February is National Hot Breakfast Month. As I sit here trying to decide what to write about, I have the recipes already chosen for this week’s column. My breakfast is over; yes, I did try one of the recipes this morning. Now I need to figure out what else to say.
Thinking of breakfast brings to mind a radio program my mother often turned on in the mornings: Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club. My sisters and I loved to listen to the broadcast. One of our favorite characters was Aunt Fanny. We thought her name was hilarious, as the word “fanny” to us meant a place of chastisement when we misbehaved. A fanny was the part of our anatomy that we sat on. In doing a bit of research, I found some TV broadcasts of the show on YouTube. It is such a temptation to watch one, but I need to focus on writing at the moment. I can’t think of a time that I ever saw the show, as we heard it on the radio.
Childhood breakfasts often consisted of cereal and milk. Sometimes the cereal was hot, such as oatmeal, grits, or cream of wheat (which I detested). My mom often poured boiling water over Grapenuts® in order to soften them. After they were warm, she drained any water left and added milk and sugar. Another cereal she “heated” was large shredded wheat biscuits. Mom spread each one with margarine, then placed it under the broiler until the margarine melted and the top was beginning to brown. When the biscuits were ready, we broke them up in our cereal bowls, adding the inevitable milk and sugar.
Once in a while, Mom prepared a cooked breakfast. It might have been bacon and eggs with toast or biscuits, or it could consist of waffles or pancakes. Sometimes she fixed sausage gravy to go with biscuits. My mother was a wonderful cook, but she didn’t take the time to make a hot breakfast very often.
When I left home for college, I became one of the few students that arose early to obtain a warm morning meal. Towards the end of the serving time, large trays of doughnuts appeared on the counter, along with fresh fruit. They stayed for much of the morning so that people could grab them as desired. After I began dating Bob (who later became my husband), he started joining me for my morning repast. Before we split up in the evening to go to our respective dorms, it became a competition to see which one of us would be the first to say, “See you at breakfast at seven!” On a humorous note, if I was the “winner,” Bob would reply, “Not if I see you first!” For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what he meant. If he saw me, I could still see him. I didn’t realize that he was implying if he spotted me, he would hide from my sight. It was just something he said, though, because he never did avoid meeting me for breakfast unless he was ill or overslept.
Some of my fondest memories of hot breakfasts occurred when we visited Aunt Betsy and Uncle Bill in Tennessee. It was their Saturday morning tradition to go out for breakfast; when my family was at their house, they included us in their ritual. My cousin Jimmy was a regular, as he lived with his parents. Other family members came along when available. We ate and talked and ate and laughed, and enjoyed great times of fellowship.
I don’t eat breakfast out very often anymore. I would rather “do lunch.” I seem to accomplish so much more at home when I fix my own morning meal, which is quite often cooked. This past Saturday, I prepared pecan waffles for myself; they were terrific! Then on Sunday evening, I ate some of the leftovers, and I made Blueberry Maple Syrup to go along with them. As a rule, I don’t eat syrup very often, considering it too sweet. However, this kind is delicious and complemented the waffles very well. Sometimes pork sausage bothers my tummy, so I thought I would try a recipe I found for Turkey Sausage Patties. They were easy to make and tasty to eat.
Light ‘n’ Crispy Pecan Waffles
2 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola or other vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat waffle maker.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
Put egg yolks, milk, flour, baking powder, salt, oil and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl. Beat until smooth. Gently fold in beaten egg whites.
Pour 1/2 cup batter into waffle maker. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Close waffle maker and bake until golden, 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. Yield: 8 round or 16 square waffles.
Blueberry Maple Syrup
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Toss the blueberries with maple syrup in a small saucepan. Add cinnamon stick and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture boils and the blueberries just start to pop, about 5 minutes. (Frozen berries may not pop.)
Remove from the heat, discard the cinnamon stick; stir in butter and lemon juice. Serve warm.
Turkey Sausage Patties
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup finely crushed butter-flavored crackers
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Place turkey in large bowl. In separate bowl, mix next 6 ingredients until well combined. Add to turkey; mix well. Shape into 8 patties.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook on all sides until nicely browned and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Yield: 8 patties.