Breakfasts from Hell

Minnesota’s Hell’s Kitchen, that is. I tried a few of my favorites off the breakfast menu, out of the cookbook Damn Good Food by Mitch Omer and Ann Bauer, a gift from my aunt for Christmas.

Hell's Kitchen Oatmeal

Oatmeal, makes 4 cups

2 1/2 c. whole milk
1 c. steel-cut oats
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. rolled oats (not quick)
2/3 c. warm half and half
Brown Sugar

Heat water to simmer in saucepan over medium high. Pour milk into large bowl; place bowl over simmering water. Heat milk to simmer. Gradually stir in steel-cut oats and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Stir in rolled oats. Cook until all milk is absorbed, about 13 minutes. Just before serving, thin oatmeal to desired consistency with warm half and half. Top oatmeal with brown sugar, berries, and any remaining half and half.

Omer, who goes a little gonzo for the dairy fat, likes to add a dollop of sweet cream butter, too. I tried it and liked it. This takes more work than my usual recipe, in which I dump 1 c. steel cut oats, 3 c. water and 1 c. milk into my rice cooker and press “porridge” but it was richer and quite satisfying. Speaking of porridge:

Mahnomin Porridge

Mahnomin Porridge, makes 4 servings

4 cups cooked wild rice
½ cup roasted hazelnuts, cracked
½ cup dried blueberries
¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins)
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Add cooked wild rice, hazelnuts, blueberries, Craisins, and maple syrup to a heavy, nonstick or enameled cast iron saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Add heavy cream, and stirring continually, heat through, about 2 minutes. Ladle into bowls, and serve immediately.

I used pecans instead of hazelnuts. 3yo Guppy and 6yo Drake pronounced it yucky looking and refused to try it. G. Grod was unimpressed. Only I liked it, and I’m OK with that. These, however, everyone liked:

Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes

Lemon-Ricotta Hotcakes, Makes 16 hotcakes

6 egg whites
9 egg yolks
â…“ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
â…“ cup all-purpose flour
Unsalted butter, melted (for the skillet)

Pour egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment, and whisk on high speed until firm peaks form. Reduce the speed to low. Slowly add egg yolks, and then gradually add melted butter. Continue whisking on low speed until well incorporated. Stop the mixer, and add sugar, ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk on medium speed for 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, and gradually add flour. Continue mixing for about 1 minute. Stop the mixer, and scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. Return the mixer to medium speed, and mix for about 1 minute. Makes about 4 cups.

I find it best to refrigerate the batter for a few hours prior to making the hotcakes. This allows the melted butter to firm up slightly in the mix and keeps the batter from spreading out too thin on a hot griddle. Refrigerated in a covered container, this batter will keep safely for up to 3 days.

To cook hotcakes, heat a large skillet over medium high. Brush skillet with melted butter, and drop batter onto the hot skilled in ¼ cup portions. Leave about 2 inches between hotcakes to allow them to spread. Cook until bubbles appear and bottoms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip hotcakes, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the skillet.

I garnish the cooked hotcakes with a handful of fresh blackberries, blueberries, and quartered strawberries, then dust with a vanilla powdered sugar, and serve with a side of peanut butter and warm maple syrup. You can adjust the quantities and ingredients to better suit your personal tastes. That’s what good cooking is all about.

These hardly needed butter and maple syrup, and were good even when I accidentally doubled the salt amount to convert to sea salt from kosher rather than halving it as I should have.

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