Starters for the Day

Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

Did you know that simply eating breakfast raises your metabolism by 10%? It wakes up the systems after a full night’s sleep and provides your body with the fuel it needs to function optimally. Make sure your first meal of the day is nutrition dense, meaning AVOID those empty calories and NO foods loaded with lots of sugar. This way you’ll avoid the midday slump.

This topic is so important (and tasty) it will run for 2 consecutive posts. The first week of breakfasts has a charming, fast and healthy “banana split” which will make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” The egg nests are something you probably haven’t seen and are fun and tasty. Finally, who can resist a parfait-crunchy with homemade granola, rich thick yogurt and fresh berries?

 Recipes

  • Oatmeal Banana Split
  • Savory Egg Meringue Nests
  • Parfait of Homemade Granola, Fresh Berry & Greek Yogurt 

Oatmeal Banana Split

Oatmeal is one of the most powerful breakfast foods of them all as long as it’s not the instant, highly processed variety. This grain (especially if it’s used in its whole form) boosts your energy and has plenty of fiber to keep you full and satisfied. Oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, giving you long-lasting energy. It is also full of water-soluble fibers, which play a crucial role in making you feel full over a longer period of time. Studies have also shown that oatmeal reduces cholesterol, maintains blood sugar levels and fights against heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and obesity.

Per Serving

  • 1 small banana, split in half lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup cooked old fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons berry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts, toasted and chopped

Place the two banana halves on in flat bowl. Dollop the oatmeal in the middle. Top with preserves, sprinkle with walnuts. Serve.

Savory Egg Meringue Nests 

Serves 2

Ever heard of savory meringues-no dessert in sight? These light nests are spiffed up with cheese;  the baked egg in the middle is the perfect rich complement. They need to be served immediately out of the oven as they can deflate a bit.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup gruyere cheese, grated (or your choice, I like a sharp white cheddar with Manchego)
  •  thyme leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet that can take high temperatures without warping, with parchment paper or Silpat.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. It helps if you are making more than one egg nest to keep each egg yolk in a separate prep bowl.

Place the egg whites in a very clean mixer bowl and add the salt. Beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment in a mixer (or using a hand mixer), starting on low speed and then slowly increasing to high speed, until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in the grated Gruyere cheese, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.

Create two mounds of the egg white mixture on the lined baking sheet. Form the mounds so they look like nests, with indentations in the centers.

Place in the oven for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, open the oven, pull out the rack with the egg white nests, and gently add an egg yolk to the center of each nest.

Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for 3 more minutes.

Sprinkle the tops with thyme and serve immediately.

 

Parfait of Homemade Granola, Fresh Berry & Greek Yogurt

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried berries of your choosing
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt.

Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

To Assemble the Parfait

Choose a tall clear glass and layer first the yogurt, berries and then granola. Add another layer of each and serve.

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