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The Magic of Breakfast for Dinner

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes by Flickr user Free Range Jace
I have yet to adjust to the working woman's calendar year, even though I've been out of school for seven years. I find myself thinking "it feels like summer," and a small voice in the back of my mind asks, "summer... break?" But my alarm keeps going off at 6:30 am, no break in sight and it kind of bums me out.

One thing that never bums me out: breakfast. My brother and I took a sibling trip to Austin, TX last fall and, as we planned, my brother asked if we could aim for 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner each day. It was music to my ears; I'm not sure I've ever loved that guy more.

But why stop there? Why not three breakfasts - Breakfast for breakfast, breakfast for lunch - which is basically just breakfast - and then the grail: Breakfast for dinner.

Once upon a time, my brother, cousins and I used to go over to my grandparent's house for pancake dinners. My grandfather made us eggs sunny-side up--a rare treat for daughters of egg-hating mothers--while my Grandmother flipped perfectly uniform silver dollar pancakes. I remember watching a golden yolk overtake syrupy pancakes on the plate before me and thinking, "if this is dinner, anything can happen."

That's the same feeling I used to get during summer break. My days were mine to fill with coloring, reading, swimming, pestering my little brother, whatever I wanted! I could go to a movie in the middle of the day. Anything could happen.

In this adult life I'm apparently living, I may not get a summer break, and those anything-can-happen moments may be further and farther between. But I can still have breakfast for dinner and that ain't bad.

Anything Can Happen Dinner

Scrambled eggs with leeks and shallots

Sauté a handful of leeks sliced crossways and diced shallots in butter or olive oil until limp and transparent. Meanwhile, lightly beat as many eggs as you would like with a little bit of milk or cream. Once the leeks and shallots are limp, turn the heat to med-low and pour the egg mixture into the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow to it set for a moment, then stir. Repeat until just before the eggs are totally cooked and pull them from the burner. The residual heat will keep cooking them while you plate your breakfast (for dinner!) and you won't end up with a dry, gross mess. I like to top with a little grated Parmesan.

Roasted bacon

If you want delicious bacon, but don't want your small apartment with poor air circulation to smell like bacon for all eternity, try roasting it in the oven. Line a rimmed sheet tray with parchment paper and lay out strips of bacon. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. It might be wise to pull it out of the oven after about 10 minutes and pour off some of the drippings (Carefully, so you don't burn your hands off.); I think this encourages crisping. Drain on some paper towels when bacon is cooked to your liking and try to keep from eating every single piece. Unless you are alone and then you are free to eat an entire pound while standing over the sink.

Crispy potatoes

I cannot take credit for this recipe. But Mark Bittman can, specifically, Mark Bittman's cookbook "The Minimalist Cooks Dinner"

4 lbs of potatoes, peeled and cubed (he suggests "waxy red or white potatoes" I like to use small, white ones)
½ C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I know that sounds like a lot. It is.)
2 t. minced garlic
salt and pepper

Add potatoes to a pot of salted water, bring to a boil and simmer uncovered until nearly tender. 10-15 minutes. Drain well.

Heat the almost disturbingly large amount olive oil in a large pan for a few minutes.

Carefully add the potatoes to the pan. Any water left on the potatoes is going to cause oil to spit back at you. I usually boil the potatoes first thing and drain while I work on the rest of the meal; a long draining time improves the odds that you won't get mauled by hot oil droplets. Cook the potatoes, tossing and stirring from time to time, until nearly browned on all sides. 10-20 minutes.

Add garlic and cook 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

The photo associated with this post was taken by Flickr user free range jace. It was used under Creative Commons license.

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