Breakfast, the underappreciated meal, needs to be quick and convenient. I'm not talking about lazy weekend brunches, of course, but weekday meals, the food that should fuel you until noon or later.
The first meal of the day should be filling yet light, simple but not boring, and quick without getting repetitive week after week.
I tend to get into breakfast grooves, where I eat the same thing many days in a row because I like it: yogurt and half a banana, oatmeal with brown sugar, meusli with milk. My crutch is that I tend toward sugary breakfasts.
I need to shake things up. Here are three alternative and savory breakfasts that can be made quickly or prepared the night before.
- Polenta cake with butter. Make polenta for dinner the night or two before, and press the leftovers into a small ramekin. Reheat in a pan with butter if you have time, or just nibble it cold. This meal would work with risotto, too.
- Toast with ricotta. Simple and quick, yet elegant. Add sliced fruit, fresh or dried, or a swoop of honey to keep it sweet, or make it savory with sliced almonds, or chives or thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. If you have stale bread, prepare this meal first and then make your pot of coffee or tea so that the cheese can soften the bread while it sits for five or six minutes.
- Hard cooked egg with salt and pepper over grits (or toast). For when you want eggs, but you don't want to cook eggs, so you hard cook them the night before. You make grits the night before or cook quick grits in the same amount of time it takes to make oatmeal. See below for tips on cooking eggs.
How to Hard Cook EggsTo make hard-cooked eggs that do not stink like sulfur or taste like powder, start with a cold pot of water, enough to cover the eggs. Turn the heat on medium-low, and think to yourself that you are warming the eggs until they set. It's this mentality that turns out a bright, soft, luscious yolk. I let mine reach a gently boil and go for exactly three minutes, then I shut off the heat, let them sit another two minutes, and then move them to ice water.
Another method is to start with cold water, cover the pot, turn on the heat to medium, and when the water just barely boils, shut off the heat and remove the lid. Leave the eggs in the hot water for between nine and eleven minutes, and then immediately move them into ice water. Getting the time just right takes some trial and error to adjust for your pot size, heat source, how orange you like your yolks, etc. Boyfriend uses this method and takes his eggs to exactly 10 minutes.