24 November 2008

Cold Weather Breakfast, Part I: Tartines

I am a creature of routine. Each morning I stagger from bed, somehow manage to find my way to the kitchen, brew a cup of coffee and settle down with my laptop to read the morning papers, from Madison to San Francisco and several points in between. It takes me a good hour before I am awake enough to want breakfast.

But when I do it is a hardy breakfast I want.

More often than not, it is a tartine, an open faced sandwich loaded with some sort of egg, perhaps some cheese, a bit of sausage and perhaps a tomato, washed down with a small glass of milk and a small glass or orange juice. My goal is to get protein, a little fat, some fruit, and some whole grains.

I woke this morning to a fine layer of snow, not a bit unusual for this time of year. My breakfast was sourdough bread with a slick of butter and a thick slice of cheddar, broiled until the cheese was forming a shiny skin on top. That's when I know it's ready. I added a dollop of applesauce as a side.

You cannot go wrong with tartines. Another favorite is a bagel with salmon cream cheese, a tomato, some thin slivers of red onion and a few capers. I paid a whopping $15 for such a similar breakfast in the San Francisco Airport this summer. I like my own version much better.

This time of year, breakfast is really important to me. One year, not long after college, I baked bran muffins the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The next day they were hard as rocks. I was too poor to discard them, so I broke them into pieces (it took some work) and poured milk over them, creating a cereal of sorts. The milk softened the muffins and they made for a pretty good breakfast - possibly one of the best I've had (of my own creation, anyway).

Eating frugally often means being creative, and sometimes a little desperate.

What about you? What do you eat for breakfast? Have you ever salvaged a disaster as I did with my muffins? Tell us about it!

I'm truly curious.

15 comments:

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I'm a creature of habit, too. One cup of coffee before I eat anything. A bowl of oat cereal with either raisins or banana. Occasionally I'll have scrambled eggs with herbs from the garden, and an oat bran pita. But at least five days a week it's cereal.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

I adore cereal in summer:

Shredded wheat with bananas
Raisin Bran with bananas
Total with nectarines or peaches
Cheerios with bananas and raisins

I will think of you, Lydia, when I have coffee tomorrow.

Fiona said...

That's a very hearty breakfast for a cold morning. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I'm a creature of habit with my breakfasts, which on week days is usually fruit cereal with a pro-biotic yoghurt - vanilla flavour being my current choice.

On the weekends I have a piece of buttered toast with Manuka honey.

My breakfast drink is always hot tea with milk, I have a coffee at morning tea.

Christine said...

I love that tartine photo! I can almost taste it from here in my kitchen.
Mr CC wakes me up with a cup of hot tea every morning. Sometimes this is before 6am. During the week I usually have a piece of fruit and run off to work. But on weekends, I'll bring vegetable leftovers out of the fridge around 10 am, heat them in a skillet then break a few eggs into the center. That, to me, is the ultimate comfort breakfast.
I love your apple photo but really miss your smiling face, Mimi.

Martha said...

A favorite is a toasted English muffin (Wolferman's is my preferred brand), a slice of mozarella all run under the broiler until melted. Heaven!

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Fiona, I have had your Manuka honey on toast, too!

Christine, I love those omelets made with leftovers, too. But I have yet to make them taste as good as the farmer's omelets we order at the little restaurant near the harbor.

Maybe I need a new photo.

Martha, I love English muffins for breakfast - I like mine with peanut butter and apple jelly, oozing with butter. Well, OK, Smart Balance.

ChazFrench said...

I'm sitting here on hillside deck overlooking Zihuatanejo Bay reading this and waiting for my breakfast. Today it's juice, fruit, coffee, huevos rancheros, chorizo and frijoles.

It's been some variation on that since arriving and will be for the rest of the week.

When I get back to the cold frozen hell of NYC, I'll go back to having a bagel with cream cheese and some coffee.

This is where I'm sitting now: http://twitpic.com/nat5

Judy said...

I get up and do the same thing every morning too. My kittens Anna and Bailey follow me around and wait for me to go the next step of my routine. If they arrive before I do they wait. I usually have your breakfast for lunch or dinner. I was planning on doing that tonight in fact because I've go so much to do. It's my favorite thing to eat..or one of them. For breakfast I usually have cereal and/or fruit.

MaryRuth said...

If I go to the gym, I'm out the house by 4:55am and have a half of granola bar on the way.
If I go directly to work, I'm at work by 6am. A cup of instant coffee around 7 and a bowl of Raisin Bran at 9.
I like to make Irish Oatmeal on the weekends in the winter.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Chaz, what fun for you! Although that NYC bagel sounds good to me!

I guess I like a hearty breakfast all ear round, Judy!

MaryRuth, obviously you are not in Wisconsin anymore...4:55 a.m.!!!!!

Betty C. said...

I'm a very bad girl. I never eat breakfast during the workweek -- just coffee with cream. I often eat some cake someone's made for coffee break at work -- or I eat a few "biscottes" that I have stocked in my office.

At home over the weekend, an occasional piece of toast or bowl of cereal.

Your creations look delicious, but I would make the savory ones for Sunday night supper, not breakfast.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

That's a good idea, Betty, and I have had these for supper. But I find I must have a hearty breakfast or I get light-headed about 10 a.m. It's always been that day.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

I mean, that way.

rivrpath said...

I need protein for breakfast. Two eggs with chipolte cheddar cheese does it for me. Cereal is for lunch. Being from the Deep South, my beverage of choice is Diet Coke.
rivrpath

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Yeah, I need protein, too Rivrpath.

I used to have Coke or Diet Coke for breakfast. Now it is orange or tomato juice.

My husband lived in Georgia for a while - likes grits for breakfast.