All posts filed under “Breakfast

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Coconut, Pepita & Almond Granola

When I trained as a pastry cook, I learned a very classic approach, which meant plenty of butter, sugar, and tasty and delicious fats like bacon and pork belly. I took one class in vegetarian/heathy cooking during culinary school, and although I was a vegetarian at the time, I had no interest in using products like seitan and nutritional yeast. Like many other cooks, I believed the more salt, butter, and fat, the  more flavor. There’s a reason just about everything tastes good deep-fried or with bacon and a fried egg on top.

So going sugar free, as Sarah Wilson suggests in her new book, seems a bit of an impossible feat for someone trained in the many ways to turn sugar into something very delicious. And looking over this recipe for sugar-free granola, I didn’t have much hope. I created the ultimate granola recipe several years ago, and I knew that combination of brown sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, and vegetable oil was going to be hard to beat. Sarah’s granola is really a simple combination of nuts and seeds—activated to make them a bit easier on your body’s digestive tract—and mixed with coconut oil and cinnamon. There is no sticky sugar substance to help bind the granola and keep it sweet, no dried fruits to get you wanting more and more.

As the granola roasted, the toasted coconut did smell delicious, but when it was finished I still wasn’t too interested and jarred it up and put it away. But the next morning, tossed with just a few spoonfuls of tangy organic yogurt, the granola was in fact delicious. And as an afternoon snack, with chopped strawberries and some kefir, it was downright addictive. I’m not sure I’ll ever give up that sweet granola of yesteryear, but this healthy combination of coconut, almonds, pepitas, and chia seeds is a mix I can eat on a day-to-day basis. And for a slightly sweeter flavor, Sarah does suggest adding a few tablespoons of rice malt syrup into the mixture before baking.

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Sourdough Pancakes_Katherine Sacks
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Sourdough Pancakes

We spent the first part of the week in Austria, enjoying a few beautiful days of skiing and snowboarding in the alps. Back in Berlin, Wednesday felt like Monday and with only a couple of days for errands, work, and catch up, everything about our week seems a bit off. Thankfully we have a morning routine that includes plenty of exercise, healthy breakfasts of eggs and sautéed spinach, and green juice from our new cold press juicer, all of which has helped get us back on track. But I can’t help but already crave the weekends, which have become the time for longer runs, hikes in Brandenburg, and some indulging, which is where these fluffy pancakes come in.

When I said I wanted to get into bread last year, I had just met Malin, a talented baker who trades her bread for everything from artisan salts to horse back riding excursions with her bread exchange. Inspired, I decided to try my hand at sourdough and worked at creating a starter. After a nice sour start, my first bread fell flat and without much free time on my hands, I let the project go forgotten. But this December, my bread baking was renewed when my good friend Jes shared some of her restaurant’s 8-year-old starter! I managed to travel with it from California to Berlin and have been baking ever since. Expect more about all that in a future post.

This recipe comes thanks to the problem of the starter’s feeding cycle: everyday you encourage the natural yeast with fresh flour and water, and if you can’t bake everyday, you end up tossing out some of the original. Instead, thrifty bakers use the excess starter for everything from pizza dough and pop-overs to waffles and pancakes. Many recipes require an overnight resting of the dough—called a preferment or a poolish—which helps feed the yeast further and create an airy end product. I like this recipe because it is quick and yields wonderfully fluffy pancakes all the same. I add in the orange zest for a nice boost of floral sweetness. If you don’t have a starter but are interested, there are all sorts of helpful posts over on King Arthur’s blog to get you started and Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread and the folks at the Weekend Bakery are also very helpful. Read More

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Crazy Week and Cherry Clafoutis


Three weeks in, if anything’s clear about my 29th year so far, it’s that I am going to be one busy lady. I’ve just published my first assignment as a photographer, for Deutsche Welle’s culture section, I’m working my butt off writing, editing, and pitching, and I have a few really fun projects in the works, all of which you’ll soon hear about. Plus, it’s summer in Berlin, which means the CSA has been sending tons of wonderful produce our way, almost more than we can handle. I mean actually, more than we can handle! We had 14 giant zucchini in the kitchen last week! Poor TH, having to grate zucchini while we tried to relax in the evening! I’ve got tons of zucchini recipes to come, along with some lovely Mirabelle plum concoctions, some more herb recipes, and a few other tricks up my sleeve for summer produce.

And while I’ve been pounding the keyboard trying to get caught up on all this new work, I wanted to take a few minutes to share this recipe I made a few weeks back, when we had just enough cherries, and some free time, on a Saturday morning. Wanting something sweet for breakfast, I made this pretty clafoutis, a sort of mix between a pancake and dessert. The addition of hazelnut meal gives the batter a nutty texture, which makes the clafoutis taste just slightly healthy, but with some nice whipped cream it would be a really lovely dessert for after dinner. We enjoyed it with my rhubarb syrup and it was the perfect breakfast. Thinking about it now, I’m hoping for some free time next weekend, and the chance to make it again. If you still have cherries, use them up, if not, stone fruit such as plums or peaches are perfect for this baked dish.


Cherry Clafoutis, adapted from Nigel Slater
Servings: 4 portions
200 grams pitted cherries
80 grams sugar
2 eggs
60 grams flour, sifted
30 grams hazelnut meal
150 milliliters milk
30 grams brown butter
½ teaspoon orange zest
Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly butter an 8-inch round baking dish (or sauté pan when you have recently moved and misplaced your baking pan!), then dust with sugar. Pour in the cherries.

Beat eggs with sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly rain in the flour, then stream in the milk, and finally add the brown butter. Fold in the orange zest. Pour the batter over the cherries and bake for 35 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Remove, dust with confectioner’s sugar, and serve warm.