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Oct 22, 2010 03:05 PM

"Different, but not strange" - what's on your breakfast plate?

Mr. Chef met friends this morning for brekkie out, and they ended up at a soul-food restaurant, where he ordered what they called "Eggs and Legs" - 3 eggs anystyle, served up with a braised or bbq'd turkey leg. Never heard of such a thing, but he loved it. I was wondering if anyone else has found something equally offbeat, and what was it?

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  1. The Pink Teacup in Manhattan serves fried eggs with a salmon cake (and home fries, and grits). I love this. It's different to me, but I'm sure it's run-of-the-mill for plenty of people.

    9 Replies
    1. re: small h

      Exactly the kind of thing I least, it's new to me too. I'd try it with soft-poached eggs, and crumble some bacon onto the grits, but it sounds close enough to perfect for me!

      1. re: small h

        I used to love the Pink Teacup when I lived in the Village. My other two breakfast haunts were Sandolino's and Elephant & Castle. Are they still there?

        1. re: Jay F

          Sandolino's was replaced by Perilla, I think. Elephant & Castle is still going strong, though. And the Pink Teacup went out of business and then returned - I haven't been to its new incarnation yet.

        2. re: small h

          In Alaska, I went out on a limb "once" and had Crab and Salmon Benedict.
          I said I did it once for a reason. Not a fan.
          That said, also another time in Alaska, I froze walking to Saks for breakfast and it had to have been -3856°, our eyes were freezing shut. I was so cold that when the server mentioned having California style Eggs Benedict, I jumped on it. All I remember is that beautiful avocado was on there as well as other typical California ingredients and all I thought about was warmth, it worked.

          1. re: iL Divo

            In Maine, lobster and crab "Benedict".

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              Prefer the lobster/crab, but will gladly "settle" for either

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                you may give me lobster Benedict any time and I'll only smile and say thank you very much. I ate a whole bug Bar Harbor. even the tamale. my husband was very proud, delicious

                1. re: iL Divo

                  Next time try the lobber Bennie at Chester Pike's Galley in Sullivan. Illicit.

              2. re: iL Divo

                I find the combination of runny egg yolk and seafood very appealing, ditto runny egg yolk and avocado. But I see where crab & salmon might get old in Alaska, whereas California produce would not.

            2. I like upma for breakfast. Or lunch or dinner for that matter. It's basically curried Cream o' Wheat.

              I have a bad habit of sprinkling it with soy sauce, an oddity picked up from my ex.

              22 Replies
              1. re: ZenSojourner

                Upma? Where is that from? Sounds almost like a variation in grain (do you use semolina for it?) that's not too different from jook (I know you know that's rice porridge). The soy sauce - different, but I do use it on my jook when I eat it, along with some sesame oil and chopped scallions. But Upma. I have never, never heard of Upma. I'm fascinated by this one.

                1. re: mamachef

                  Upma or uppuma is a very standard South Indian breakfast. Can be made with cream of wheat, cracked wheat/bulgur, couscous, even quinoa, just about any type of grain product.
                  You can even make it with leftover bread crusts or cubes, leftovre cubed idlis, whatever.

                  It is very tasty and nutritious (depending on what you make it with).

                  Zes Sojourner, I know you mean well, but describing it as "curried" cream of wheat is really not accurate (because the word curry is such a loose and catch all and inaccurate term). Especially on a board like this where people purport to know something about food.

                  Upma is seasoned with South Indian spices - if you used other spices (e.g. with a Northern or Eastern Indian profile) it would no longer be upma but something else.

                  A basic recipe would be: buy cream of wheat (not the instant kind), (called sooji in the Indian store).

                  Take ~ 1 cup cream of wheat, and toast it in a wok or skillet untl golden brown and fragrant. Keep aside.

                  In the same wok, add a little oil, and temper (tarka) the following spices in the following order, stir a few seconds in between each: 1/8 tsp hing, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, a few peanuts or cashew nuts, 1/2 inch ginger minced, 1 hot green chili diced (adjust amount to taste), 4-5 fresh curry leaves.

                  When the spices pop, add about 1/2 cup chopped veggies in small dice - e.g. onion, carrot, green peas, tomato, potato (a variety is nice). When the veggies are about half done, add the cream of wheat back, toast again for a minute, then add about 2 to 3 cups water. Mix well and let cook until all is donw (another 5 minutes or so).

                  If you prefer a mushier end product use more water, if you prefer drier and firmer, use less.

                  Add salt to taste. Taste, and add some lemon juice if there is not enough sour in the balance. Some people even add buttermilk or diluted yogurt here for this reason. Garnish wtih cilantro.

                  Serve hot or warm, with sides that can include plain yogurt, sliced banana, etc.

                  1. re: Rasam

                    My. Sorry but I disagree. Calling it "basically curried cream of wheat" is as good a description as any, without going into the details of the recipe. Your recipe differs from mine, which is no surprise, given the huge regional variations in recipes in India.

                    I'm sure you meant well. LOL!

                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                      You may disagree, but facts are facts.

                      On a food oriented board, where most people share respect for accuracy related to food, it just won't do to say that "curried cream of wheat is as good a description as any without going into details".

                      It may be a challenge to get the right balance of details, but the details can get distorted to the point of being plain wrong. It was easy enough to say that upma is "Cream of Wheat with Southern Indian spices" (for e.g.).

                      Would you have this overly broad approach about any other cuisine? Would you for e.g. describe any and every pasta sauce as "Ragu'ed" this or that? Maybe you would, but my point would still stand.

                      And while there are huge regional variations in Indian recipes, and there may be variations in Upma recipes, that doesn't address the main point that upma is not "curried" anything.

                      The way the word curry is thrown around to describe sauced/gravy-ied dishes, or dry dishes, or anything with any remotely Indian spices, is just pointless.

                      I meant to be polite actually. But this level of misinformation is too much. If you like a recipe the least you can do (on this type of forum) is to get your facts straight. "You are entitled to your own opinions, not your own facts".

                      1. re: Rasam

                        Would I describe something that uses pasta sauce as Ragu'ed something or other?

                        Absolutely, if "Ragu" was a term that had meaning to the person I was talking to.

                        It's not misinformation. It's just a partially tongue-in-cheek way to describe something quickly. Shortcuts are often accurate in an overarching sense while being absolutely INaccurate in a micro-sense. And frankly, on a cooking board like this where I feel I can safely assume the vast majority of people actually do know that "curry" is a vague term with little actual meaning except in the broadest sense, I am MORE likely to use a term like that, because I'm COUNTING on people being sophisticated enough to know what is meant without me having to go into the long story about how "curry doesn't really mean anything".

                      2. re: ZenSojourner

                        Tangent: I'm also guilty of calling Indian-spiced things "curry" just to avoid having to describe what it actually is, even though I know it's inaccurate... Rasam, do you have a better idea? Or do I then have to go into a recipe and go down the rabbithole of explaining what "hing" is and how there's this brown seed thing, but I don't remember what it's called in English?

                        1. re: Pia

                          hing = asafoetida, and btw, why can't I get this unadulterated anymore? I can only find it these days mixed with liberal amounts of flour.

                          And my stab at the brown seed thing might be methi or fenugreek?

                          (tongue firmly in cheek, my guess is you're not REALLY asking, LOL!)

                          BTW, Rasam, you're recipe isn't as different from mine as I thought at first. The carrots and peas threw me. We don't use those, and I missed that you ARE using potatoes and tomatoes. The rest of it's pretty similar.

                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                            Either way, it sounds gooood to me!! especially with an egg - but then, IMHO, eggs improve anything, especially correctly done (to my taste), firm whites with NO egg jello, and a lovely runny yolk.

                            1. re: mamachef

                              OW! You had me there - right up to the runny yolk, LOL!

                              See how tastes differ? I love my eggs cooked crispy brown, broken, and over hard. My dad liked 'em over easy and runny yolks. So I'd make his eggs first, and if I overcooked it or accidentally broke the yolk, that became my egg. Eventually I'd have 2 eggs for him and 2 or 3 for me. Depending on how steady my had was that morning - or wasn't. LOL!

                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                I love my fried-egg sandwich with ketchup and strawberry jam on an English muffin, and for that purpose, yes, the egg must be well-done with a broken yolk. At least for me.

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  For my dad and most of the rest of my family, too. They used to take the toast and sop up any runny-yolk leavings.

                                  I'm the oddball of the bunch for most things, it seems.

                                2. re: ZenSojourner

                                  I had the distinct privilege many years ago of being the first one to wake up after a house party in the UK. My body was screaming for sustenance, so I headed into the kitchen and fired up the Aga and proceeded to attempt to make eggs to order for a traditional "fryup." There were30 or so of us there, so it was kind of a tall order. My hand was not remotely steady that morning, but for some reason a sort of synergy happened and despite the handicap, they all turned out perfectly. Never happened before or since, not that I'm in the habit of doing eggs to order for 30 - but I'm betting if I tried it today, things just wouldn't work out that well. 20-year-olds recover from that sort of thing so much faster, don't they? I'd probably offer the option of scrambled eggs, which I know is a bastard version, but hey, they're eggs, right? Eat 'em and be happy!

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    Brava to you for not caving to scrambled eggs that day. I don't know why I feel that way, I wasn't there! Guess I'm not a big fan of scram eggs at all, so I wanted to give you a thumbs up for taking the high road, even if you'd never do it again.

                              2. re: ZenSojourner

                                I found asafoetida powder in an Indian grocery where I live. (Brookline, MA)

                                1. re: CookieLee

                                  If it's an ounce or two (50g or 100g) it's the "compounded" asafoetida.

                                  If it's a little tiny tin, containing only 5 or 10 g, then it's most likely the pure stuff.

                                  I got used to cooking with the pure stuff, and just a pinch, literally, is all you want. The odor is intense and the flavor is sharp and bitter if you're not careful and you overdo it. But I don't have a feel for the "compounded" stuff. I'm not sure how much is the real spice and how much is the filler (mostly rice flour).

                                  But I've not seen the pure stuff for oh, I think something over 20 years. Not here in the US at any rate.

                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                    The ingredients list says "wheat starch". When I do use it, following recipes in an Indian cookbook, I do use v. little as directed. Having no experience with pure asafoetida, I will say that this seems to work fine. There is a depth of flavor I've not experienced before. And, the stuff does stink to high heaven! I now have the container double bagged in plastic, but only after I opened the cabinet and had my nose practically burned out from the odor!

                                    1. re: CookieLee

                                      Yeah, it's pretty awful, isn't it? One of those things you wonder how anybody ever though it would be a good thing to eat.

                                      And yet you don't want to leave it out.

                                    2. re: ZenSojourner

                                      I just know that asafoetida is the only thing I've ever had irreparably ruin my Nalgene water bottles. I used to store my empty Nalgene bottles in a cupboard near a bin of spices. I'm sure what I had was the cut stuff. I can ONLY image that you're not exaggerating about the pure stuff!

                                      1. re: Vetter

                                        Oh wow, yeah it would thoroughly stink up anything plastic near it! I don't store mine in the cupboard at all. I bag it in a ziploc freezer bag (extra thick plastic) and keep it out on my spice lazy Suzan with only stuff in glass or metal containers near it. There's still a little bit of an odor, but out in the open it doesn't get the chance to build up.

                                  2. re: ZenSojourner

                                    Pia and ZenS:

                                    I am sure that a group of well educated and food aware people (like those here) will find it feasible to come up with an accurate descriptor of Indian dishes that doesn't have to go into myriad detail of individual spices and yet not be so vague as to be pointless.

                                    I had already given one example: you could call upma "savory cream of wheat with South Indian spices". You could perhaps come up with a better / more succinct / whatever descriptor that would make sense to your audience, and yet not totally mislead them.
                                    If the people you are talking to ask for details of the spices, you could go into less or more detail: e.g. "what spices are those", "oh, things like mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger and green chilies and a couple of other things". Basically, where there is a will there is a way.

                                    Also, I stand firm that it is not too much to expect on a foodie board, that people won't use a totally nonsense term like "curried" whatever - since it *is* misleading and just too vague (meaning totally different things to different people).
                                    On a general board where you may be talking with people who have likely never seen fresh ginger in their lives, you could have more excuse for saying whatever.
                                    But on a board where people have a high degree of sophistication about almost all kinds of food ways, ranging from micro regional Italian cuisine to all kinds of cheeses and wines and sausage, it is too cavalier and disingenuous to say "oh it's tongue in cheek" or whatever. The same basic respect that is taken for granted with regard to European (for e.g.) food should be accorded to Indian and other cuisines too.

                                    HIng is the resin of a plant that grows widely in Afghanistan (and nearby regions). I don't know why they are not grown elsewhere, or if anyone has tried or not since 1.2 billion Indians are clamoring for more hing. I have heard that because these regions are war torn nowadays, hing supplies are down. So the powdered hing products are getting more and more "cut" with flour etc. I've had to adjust all my recipes that used to call for 1/8 tsp of hing to use 1/2 tsp of hing!

                                    And yes, I know my upma recipe is accurate - I've grown up eating it, and make it regularly for my family. :)
                                    I've also lived in many different regions of India and learnt a few things about regional variations ...

                                    1. re: Rasam

                                      I would argue that 'curried' has a specific meaning also, but only for particular anglicized things like curried eggs, or something like kedgeree - any of those Victorian creations. They either don't have a traditional Indian background at all, or are so bastardized as to be unrecognisable from the original.

                                      Maybe that's just a British association with the word.

                            2. re: mamachef

                              Yup, semolina. Regular old breakfast Cream o' Wheat is fine. Not the instant type, as Rasam mentioned.

                              Soy sauce is definitely not "authentic" but it's a bad habit I picked up from my ex, who's from Andhra.

                          2. I deeply love fried fish with eggs. The Cracker Barrel chain has fried catfish on the breakfast menu with eggs under "Cousin Hershel's Favorite" (I think), and it's really good. Another great fish & eggs choice is at Square One Dining in Hollywood, where they have a dish of house-cured salmon on these fried bird's-nest potato cakes, topped with freshly poached eggs and hollandaise. You can get it with grits or a green salad. I was forced to get the latter because they were out of grits, and fell madly in love with the combo. I would urge anyone to try it.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Will Owen

                              Is Square One dining still there, Will Owen? I must needs try that on my next trip to the Southland.....I have an idea about the crispy potato nests, but I would need to get a visual and taste it before attempting at home....

                              1. re: mamachef

                                Square One appears to be quite durable, being very busy all day most days. It is on Fountain, behind the Scientology Android Central (my term, not theirs) which fronts Sunset. You may see black-and-white clad "celebrities" chain-smoking in large groups behind their building any time you come by. There is usually ample parking along there.

                                Those nests are a matter of great interest to me: "nests" is the closest I can get to what they look like, being a loosely but solidly woven assemblage of crisply-fried shreds, kinda like a fried-potato Brillo pad. I am determined to discover their secret. They are delicious.

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  If I am recalling this correctly - or even halfway correctly - I saw something similar and have never tried it. It called for long shreds of potato, drained and then mixed w/ a touch of potato starch. The potatoes were patted into a strainer (fairly small) and then topped off with another, smaller strainer that kept them in shape for the fairly brief deep-fry. I can't remember for the life of me where I saw it, but I recall that in this particular incarnation it was served with a chicken potpie-type filling.

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    almost sounds like an Irish boxty...yum!

                              2. re: Will Owen

                                I also get a hankering for fried fish in the morning -- though my preference is for something smoked or cured like kippers, typically with garlic fried rice instead of toast and eggs over hard.

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  I used to work "A.M" drive in radio. At 9 A.M. the cafeteria would get a sushi delivery and my co-worker (now husband) would go down and get some California rolls for us. Technically it was lunchtime for us since we were already work for 4 hours

                              3. i once heard someone wax poetic about a "Spam breakfast bagel" - Spam egg and cheese on a bagel...i guess it's a Spam-lover's take on a ham & egg breakfast sandwich. not something i would ever want to eat personally, but i understand the concept.

                                14 Replies
                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  I love this phrase, "but I understand the concept." I feel that way about a lot of things: I get the concept of cleaning my oven pans on a regular basis - just not as it applies to me personally. So I buy new ones. : )
                                  Spam brekkie bagel - Jewish/Hawaiian breakfast food. I'm not a spam-person by a long shot, but the one time I tasted it, during an emergency rations dinner during a storm, it was pretty darn tasty. Dear friend made a hash out of cubed spam, steamed potatoes and sweet potatoes, onions and some shaved fennel. It worked, ya know? It shouldn't have, there was no reason or rhyme, but it worked.

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    << It worked, ya know? It shouldn't have, there was no reason or rhyme, but it worked. >>

                                    I swear that should be spam's new motto ;-)

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      well, Spam certainly wasn't on the shelf in our Jewish home when i was a kid, and as an adult, i've never had even the slightest desire to try it :) oh, and as for my comment about understanding the concept, i feel the same way about my former home - NYC. i get why some people love it, but i'd never want to live there again!

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Oh, I meant the bagel part, not the spam part.

                                      2. re: mamachef

                                        i always enjoy the look on my friends' faces when i tell them that i love spam, and i tell them that i'm pretty sure it's an asian thing, and i know for sure in hawaii it's really popular. it's funny, i remember once i packed spam sandwich for school, thinking nothing of it, and when i told my 2nd grade teacher what it was, she had a thinly veiled look of confused and disgust.
                                        i grew up with my mom always putting spam in korean stews and it was just something i got used to. i'm trying to condition my boyfriend to get used to it but i'm pretty sure he'll just pick around it.
                                        on a side note, it's more expensive than i thought it was!

                                        1. re: currentlycraving

                                          I'll have the egg, spam, sausage, spam, spam, bacon, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, spam, spam, tomato and spam, please.

                                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                                            I'm picking up the vibe that GraydonCarter likes his spam, spam, spam, spam. ;-)

                                            1. re: mamachef

                                              And the chorus in the background sings, "Lovely spam, wonderful spaaam!"

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                ...or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.

                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                  With the left overs from Sat. night lobster feeds, I do make a mean lobster, feta and fresh mint omelet.

                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                    Sadly, I don't get enough lobster to share it with other ingredients, so I'll have one of your omelets, hold the eggs, mint, and feta, please. ;-)

                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                      Lobster, garden asparagus, and fresh grated parm omelet?

                                            2. re: currentlycraving

                                              My first introduction to spam was a Japanese friend at school in NZ sharing her sandwiches with me. I thought it was delicious, but then I was an enforced vegetarian. My parents were vegetarian and insisted I be, at 13. I ate meat at any given opportunity when I didn't think they'd find out. Almost any meat was therefore immediately wonderful, including things like luncheon meat and bacon and egg pies that I'd probably think were awful now. I've not tried spam since, so I'm not sure what I'd think of it!

                                        2. my grandpa used to like cold fried fish on challah for breakfast - it was his saturday morning favourite.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: smartie

                                            Oh, you just brought up a memory for me, Grandpa Harry used to go to temple in the morning for minyan, pre-breakfast, and afterwards all the oldsters would gather for some creamed pickled herring and a shot or two of schnapps.......that one might just take the cake for the alltime strange breakfast. I can still smell it.

                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                mamachef, not to get too OT here, but speaking of herring, have you ever had the chopped herring salad from Barney Greengrass? how's this for strange - they featured it on Best Thing I Ever Ate on FN last week, and it turns out they put *applesauce* in it!

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  I have eaten that herring salad, and I loooooved that salad. There WAS an undefinable sweetness to it, and a freshness. It was freaking delicious. Applesauce? APPLESAUCE? Seriously? I wonder how they eliminate any grainy factor? That is some good stuff. Grampa Harry would've loved it for his morning nosh. With the Slivo.

                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                    they actually add sugar to it as well, so it would still be sweet without the applesauce. but i had the same reaction - i couldn't believe it :) as far as the texture, i'm pretty sure he said they make the applesauce in-house, so perhaps they just blend it really well. anyway, i thought you'd get a kick out of that.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      I have an old recipe for chopped herring that I used to make for my father - everything went through the old-fashioned grinder that you turn by hand (pre food processor days). It contains herring fillets, onions, a few pieces of bread, vinegar,
                                                      hard-cooked eggs, sugar, chopped apple, and oil. It's from a Jennie Grossinger book from the 50's.

                                                      1. re: critter101

                                                        Grossinger, like as in Grossingers? We went there once or twice, ok, every Summer, for the longest time....

                                                            1. re: critter101

                                                              I remember her from tv, and I very much miss the rye bread that was licensed under her brand. It was nice and dense and sour and chewy. I've still not been able to find anything widely available to replace it.

                                                          1. re: critter101

                                                            as I hide behind a couch, I'm thinking that actually sounds good.........