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Native Cooking 26-12

You’ve heard people say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”; and you might say, “Yeah, right, who’s got time for breakfast? I’m late for work as it is!” True, most of us get up and gulp; still others get up and go get their gulp at the local coffeeshop’s drive-thru window. Now is that any way to live?

On weekends there is no excuse to hurry. Sleep late, have a slow cup of something and read the paper. Then you should be good and hungry and want to make a leisurely large breakfast to hold you until almost dinnertime. I said “almost.” Or, if you live in a rural place and are young enough to partake in a morning run or horseback ride, preceded by water and more water, you are very lucky – and healthy too. Come home and have a corn muffin or a home-made breakfast burrito.

Breakfast isn’t for everyone; your own body will let you know. If you’re the kind of person who feels “fuzzy” and suffers a loss of energy mid-morning, well then maybe you need it. A lot of people eat a quick bowl of sugary cereal, or maybe a donut or other type of pastry. Sugar like that will make you feel full of energy for a short time, then it will drop you like a hot potato. Whole grains are important, and early in the day is a good time to consume them. Some researchers recommend a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates along with some protein. Toast with some cheese or some cereal and fruit for example.

It is important for children to always have some breakfast. School will be starting soon. When I was a kid, my bag lunch was gone by 10 a.m. I remember sneaking bites at every chance when the teacher wasn’t looking. It was dumb, because then I had nothing to eat in the lunchroom.

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<b>Green Things and Eggs</b>

1 green summer squash, diced or grated

1 green bell pepper, chopped fine

2 green scallions, sliced thin

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 dash hot pepper sauce

2 shakes each salt and pepper

Heat some butter or substitute in a large frying pan and add the squash, bell pepper and scallion. Cook and stir until green pepper is softish, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Stir to even out ingredients and cover for just a few minutes or until eggs are done to your liking. Serve plain or in a warmed flour tortilla or a pita pocket. It is also very good plain like an omelet with Corn-Walnut Muffins and a sweet jelly.

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<b>Corn-Walnut Muffins</b>

2 cups unbleached flour

2 cups yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup sugar or substitute

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

2 cups milk

1/4 cup corn (or other vegetable) oil

1/4 cup applesauce

1 tablespoon fresh orange zest

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk the eggs lightly in another bowl, then stir in the milk, oil, applesauce and zest with the eggs. Pour all the liquid ingredients over the dry ones and mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Do not beat the batter or muffins will be tough. Stir in walnuts.

Grease and flour each muffin cup (or use paper liners) and fill each cup 3/4 full. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, then let stand for 5 minutes before turning them out of the baking tin. These muffins can be made the night before and warmed in the morning.

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<b>Breakfast Quesadillas</b>

4 burrito-size flour tortillas, warmed

8 eggs, beaten

4 tablespoons red or green bell peppers, chopped

1/2 cup onions, chopped

1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup salsa, mild or hot

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

2 avocados, peeled and diced

Use a little butter in a large skillet on medium heat. When melted, add the eggs, peppers, onion, tomatoes and cheese. When the eggs are done as you like, put the mixture in the middle of the warmed tortillas, top with salsa, avocado, and a spoonful of sour cream. Fold and serve. Goooood!

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<b>Quick-Start for Your Engine</b>

1 cup plain yogurt

1 cup pineapple juice

1 banana, cut in 3 pieces

3 strawberries, fresh or frozen

Put all ingredients in a blender on high for 30 seconds. Good to go.

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<b>Notes and Tips</b>

-- The most wonderful, memorable breakfast I ever had was in a hotel in a place north of Rio de Janero, Brazil. They served it on a tray in your bed! A cup of heavenly coffee, fresh banana, orange and grapes, still-warm rolls with a little tub of sweet butter. That was many, many years ago and I swear I can still smell it – delicious!

-- Curly parsley and basil are at their peak right now and have been for a couple of weeks – mint, too. I pick some early when I am watering and stick them separately in glasses of cold water to use all day and beyond. It’s handy and right there, so you don’t have to run outside when something’s on the stove.