Sunday, July 1, 2012


Dear Friends,
It appears as though I went on summer vacation. I didn't mean to. And I didn't really go anywhere. But there was yoga to be done. And there were knitting conferences to attend. And pottery classes to finish up. There have been all these books to make, and fact sheets to edit (and if you talk to me about fact sheets one more time, I might just have a good old-fashioned tantrum). There have been books to read (Nancy Drew, of course, and I just recently finished re-reading The Color Purple, which blew my mind all over again.) There have been friends visiting, and hardly any enemies, and when people come over they remark on the strength of our air conditioner, which fills me with an odd sense of pride.

There have also been many things to make, like homemade pizzas, glazed pots, knitted baby wear and sewn kimonos. There have been things to dream of making (a quilt, an Alabama Chanin Dress, more individual ice cream cupcakes with homemade magic shell, and of course, someday I'll finish Robb's sweater.) There's also the garden, which is in desperate need of a blog post update (and a good weeding, to boot).

But for now, let's talk about breakfast. Honest to God, I did not know where to begin with so much swirling around my head these days. But when I am confused I find it often helps to start at the beginning. And for me, the beginning is usually breakfast.

As many of you know, Robb works until very late at night. And when he works on the weekends, that means I usually get up and make breakfast just for me. It's not a sad thing, and I don't feel particularly lonely while eating said breakfast. In fact, eating breakfast alone allows you to do all sorts of weird things that you wouldn't do if you were making breakfast with someone else. Just recently, I boiled two eggs and sliced them up into a bowl of chopped kale, which I called "breakfast salad" if only because I was eating it before noon with a cup of iced coffee. (BTW, I don't eat meat, but if you put bacon in breakfast salad, I bet it would kick an enormous amount of ass.) Another favorite is pancakes-for-one, where I literally make enough batter for two pancakes (which is all I ever really want). And then, because I don't like my pancakes too sweet, I do one pancake with blueberries and eat it with butter, and the other pancake plain with syrup. Annoying? Sure! But that's MY problem, and I'm totally cool with it.
My other favorite breakfast-for-one is this: two hard-boiled eggs heavily sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper, a salad of arugula and cherry tomato with a bit of lemon/olive oil/balsamic dressing, a small ciabatta loaf sliced and smothered in hummus, and a little fruit on the side.

I'm not sure why, but this is a breakfast that sings to my soul. It looks happy, it is happy, it makes you feel healthy and not too full, it can be eaten as little sandwiches or as individual pieces. Forks are optional. And best of all, I don't know anyone else who eats this breakfast, thereby making it my "thing." And you know what? I bet we all have a "thing" we eat that is our signature feel-good food. (And now I'm curious to know what you people all eat for breakfast...could it be that I'm hungry as I write this?)
But soon enough, my days of breakfast-for-one will be over. As of this week, Robb has quit working weekend shifts at the bar, meaning that for the first time in our nearly six years together, Robb and I will have whole weekends together. To go camping! To go to the beach! To go to bed at the same time, and wake up at the same time! And yes, to have breakfast. But what on earth will we eat, I wonder? Am I too set in my breakfast-for-one ways? Will he love hard-boiled eggs as much as I do? Or will we wind up not able to agree and making two breakfast-for-ones to eat together? (Actually, that doesn't sound too bad. It's a very personal choice, after all.)

Either which way, I would like to make this blog post at least somewhat useful, so I thought I would leave you with instructions for how to hard-boil a perfect egg (a task that, believe it or not, eluded me for many many years.) Ready? Here it is:

Put the eggs in a pot with cold water (the water level should be at least an inch above the eggs). Bring the water to a boil, and as soon as it reaches a boil, turn it down to a very low simmer and put a lid on the pot. Set a timer for 13 minutes. When 13 minutes is up, immediately drain out the water, then transfer the eggs to an ice bath. Let them sit in the cold water for at least five minutes (preferably ten). If you crack the shell any sooner, they will be very hard to peel. When you do finally peel the eggs, the yolks will be golden yellow and there won't be any gray or greenish areas. Might I recommend you eat the eggs with an obscene amount of kosher salt? Yes, yes I might.


  1. Do you read Sandra Juto's blog?
    She makes breakfast's like yours.
    You are European!

  2. Ug.
    That's breakfasts. No apostrophe.

    I blame Benedryl.

  3. You know what's funny? I do believe my favorite breakfasts are descendants from the traditional German breakfast, called "Frühstück." In the homes of my German friends, Frühstück involves pulling out everything you can imagine from the fridge--cheeses, mustards, hummus, olive spreads, nut butters, jams, bitter greens, avocados, tomatoes, boiled eggs--and placing them all in the middle of the table. Then everyone grabs pieces of bread and puts whatever they want on their own slice (or slices). It is seriously the most fun and delicious way to make breakfast! So perhaps I have been making Frühstück for one all this time?

  4. I am so not a one-person breakfast person (I like breakfast, but will never make it on my own, just for me) but I would do any of these for lunch/dinner, no problem. That plate with the eggs and the hummus and all the bits and pieces looks so delicious! In fact, "it can be eaten as little sandwiches or as individual pieces" basically describes all of my favorite meals.

    I'm going to eat hard-boiled eggs and salami and asparagus and olives and cheese for dinner tonight. Hell yeah. I might even bake some bread to go with it...

  5. My favorite breakfast was* also from Europe, or at least invented by me while we were there on our honeymoon. We were in Bavaria staying at a very lovely couple's guesthouse but had to stock our own fridge so we hopped down to the local market (though with a smidge of trepidation as we knew no German). They had no regular cereal, so time to improvise! I picked up some muesli, fruit, and fresh local blueberry yogurt. Back at our oasis, I carved up the fruit (I think it was apple, plum, and grapes) into small pieces and mixed it up with the yogurt & muesli. Divine!! This continued to be my standard breakfast for the next two years. It would bring me back to our honeymoon every time I ate it.

    It works best with tree fruits and berries, and you can make it different every day. The juice from the cut fruit mixes in with the yogurt and really melds all the flavors together. I eventually migrated to plain yogurt so as to not mask the fruity flavors. I also switched up the cereals/muesli/granola from time to time. Heritage Flakes by Nature's Path was my favorite (you gotta try it, it's yum-tastic).

    Super Secret Tip: If you're using grapes you must bisect every single one, maybe even quarter them if they're those scarily big ones.


    *Ah, breakfast. Would that I were able to still eat you. Or carbs, for that matter... or dairy... or fruit...

    1. Maureen, you are always so good at sharing the stories! And the tips! (I completely understand the rationale of cutting the grapes into small pieces for a recipe like this. How else will you liberate the juiciness from the grapes??) Alas, I'm sorry to hear that carbs, dairy, and fruit are no longer in your life. Hopefully the memories of your sweet German breakfast will get you through this time of dietary restriction, and perhaps, one day, Heritage Flakes will be yours again.