Happy (and trying really hard to not be underwhelmed) Presidents Day!

President’s Day Breakfast for Dinner

A nicely heaping plate of blueberry pancakes, pure maple syrup, Adobo-seasoned eggs over medium and cast-iron-fried bacon seems adequately presidential, as far as I’m concerned. I recommend the standard Bisquick box recipe, but add a little sugar and vanilla, and just a pinch of cinnamon. For the eggs, a light sprinkling of Adobo over the tops as they fry is plenty, and I always cook them just until the whites are done to maximize yolk-dipability for my bacon, each strip of which is brown and crisp, save for the chewy 1/4″ fat-tails. Real maple syrup is essential, considering the heartiness of the meal; that amber-colored corn syrup that Butterworth and her kind sling will have you unconscious one third of the way through your plate. Yeah, that’s right; Aunt Jemima’s not a victim. She’s this guy’s avatar, so pay the extra $2 every other month. You know he does.

Michael F. Barry, CEO Quaker

Put the meal back into breakfast.

Mrs. P’s Breakfast Potatoes

It’s time to get unreasonably excited about another skillet seasoning opportunity! Cast iron and home fries enjoy a perfect symbiosis, the oil from the potatoes greasing the pan while the starchy buildup seals it in for a nice long moisturizing. The frequent scraping off and incorporation of the browned coating lends a crispness that contrasts delightfully against the clumps of soft potato and caramelized onion. I don’t recommend adjusting the salt in this recipe; were I facing dietary changes due to high blood pressure, I’d sever my relationship with the home fry completely before I’d witness it lose its soul to the realm of the low-sodium.

3 baking potatoes, diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
1/4 C vegetable oil, plus more on hand
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried cilantro

Heat the oil in your skillet over high heat until it’s hot, about a minute and a half. Add the potatoes and spread them out in the pan, then leave them alone for 2 minutes. Fold them over with a wooden or metal spatula and leave them for another 2 minutes, and repeat this process until all the potatoes have at least two browned sides.

Open up a small circle in the middle of the pan and pour in another tbsp or so of vegetable oil, wait 10 seconds, then add the onion and fold into the potatoes. A metal spatula works best, as the potatoes will want to break apart as they soften. Scrape any stuck-on residue off the bottom of the pan and you fold.

Turn the heat down to medium, add the salt, pepper and cilantro, and continue to cook, folding and scraping every 3 to 5 minutes, until you achieve your desired level of done-ness. This will take a while, and you should plan on chopping your first potato about 45 minutes before you want to eat. The picture directly above illustrates the stage at which you’ll want to eat them, but remember that you trade looks for taste when it comes to home fries. I cook mine to the stage shown all the way at the top, then let them sit in the pan for 10 minutes or so off of the heat for a final crisping. Whatever your preference, don’t forget the eggs over easy for yolk-dipping, and jelly should figure into this in some capacity, whether on toast, English muffin, or a buttered and grilled bagel.

I can’t help it, the mall makes me snarky.

Old Timey Crumb Cake

This is a fun breakfast meeting contribution when the majority of your coworkers are dieting. Nothing passes the weekly departmental status update like a game of clock-the-caver, and it’s even more compelling if coordinated around an in-house Weight Watchers meeting. I know it’s not in the spirit of the season to exploit one’s neighbors for personal entertainment, but you’ve worked hard this year, so give yourself a little end-of-year gratification. Would you feel better if I reminded you that your boss will probably get a substantial bonus, in actual money, when we worker bees have been hearing that companies can’t “afford” even annual holiday parties “this year” for a while now? I thought it might.

1 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C butter, softened
1/2 C whole milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C raspberry jam

3/4 stick butter, softened
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 C flour

Set your oven to 350 and grease & flour a square 8×8 cake pan. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and combine well. Use a stand mixer or hand-held to beat the batter on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.

If using a stand mixer, you should be able to complete the topping just in time. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, then add the brown sugar and mix out the lumps. Combine the flour, spices and salt in a small bowl, then add to the butter and sugar, and stir until all flour is incorporated. If you couldn’t pull it off exactly, don’t let it keep you up too late.

Pour the batter into the pan and level the top with a spatula. Drop spoonfuls of jam onto the batter, spacing evenly over the cake, and swirl them gently with a knife. Distribute the crumb over the jammed cake, and use it all; it should pile high. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, then check with a wooden pick. If any batter adheres to the pick, give it another 7 minutes and it should be done.

Cool the cake in the pan for half an hour. Cut it into 2″ squares, and seal them into a plastic container until you’ve set the stopwatch.

You should get going. Right after breakfast…

Nanner Cakes

I’ve tried dozens of recipes for pancakes from scratch, but so far nothing has bested Bisquick. This isn’t to say that one should blindly obey package directions when using a mix, and I’ve modified their recipe, creating a tool for rendering adult males immobile for two hours.

To stuff 1 male, and moderately serve the preparer:
1 C Bisquick
1/2 C milk
1 egg
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 lg banana, cut into thin slices (1/8″ or thinner)

Stir together all the ingredients except the bananas in a medium mixing bowl until the mixture is just combined, but still quite lumpy. Gently fold in the bananas, and try to separate the slices as much as possible to avoid disgustingly cool slug-like pockets. Heat 3 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium, and once the oil’s hot, spoon the batter into the oil in 3″ circles, leaving at least 1″ between the cakes. Cook for 1 minute, and you’ll see bubbles start to break on the surface. Flip them over and cook for another 1 minute, adding more oil if they start to smoke. Turn the heat down to low and cook each for another 30 seconds on each side, giving them a gentle press before the final flip, and then again before taking them out. Yes, you’ll sacrifice a little fluff, but again, cool bananas make these inedible.

If you could use an eight-hour chunk of uninterrupted “you time,” be it for a little reconnaissance, a quick jaunt to Atlantic City, or just properly disappearing a body, pair three of these breakfast bombs with some corned beef hash and scrambled eggs, and wait twenty minutes for your alibi to pass out.

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