‘Tis a Wed-nes-day For Sure

I’ve never forgotten how to spell ‘Wednesday’, thanks to my very first English teacher, Father Patrick: Wed Nes Day. I still say it in my head whenever I write it out.

Clearly, today is a very Wed Nessy Day. It could be the way I slept. It could be the fact that my body is crying out for more yoga to stretch my poor teeny muscles and I refuse to satiate it because I can’t afford the thirty minute drive right now. It could be the mess in the kitchen, or the mess in the living room, or the mess in the bathroom. It could even be the fact that the sun is beaming down on me to the point of uncomfortable brightness.

Friends, I refuse to let my day become Wed Nessy! The sky is still so blue I could kiss it. And this morning, as an inaugural fall treat, I made oatmeal:

Fall Breakfast Oatmeal
Serves Two
One banana, thinly sliced
Two cups milk of your choice
One cup rolled oats
One cup canned pumpkin
Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
Pinch salt
Dried cranberries, mixed nuts, maple syrup

Place the milk in a saucepan along with the banana. Bring to a boil, continually stirring the banana so it breaks up into the milk. Once rolling with bubbles, add the oats and salt and continue to stir until the mixture reaches your preferred level of thickness (three to five minutes).

Remove from the heat, add the pumpkin and spices, and stir to incorporate. Top with cranberries, nuts, and maple syrup. If you need more salty crunch, serve with a dollop of peanut butter. Seriously.

With a bit of light reading ­čÖé
My internal calendar always starts to leap when I make the switch from fruit-and-yogurt to warm, creamy oatmeal. This means beautiful things like boots and scarves. You hear that, feet? Get ready!

Breakfast Tomatoes with Basil

My great Italian mother once speculated that tomato sauce flows through my veins in place of blood. I still believe her. I can eat an entire pint of cherry tomatoes by myself, and have done so several times while walking home from the grocery store when I lived in Minneapolis. I.love.tomatoes!

These babies are lightly cooked with olive oil and garlic until soft, golden and melt-in-your-mouth fantastic. They are the perfect side item to a breakfast or brunch of scrambled eggs and cheese grits, which often grace our tables on Sunday afternoons.

Taken from Google, but aren’t they pretty?

Breakfast Tomatoes
Serves 4-6, or one with a Hobbit like obsession for the firey fruit
Four fresh roma tomatoes, sliced about one fourth inch thick
One large handful fresh basil
One large clove garlic, peeled
One to two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Head a skillet on medium heat with one tablespoon olive oil and the garlic clove; swirl it around for a few seconds. When the oil is hot (sprinkle a few drops of water to test the heat level–it should sizzle), add the tomato slices (you will need to do this in batches). Cook for just a minute or two until they soften, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then flip and cook through. The color will brighten and the skin will just start to pull away from the flesh. Remove, place on a plate, and add the next batch of tomatoes with a little more oil if necessary. ┬áRepeat, remembering to season your fruit!

When all the tomatoes are cooked, rip the basil over them. Remove the garlic clove; mince finely, then sprinkle over the tomatoes and basil.

Crabmeat and Cheddar Frittata with Eggwhites

A lot of baking goes down in this house, so it was nothing out of the ordinary when I opened up the fridge the other day and saw a two quart mason jar full of liquidly smooth egg whites staring me in the face. Blame my sister, the master baker.

I of course, in true Stanek family fashion, will stand huddled over a chicken carcass until it’s picked dryer than the desert and was not about to let all these beautiful egg whites go to waste. Enter ingenuity!

Crabmeat and Cheddar Frittata, with Egg whites
Serves 4-6
Two tablespoons butter
Small red onion, diced
Two cans, drained, lump crabmeat, or half of one sixteen ounce package
One cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt, pepper, and tarragon, about one teaspoon each
Eight to ten egg whites (depending on size of egg and how many mouths to feed)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grab your trusty cast iron skillet or other oven-safe saute pan (but really, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you aren’t truly living.)

Melt the butter in the pan on medium heat; when melted, add the onion and saute until translucent, about three minutes, then add the crabmeat. It’s already cooked so you want to just warm it through and incorporate the butter and onion flavors. Don’t let it burn or brown too much.

Meanwhile, beat the eggwhites with the salt, pepper, and tarragon. Add the cheddar and incorporate. Pour mixture over the crab and let it set! No touching. Leave it for five to ten minutes, until the bottom and edges are firm. Use this time to assemble a nice green salad for your lovely family. When ready, transfer the pan to the oven for an additional five to ten minutes, until completely cooked through and it doesn’t jiggle when you shake it (jiggling from the cook, however, is encouraged.)

Serve fresh out of the oven or at room temperature (it makes a mean leftover breakfast) with salad or asparagus and toast!

Bread for your frittata…

Don’t Forget Dessert: Yogurt and Egg white Lemon Mousse
4-6 egg whites
One cup yogurt (plain with a teaspoon of vanilla extract mixed in, or simply use vanilla yogurt)
Ten pieces of crystallized ginger, chopped fine (please don’t actually count this…just grab a large handful)
One large whole lemon
About a half a cup of sugar, more or less to taste

Place yogurt in a bowl and zest the lemon over it, the cut it open and juice in both halves, cut side up.

Using an electric mixer (or with a hand whisk if you’re feeling frisky), beat the egg whites on medium. When the volume has increased but the peaks on your beaters are not yet firm, add the sugar. Continue to beak until the peaks on your beaters stand up on their own when turned upright.

Gently fold the eggwhites, in about four batches, into the yogurt mixture, starting from the outside perimeter of the bowl and working your way into the center. Halfway through, fold in the ginger. When all the eggwhites are incorporated, you may eat, or if you have some patience (God bless you), place in the fridge. The liquid may separate, but simply stir it back together, no harm done.

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