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toast-and-jam

Breakfast in Britain

Breakfast in Britain is a bit of a brain twist for Americans. They serve beans (pretty much like the pork n’ beans in a can we know from home) and mushrooms, cooked tomatoes, along with bacon, ham or sausage, or sometimes all three if you get the big breakfast, eggs of your choice and toast, brown or white.

Poached eggs on toast with a mushroom

Granted, eggs and meat are quite familiar in the USA, it’s the beans, mushrooms and tomatoes that throw us. There is also tea or coffee, of course.

Tea cup made in Worcester with Wittard’s English Rose Tea

And sometimes, even a great view!

View from County Arms, Truro, Cornwall

Since I have grown used to my green super smoothies at home, I have readjusted my breakfast thinking when I am traveling. Mushrooms are a super food, so I love that I can have them for breakfast and I quite like eggs, so I have them either poached or boiled, but occasionally fried. I was really impressed one evening at Three Tuns pub, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, when I also had a mushroom risotto with a breaded poached egg on top. Now that was delicious.

Three Tuns Pub Mixed Olive & Fennel Risotto, Creme Fraiche, Deep Fried Poached Egg, Pecorino Crackling

I have had more toast here than a year of breakfasts at home, but the jams are so delicious, it’s hard to pass up, even when making breakfast in my flat. I passed an honor jar jam sale on the street one day and paid 2 pounds, a steal compared to other jams I’ve seen, (or bought) for Ed’s Forest Fruits, which my friend Rachel tells me would be blackberries and currants.

Ed’s Forest Fruits bought at an honor jar table on street
Scrumptious Strawberry and Rose Jam from the Old Stables Tea House, Hay on Wye, Wales

Whatever it is, the fruit is big and chunky and super delicious and so I’ve had toast on more than several occasions. However, for breakfast, most days in my flat, even though there is a blender and I could make a smoothie, I have taken to having salad,

Salad for breakfast? Yes!

sweet potato and fruit.

Delicious for breakfast with a small pat of organic butter

Now that is a breakfast to write home about! Fills me up and tastes great. I am definitely adding mushrooms to the mix when I get home and I may never go back to the smoothie. What?? That’s right, as great as they are, why not have all that yumminess in it’s natural state? We will see, but for now…please pass the jam!

If you like this post, please share, and don’t forget to say what YOU are having for breakfast these days!

 

Friday Foodie: Incredible Meatless Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti sauce

This is my much loved meatless spaghetti sauce. This recipe is full of veggies, which makes for a super hearty, rich sauce. You can adjust this recipe with more or less veggies. To make it saucier, add another can of tomatoes. Add more spice as you desire. Extra Oregano would be super! I also love garlic, so I usually up the garlic depending on the size of the cloves. Chopping the cauliflower finely will keep anyone from knowing it’s there, if you have picky eaters.  In the above picture you can see the bay leaves there on the top. Those come out before serving. Just dig around with your spoon and you’ll find them. If you don’t find them all, just warn people ahead of time, but generally when you start serving up plates any lost leave will present itself. This makes enough for a family of four to have three or four meals. Store in quart size containers in your freezer and pull out to defrost for a quick evening meal. You can also use this as a pizza sauce.

3 large onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1 ½ pounds of mushrooms, sliced (I prefer baby Bella’s’, but white buttons are fine)

3 zucchini squash, grated

1 cup finely chopped cauliflower

4 large carrots, grated

3 Tbs. Italian seasoning

2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes, pick the lowest sodium and sugar content

1 28 ounce can of tomato puree or sauce, lowest sodium and sugar (Wal-Mart Great Value   Puree has no other added ingredients)

1 can tomato paste with no other ingredients listed on can

3 large bay leaves

Place a large Dutch oven or large soup pot on oven burner set to high. Once pan is hot and water drops skid across pan, add two Tbs. of water and immediately add onions. Turn heat to medium/high and sauté the onions for about three minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms  and cook until they release their juices, stirring occasionally.

Add the crushed garlic and cook one minute more. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for five minutes, until all have begun to soften.

Add the Italian seasoning and stir to coat vegetables. Cook for one more minute then add the tomatoes, tomato puree and the paste. If you wish to add salt, add about a teaspoon.  Stir all ingredients together and bring to just boiling, then turn the heat to low. Place three large bay leaves on the top of the sauce and fold them in. Cover and allow to simmer for an hour.

Friday Foodie: Incredible Meatless Spaghetti Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
This veggie filled spaghetti sauce is a great way to get your family to eat their vegetables.
Ingredients
  • 3
 large
 onions,
 chopped
  • 6 
cloves 
garlic,
crushed
  • 1
1⁄2 
pounds 
of
 mushrooms, 
sliced
  • 3 
zucchini 
squash,
 grated
  • 1 
cup 
finely 
chopped
 cauliflower
  • 4
l arge
 carrots,
 grated
  • 3
Tbs.
Italian
 seasoning
  • 2 
28 
ounce 
cans 
of 
diced 
tomatoes,
  • 1 
28 
ounce
 can
 of 
tomato 
puree 
or 
sauce,
  • 1 
can 
tomato 
paste 
with 
no 
other 
ingredients 
listed 
on 
can
  • 3 
large 
bay 
leaves
Instructions
  1. Place 
a 
large 
Dutch 
oven 
or 
large 
soup 
pot 
on 
oven 
burner 
set 
to 
high.
  2. Once 
pan 
is
 hot 
and 
water 
drops 
skid 
across
 pan, 
add 
two
Tbs 
of 
water 
and
immediately
 add
 onions.
  3. Turn 
heat 
to 
medium/high 
and 
sauté 
the 
onions 
for 
about 
three 
minutes,
 until 
they
begin 
to 
soften.
  4. Add
 the 
mushrooms 
and 
cook 
until
 they 
release 
their
 juices, 
stirring
 occasionally.
Add
 the 
crushed 
garlic 
and 
cook 
one 
minute 
more.
  5. Add
 the 
rest 
of 
the 
vegetables 
and
 cook 
for 
five 
minutes,
 until
 all
 have 
begun 
to
soften.
  6. Add
 the 
Italian 
seasoning 
and 
stir
 to 
coat
 vegetables.
  7. Cook 
for 
one 
more 
minute 
then
 add
 the 
tomatoes, 
tomato
 puree
 and 
the 
paste.
  8. If
 you 
wish 
to 
add
 salt,
 add 
about 
a
 teaspoon.
  9. Stir 
all
 ingredients 
together 
and
 bring 
to 
just
 boiling, 
then 
turn 
the 
heat
 to
 low.
  10. Place 
three 
large 
bay 
leaves 
on 
the 
top 
of 
the 
sauce 
and 
fold 
them 
in.
  11. Cover 
and
 allow
 to 
simmer
 for 
an 
hour.

 

TIME EFFICIENCY USING A 6 QT CROCK POT: The night before you wish to make this,  sauté the onions, mushrooms and garlic as directed above. Chop and grate all remaining vegetables. Place them, all in refrigerator for the night. (If you have a crock pot with removable crock, place them in the covered crock for the night.) The next morning, add remaining ingredients, turn crock pot setting to low and come home to a ready made sauce.

Friday Foodie: Broccoli in a tomato and orange sauce

Broccoli

I ran across this recipe at 101 Cookbooks, by Heidi Swanson and gave it a try the other day. Super easy and delicious, I made a meal of broccoli, though it would be a great side dish or could be served over rice or with noodles. If you don’t know 101 Cookbooks, check it out. She is also the author of several cookbooks, including Super Natural Every Day, which is one of my fav cookbooks.

super natural every day book image

Without further ado, here’s today’s recipe.

Friday Foodie: Broccoli in a tomato and orange sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
 
This is a great side dish or meal, eaten on its own.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 head of broccoli, florets and stalks trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces or
  • 1 bag of broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese shavings
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat combine the orange juice and tomatoes.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir in the broccoli.
  3. Stir in the oregano and red pepper flakes, then cook until the broccoli is just tender,and bright green - a couple minutes.
  4. Avoid overcooking the broccoli.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving dish.
  6. Drizzle with the olive oil, if desired, though I did not.
  7. Sprinkle with the cheese and almonds before serving.

 

Haricots Verts, bagged

Friday Foodie: Haricots Vert Salad with chèvre and walnuts (vegan version included)

I recently returned from France where I had lots of great food. One of my favorite salads in France is Salade au Chèvre Chaud. This is a salad with goat cheese either wrapped in phyllo and baked, breaded and baked, or toast points with goat cheese broiled. The last one I had was in a bistro on a Sunday afternoon in Paris. And it was over the top with smoked duck, lots of toasty goat cheese and a salad that included haricots verts. This is what it looked like.

Salade au Chèvre Chaud

You can just make out the haricots verts there at the bottom. If you can’t tell yet, they are a French green bean and I have always loved them, but had never had them in a salad. They were a delicious addition. After all the rich food in France and then coming home to Thanksgiving, I have been craving vegetable rich dishes so came up with my own version of a salad that incorporates Haricots Verts. I have had this numerous times this week already. I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

Haricots Verts, bagged

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a bag of these bad boys and 1/2 tsp of salt. Boil about four minutes or until bright green. Don’t over cook them. Remove to a ice water bath or run continuous cold water over them to cool. Then place in refrigerator until completely chilled. I did mine first thing in the morning and then left in the refrigerator till I made my salad that evening.

Mixed baby salad greens

Pile some mixed baby salad greens in a bowl.

Organic Pea Shoots

Throw on a pile of organic pea shoots. Sprouts of any kind would also work.

Haricots Verts on bed of mixed baby salad greens

Top with a large handful of Haricots Verts.

Wintered cherry tomato plant

Pick some tomatoes off your wintered cherry tomato plant and slice in half. (What? You don’t winter your tomato plants? I learned about this last year and have done it successfully two years in a row now. Just uproot your cherry tomato plant [you can do this with others if you have the room] and put the root ball in a plastic bag. Allow plant to hang down and pick as they ripen. I have had mine inside since third week in October before the first freeze and I’m still picking.)

Lemon Balsamic dressing on salad

This is what mine looked like with the tomatoes and my homemade salad dressing. If you are vegan, add some walnuts and dressing and your ready to go. If not…

Haricots Verts salad with feta and walnuts

add a little crumbled chèvre (or feta) as well. I think this would also be good with shredded carrots, which I think I will try today. Use your favorite dressing or try this one I came up with for my salad.

Enjoy!

Friday Foodie: Haricots Vert Salad with Lemon Balsamic Dressing
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Semi-French
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
This dressing would be delicious on any salad, but is especially good with Haricots Verts.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs minced shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice (juice of one lemon generally)
  • ¼ c high quality balsamic
  • ¼ c sunflower oil
  • 1½ tsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine first six ingredients in blender or mini food processor.
  2. With blender or processor running, add oil in a steady stream.
  3. Add thyme, salt and pepper and blend.
  4. Serve.
  5. Can be stored in jar in refrigerator for a week.
  6. Shake before using.

 

Tomatoland, by Barry Estabrook

 

Tomatoland

Tomatoland, by Barry Estabrook, is an eye opening book about what goes on behind the scenes in the land of tomatoes. He gives a history of the ugly hiring and employment tactics of big tomato agribusiness in Florida, a state so ill suited to growing tomatoes that dangerous pesticides are the norm. Understanding where our food comes from and how it is grown and processed to market, gives us more control and say in what we want to put in our bodies. This book provides just that. Though repetitive in some places, over all it is an interesting and compelling read. Understanding why supermarket tomatoes have no flavor, how flavor has been bred out in place of rock hard solid tomatoes that can make it to market and survive rough handling, helps make the case for growing your own or buying them at a local farmer’s market. It also makes the case for eating fresh tomatoes in season only and using canned the rest of the year if tomatoes are a must. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to know where the food they eat comes from and how it gets to them. This book has made me think twice about what kind of tomatoes I purchase and from where I make the purchase. Overall, an interesting read. Find a copy in My Favorites.