course, there are many other variations such as Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes (one of my favorite filled with fruit), cooked Oatmeal (with Raisins! or dried Apples!) and the proverbial dried Cereal with Milk and fruit such as Bananas added.
Whatever your favorite Breakfast, just don’t forget to eat it! Remember, Breakfast is the most important meal of the Day! Especially for children who go to school and need the fuel and brain power that a good breakfast provides!
To give you some ideas and recipes for Breakfast Items check out the Breakfast/Recipe section of this Blog: recipes/breakfast-items/
September 26th is ‘National Pancake Day’. I do not know of anyone who does not like Pancakes. Pancakes are an exceptional food and can be made for any meal of the day or just for dessert. Pancakes can be found in many varieties around the world and they are not just made from wheat products. Pancakes may be made from Vegetables or Fruit. If you know the basic formula for making good pancakes, you can just about make them from any of the ingredients you may have in your pantry or refrigerator.
Pancakes normally eaten for breakfast can be made with All-Purpose Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Buckwheat Flour or even Cornmeal. There are almost always Eggs in Pancakes and in fact, the more Eggs in the recipe, the lighter and thinner your pancakes will be. In addition to Eggs, there should be some liquid which is usually in the form of a Milk product.
Buttermilk is popularly used for pancakes as not only does it provide flavor but helps to make your pancakes lighter and fluffier. If you do not have Buttermilk, but do have Sour Cream, that can be used also. To make a facsimile of Buttermilk just add 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice to your measuring cup before adding your milk product. After putting in the Lemon Juice, then add the milk and let it stand for a few minutes. The Lemon Juice will add some tartness to the milk and actually make it curdle, thereby giving you the effect of Buttermilk. I have even used Cottage Cheese or Cream Cheese in my Pancakes. In the case of the last two ingredients you may have to use additional eggs or even add some water to get the consistency you will want for your pancakes.
If you have fruit that is getting too ripe to eat, you can mash it up and put that in your pancakes. Bananas or Apples are especially good for this purpose.
My over-all formula for making Pancakes from whatever I have on hand at the moment is:
Two Cups of Milk Product
2 cups Flour
½ tsp. Baking Soda*
¼ tsp. Salt
1-3 tsps. Sugar**
2 – 4 Tbsps. melted Butter or Vegetable Oil
While you are making up the Batter, begin heating your griddle over low heat. To make the Batter follow the general directions below.
Whip up the Eggs and then add your Milk Product. If you are adding fruit, this the time to add them is right after the Milk. Just stir in the fruit. Combine the Dry Ingredients and add, stirring only to combine the ingredients. Next, stir in the melted Butter or Oil.
Turn the heat up on your griddle. Your griddle will be hot enough when a drop of water will sizzle upon contact with the surface of the griddle.
Rub a thin layer of Butter on the griddle (this will be for the first batch only) or use a Vegetable Spray. Then ladle or pour your batter onto the hot griddle. For he-man size pancakes, use up to a whole cup of Batter and cook just one at a time. For smaller pancakes, use anywhere from ¼ cup to 1/3 cups of Batter. Once bubbles form on the surface and the edges begin to dry, then it will be time to turn them over and cook the other side. The second side will cook considerably faster than the first one.
If you like your pancakes thinner than the first batch turns out, add a little more milk or if you like them thicker, stir in a little more flour.
If you are feeding a crowd, turn the oven to 250 degrees and put your pancakes on a shallow baking sheet as you make and keep warm in the oven until time to serve.
Serve your pancake with melted Butter and Hot Syrup. There are many types of Syrup that can be used, however Maple seems to be the most popular in the US. Other syrups that are available are Apple Syrup or Berry Syrup. In Hawaii you can also get Pineapple or Coconut Syrup.
Caramelized Fruit is also a nice accompaniment to Pancakes. Fruit that can easily be Caramelized is Apple, Banana, Mango, Papaya. Berries can be sliced, sugared and served with Pancakes also or they can be turned into a Sauce by cooking them with a little sugar and a dash of Lemon Juice.
Whichever way you like your pancakes, do enjoy them!
SHARING CULTURES THROUGH HOLIDAYS & FOOD
April Food Days
Saturday, April 7, 2012 is National Coffee Cake Day. The reason this cake is called Coffee Cake is not because there is coffee in it as an ingredient, but because it is meant to be eaten with a cup of coffee as the beverage. This is a good cake to have for breakfast because it contains eggs, sour cream and butter. The eggs and sour cream provide protein and the butter of course adds flavor as well as moisture to the cake. There are many versions of this baked delight and they are probably as numerous as the number of pastry chefs in this country.
Start with the basic recipe and then add your own fillings or fruity or nutty additions. The recipe below is for a basic cake with a nut/sugar topping. I belatedly remembered the Raspberry Sauce left over from our Waffle Breakfast this morning. It would have been a nice addition to go between the layers of the cake.
This cake does not have two layers in the traditional sense which would mean that there were two layers baked in separate pans. Just that half the batter is poured into the prepared pan and sprinkled with half the topping and then the remaining batter goes over the topping and the remaining topping goes over the second layer of batter. The raspberry would have been a nice flavor contrast.
Remember that if you decide to make this cake, that the ingredients can be varied. Buttermilk can be used in place of sour cream and in fact, I did not have quite a whole cup of sour cream so I added enough buttermilk to make up the difference. Buttermilk, like sour cream, adds a nice rich flavor to baked goods and also adds some moistness. I also substituted ¼ cup of the granulated sugar with ¼ cup of brown sugar. I love the flavor of brown sugar which can give a little caramel taste to baked goods. In addition to or in place of the nuts, shredded Coconut can be used for the toppings. Orange or lemon zest would also be a nice addition to the batter. You can even add dried cherries or cranberries to the batter also. Try your own variations with this recipe and please let me know how they turn out.
SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE
2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt
1 cup Butter
1 ¼ cups Sugar
1 cup Sour Cream
1 tops. Vanilla
½ cup chopped Nuts
2 Tbsps. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
- Grease and flour the indicated a 9” square pan or a Bundt Pan; preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix together the ingredients for the topping; set aside.
- Combine the Flour, Baking Powder, Soda and Salt.
- Cream the Butter and Sugar; beat in the Eggs and Vanilla.
- Add the Flour mixture, alternately with the Sour Cream.
- Pour half of the Batter into the prepared pan; sprinkle with half the Topping.
7. Spoon remaining Batter on top; sprinkle with the remaining Nut mixture.
8. Bake in preheated oven on middle shelf for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
9. Cool on rack 20-30 minutes before removing from pan or serve directly from the pan.
Yield: 9 Servings