Epicerie Boulud Croissant

When I was writing the supermarket all-butter croissants post, I came across a listing of New York City’s best French bakeries, which put quite a few of them on my radar. One was Epicerie Boulud, whose Plaza Food Hall location I’d been to. I’d never had an Epicerie Boulud croissant, however, and as I’ve been on a perpetual quest for good croissants since my last trip Paris, I was intrigued. Apparently their croissants are excellent, the “light and buttery” kind. So I went.

Unfortunately, they had an abundance of almond croissants, pain au chocolats and other fancy croissants, but didn’t have a plain one I’m on the lookout for. Slightly deflated, I got a raspberry ganache croissant, which is this stunning beauty:

Epicerie Boulud croissant

I love the originality of these red stripes! (It’s possible they got the idea from someone, but this is the first time I encountered this neat, very French-contemporary trick.)

Moving on to the mouth sensations, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. The crust was a little on the boring side, not as buttery or flaky as I expected. Admittedly, letting it sit for half a day and reheating it in the toaster probably wasn’t fair, but I’ve had croissants that were juuuuust fine after sitting on the counter overnight, even without the resuscitating session in the toaster. (Why yes, in Paris, my dear.) At $4.50 a piece, I’d expected this specimen to beat that mark.

The ganache should have been centered a bit better, too. I didn’t hit the severely off-centered filling until my third-to-last bite, which had me wondering throughout whether the raspberry ganache referred to the red-tinted layer of the dough and nothing else. And… when I finally found the treasure, it erupted:
magma erupting from Epicerie Boulud croissant

The ganache was a delicious combination of raspberry tartness and chocolate richness, but it was quite a mess. They definitely didn’t skimp on the ganache, either. My thumb smelled chocolatey all morning–which, I suppose, was a plus.

All in all, this raspberry ganache croissant wasn’t worth the hefty price tag, but I’m still willing to try their plain croissant if I ever come across it.

Breakfast this morning:

  • Epicerie Boulud croissant (raspberry ganache)
  • Strawberry yogurt

Lodge Skillet Egg Breakfast

I used to use this little 6.5-inch Lodge skillet to cook breakfast eggs for the two of us, every single day. Then I moved on to almost exclusively using IKEA’s much bigger Senior pan, which I call Fauxcreuset (because, well, it looks and probably behaves like an affordable cousin of Le Creuset signature skillet). The Fauxcreuset generally works better–because it’s so ginormous, adding cold eggs doesn’t cool the pan at all, and the eggs cook up beautifully in 2 minutes tops. The Lodge skillet would often dry out the eggs because of the time it took for the pan to reheat itself and cook the eggs through. That’s not a problem at all in the Fauxcreuset; eggs stay moist. So, Lodge skillet egg breakfast!

lodge-skillet-breakfast

The Lodge skillet cooling down too much when eggs are added is not a problem when I’m cooking only for myself, with just a bunch of spinach, sesame seeds and one egg. So I pulled it out and made Lodge skillet egg this morning. And served it right in the skillet, which kept the meal hot till the end, and meant one fewer dishes to wash. Awesome. I missed you, lil’ Lodge! (This thing is so cute.)

Breakfast today:

  • Spinach-sesame scrambled eggs
  • Oat toast with blueberry jam
  • Rapsberries

Breakfast Entertainment

I was going to post incoherent breakfast II, featuring Korean jeon and cinnamon raisin bagels, but decided that the breakfast entertainment I had this morning would serve the world far better:

copulating squirrels

Copulating squirrels right outside of my window. Spasmodic orgasm and hiccups and all. Seriously. New York City is WILD, man.

Incoherent Breakfast: Korean Jeon & Peanut Butter Toast

Hubby left before the crack of dawn to catch a red eye flight, which means breakfast was just for myself, which means I might not have been as motivated to make a coherent breakfast. So there goes: incoherent breakfast!

incoherent breakfast

Japanese people (of which I am one) are masters of mix-and-match meals where world’s culinary traditions mingle happily (or unhappily) on the same table. A meal of chicken schnitzel accompanied by a bowl of rice, miso soup, Chinese-style quick cucumber pickles and maybe a cobb salad, for instance, wouldn’t be too outside the norm at Japanese family tables. That’s my justification for this low-effort breakfast.

Breakfast this morning:

  • Korean pancakes (garlic chives and fake crab meat)
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • Raspberries

A bowl of rice instead of the toast might have made it a bit more coherent. The good news: That’s what I’m having for lunch. The bad news: That’s what I’m having for lunch.

Honey Lemon Kale Salad Breakfast

Another leftover galore: a kale salad breakfast with honey lemon dressing (wow, yummy!).

Honey lemon kale salad breakfast

I made the kale salad last night for dinner. The cast of characters includes salt-wilted kale, shredded carrots, toasted almond slices and dried cherries, dressed with juice and zest from half a lemon, olive oil, a drizzle of honey, salt and pepper. Lemon zest and honey gave it a floral bouquet; the toasted almonds provided the crunch and nutty substance.

Breakfast today:

Whoa, that’s practically a 5-course meal. I feel like a royalty!

Sunflower Rye from Bien Cuit and a Long Drive to Get It

I dislike Mondays as much as anyone with a Monday-to-Friday job, but summer Mondays do come with a plus: Feasting on the weekend bounty. Over the weekend, I was wandering along Metro North’s Hudson line,  um, kind of curious what the towns are like up there. I made a U-turn on the 9 when I saw a sign for a farmers’ market at Hastings-on-Hudson, checked out the market held next to a hilltop library with an amazing view of the Hudson, and picked up half a loaf of sunflower rye from Bien Cuit.

Sunflower rye from Bien Cuit

A nice thick slice from the sunflower rye from Bien Cuit became breakfast this morning, along with a handful of strawberries from the same market (a quart of which, notably, was $1 cheaper than the typical Manhattan specimen). The bread, even after sitting out in a hot car for half a day (I feel bad, but couldn’t help it!) and sitting in the iffy motel room overnight, another day in the car, then an overnight stint in the freezer, the crumb was still densely moist and had a surprising fruity note. Sunflower seeds are visible, but I didn’t feel them much texture-wise, between the chewy crumb and crunchy crust. It’s a beautiful bread to behold, though!

The funny part: Bien Cuit’s tent at the market was completely nondescript with no markings other than a bread cookbook laid open on one of the plastic tables. I couldn’t figure out who the vendor was, figured it was someone local, and picked up the sunflower rye purely on the basis of its delicious looks. Looking up the vendor list for the market after I came home last night, I realized that I drove all the way to Hastings-on-Hudson and chose a bread from a Brooklyn bakery. Duh. (That somewhat explains the steep $7.5 I paid for half the loaf, too.)

Breakfast this morning:

  • Sunflower rye from Bien Cuit
  • Scrambled eggs with bacon & red pepper
  • Farmers’ market strawberries

Maille Sauternes Wine Mustard on Bacon Egg Toast

A quick breakfast of bacon egg toast before heading out to grab a rental car to explore the little Hudson Valley towns: A sunny-side-up with a bacon and chopped scallions at the bottom, plopped on a piece of oat toast. Toast is smeared with a dollop of sauternes wine mustard from Maille’s store on Upper West Side–which is expensive, but terrific in a very Frenchy way.

bacon egg toast with Maille sauternes wine mustard This sauternes wine mustard stuff is most certainly not “clean,” and the ingredient list includes some surprises like coconut flavoring and golden raisins, but they pulled it off well: The mustard’s spicy kick is accompanied by a serious fruity sweetness of the desert wine, and because it’s wine-based rather than vinegar-based, the vinegar tang is well under control. Rigorous scientific research* has demonstrated time and again that French people like adding flavors and handle them well in food and non-food items alike (think: cosmetics, macaroons, teas and lavender sprigs in linen closets) and I think Maille’s sauternes wine mustard is a fine example of this French approach to life.

*Conducted while tongues firmly in cheek.

It’s expensive, even considering that you get something like $11 off the next time you refill your little Maille-branded ceramic mustard jar (which… I have to admit, gave me starry eyes), but it’s good stuff that you don’t need a ton of to elevate your everyday dish a few notches without a lot of effort, just like good olive oil and good vinegars. We’ve had the sauternes wine mustard with faintly sweet oat crackers topped with some Gouda, and used it in a simple salad dressing. Both were quite good, and I’m hatching a few other ways to play with the flavors, which is always fun.

Breakfast today:

  • Bacon egg toast with scallions and the said mustard
  • Raspberries & yellow nectarines

Indian Leftover Breakfast

I had a delicious butternut squash kofta at Yaar the other day, and as is often the case, the leftover made its way into breakfast. Indian leftover breakfast is something I do often when I have leftover curry that’s not quite enough to make a full lunch. I’d make a simple egg dish (scrambled, baked, sunny-side-up, whatever) and pour the Indian stuff over the eggs, or mix the curry right into the beaten eggs to make scrambled eggs.
Indian leftover breakfast

Today, I just poured the almond-cashew-yogurt gravy over some scrambled eggs. (Excuse the, uh, evocative photo there.) Refreshing touches like cilantro and quick-pickled onion on top might have been nice.

Breakfast this morning:

  • Butternut squash kofta & scrambled eggs with red pepper
  • Oat toast
  • Raspberries & nectarines

By the way, Yaar is fantastic. I love that their menu takes courageous steps away from the usual suspects of Indian restaurant staples like butter chicken and saag paneer (which they do quite well, too, I must note). Beside the butternut squash kofta, they have dishes like Parsi shrimp curry, roasted cauliflowers with garlic sauce and fig cutlets that I don’t think I’ve ever seen at any other Indian places. Go Yaar!

Garlicky Tomato Sauce Scrambled Eggs

Duck social convention. It’s a regular work day, but I made and ate super-garlicky tomato sauce scrambled eggs for breakfast, and it was GOOD.
garlicky tomato sauce scrambled eggs

Garlicky tomato sauce was (predictably) a leftover from a recent dinner (when it dressed giant rigatoni that took forever to cook). It was just a quick sauce made with canned tomatoes, lots of celery, red bell pepper, Sicilian sausages from Agata & Valentina, mushrooms and 5 cloves of garlic, but it turned out awesome. I love celery and garlic, and again they did a fine job.

One thing I learned from my previously-non-cooking husband (who’s started kicking some ass after he got his training in home chefdom, i.e., Blue Apron) is to always use more garlic than you think the dish needs. He always ups the garlic in Blue Apron dishes, sometimes tripling or quadrupling the recipe amount, and it always works. (Well, almost always. There was one tongue-numbingly spicy pesto he made; he tripled the garlic before he realized that the sauce wouldn’t get cooked, and the garlic wouldn’t lose any of its kick before it hit our mouths.) More garlic has to be one of the secrets of restaurant meals, along with the butter and shallots.

Breakfast today:

  • Garlicky tomato sauce scrambled eggs, with pepper Jack cheese
  • Cinnamon raisin brioche toast
  • Strawberries & yellow peaches

(Kinda) Korean Eggs

Yesterday, before I headed to class, I bought a Korean appetizer set (and a cod roe onigiri–Japanese rice ball) as a quick in-class dinner. I ended up not eating one of the appetizers (the set had three): shredded daikon salad that was way, way, way too salty. (Did I say salty?) That became fodder for breakfast of (kinda, sorta) Korean eggs this morning; a familiar pattern around here.
kinda Korean eggs with daikon, scallion & dried shrimp

Taking the cue from the Korean-style daikon, I used sesame oil instead of the usual butter. Then I toasted some dried shrimps in the hot oil, added scallion and daikon, then beaten eggs. The daikon salad was so salty the dish didn’t need any further seasoning, but I splashed just a bit of dashi-shoyu from Wakaki in Kitakata (soy sauce with some sugar and bonito stock already mixed in–handy!) for the aroma.

Breakfast today:

  • Korean eggs with daikon, scallion and dried shrimp
  • 1/2 all-butter croissants (which was somehow better than yesterday’s specimen)
  • 1/2 peanut butter toast
  • Strawberries & yellow peach

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