Last month, I had the great pleasure to conduct a cooking demo at a resort called Villa La Estancia just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in Nuevo Vallarta. On the breakfast menu that morning: Pumpkin Waffle Maker French Toast, Spicy Pecan-Encrusted Bacon and a healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. In this post, I’ll show you the seasonal dishes I made and share a little about my trip to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
I started the demo with my Pumpkin French Toast. You can get the recipe here. Since we were just coming off of Halloween and it was the official start of the holiday cooking season, it felt appropriate to share this fantastic dish.
I was excited to show the guests, staff and a handful of reporters that you can take almost any French toast recipe and cook it in a waffle iron. This is one of my favorite breakfast tricks.
We needed something to go on the side of the French toast so I opted to demonstrate Sweet & Spicy Pecan Bacon. You can get the recipe here. It’s very easy to do. The amazing chef at Villa La Estancia, Sergio, liked it so much he’s considering adding it to their permanent breakfast menu.
A couple Thanksgivings ago, I introduced you to the Pancake Turkey. This year, I’d like you to meet Pancake Turkey II, a variation on the concept of pancake turkeys. I’ll also introduce you to a special, new Thanksgiving friend… the Fruit Turkey.
This post marks the first time I’m using Vine – the hip social platform where you share 6 second looping videos. As it happens, that just enough time to make breakfast turkeys come to life.
This (above) is the first pancake turkey I ever made. For this gobbler, you need a pancake mix (or homemade pancake batter), a banana, candy corn, a chocolate chip or a raisin and a maraschino cherry or a small dollop of red jam. You can get complete instructions right here.
Here’s a few frighteningly fun and fascinatingly freaky ideas to turn your October morning meals into Halloween Breakfast Extravaganzas. From kid-friendly fare as easy as making faces with fruit to more intricate recipes for pumpkin quick breads and baked goods, you’re sure to find something here to make your breakfast spooky, kookie and delicious.
#1. Pumpkin Pancakes, Waffles And French Toast
Add some pumpkin puree and a few pinches of pumpkin pie spice to regular breakfast batters and you’re in for a Halloween treat (this is not a trick). Here’s some recipes to try:
Pumpkin French Toast
#2. Make Your Breakfast Look So Scary, It’s Adorable
There’s a ton of ways you can make your morning meal more monstrous. A couple chocolate chips in misshapen pancakes make great ghosts. Banana eyes and teeth made from apples can make your oatmeal a real scream. Carve a grapefruit into a Jack O’ Lantern and fill it with fruit… it’s bewitchingly cute. Here’s a few ideas you might want to try:
Jack O’ Lantern Fruit Cups
Breakfast Sausage Mummies
#3. Scare Away Doctors And Disease By Eating Healthy Pumpkin Hot Cereals
Did you know there’s over 40 studies that indicate eating oatmeal can help reduce your risk of heat disease. Oatmeal may also reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. It’s as if hot cereals are saying, “I vant to suck your blood… pressure down to healthy levels.” Here’s some healthy hot cereals with the added benefit of tasty pumpkin:
Pumpkin Pecan Oatmeal
Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Polenta
Brown Rice & Pumpkin Porridge
We knew it was a hard-sell entering the big pie contest with an entry called “Fig Jam & Spam Breakfast Pie.”
The use of Spam was not a quirky, retro decision. I’d made several test pies using bacon, ham and even chorizo as the meat in the filling. But in every instance, the meat inside was overshadowed by our distinctive spicy, candied bacon crumble topping.
Test Pies: Preparing For The Big Day
We’d gone camping the previous weekend and had campfire sandwiches made from the portable meat, so I happened to have an extra can of Spam on hand. I gave it a shot in a test pie. It worked. It provided a flavor that contrasted but still paired with the bacon topping. It not only worked, but it provided an umami element… a taste you remembered growing up but had almost locked away forever.
For our official entry in the savory category, we made a flaky herbed crust and lined the bottom with onions caramelized with a gorgeous homemade fig jam. We mixed our quiche base with a combination of Gruyère and Cheddar cheese, to which we added the Spam and seasonings. Once almost fully baked, we topped the pie with crumbled bacon that had been rubbed with brown sugar, smoked paprika and crushed cumin seeds.
The Pie Contest Begins
As instructed, we made one pie for the judges and one for mass consumption.
It was a real blast serving the pie to the public. As people read the name of our entry, we were greeted with either huge smiles or looks of complete dismay. Fig Jam and Spam. It was a risk.
A can of soup has been a secret ingredient for home cooks since cans of soup were invented. I suspect that it’s a secret of a few sly professionals as well. Just a couple of Tablespoons of a cream of soup concentrate can dramatically change the flavor of scrambles, omelets and frittatas… almost always for the better.
This recipe was part of a vintage 1958 magazine ad for Campbell’s Soups called “Souper Special Budget Beaters.” (To see the full ad, click here.) Above, you can see the dish as it appeared in the classic ad. Below, you can see my revamped recreation.
I adjusted the recipe to make 2 servings. My ingredients were 3 eggs, 2 Tablespoon butter, about 1/3 can cream of mushroom soup, a small handful of cheese and some parsley. Not part of the original recipe, I also added 3 sliced button mushroom and some finely chopped chives.
The trick to working with soup is stirring it by itself first. They make mention of that in the original recipe. If you don’t stir it until smooth, you get lumps of soup in the egg mixture. Those lumps will cook down in the frying pan, but why mess with it. A quick initial stir of the soup just helps everything distribute more evenly.
Happy Independence Day! Today’s ideas are all about adding some red, white and blue flare to your morning meal. If you have some berries and bananas, you have the power to transform an ordinary breakfast into an All-American Fourth of July Spectacular Breakfast. Add some whipped cream or yogurt and the patriotic possibilities are endless.
The easiest (and maybe most fun) thing you can do is arrange berries to make an American flag pattern on waffles, pancakes or French toast.
Here, you can see combinations of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, banana slices and whipped cream. Those are Apple Cinnamon Waffles in the pictures. The warm apple pieces in the waffles tasted amazing with the fresh berries on top. For standard waffles, I’d recommend the following recipes: Best Waffles Ever (quick waffles without yeast) or Overnight Waffle Batter (yeast waffles from a batter that needs to rest at least 7 hours).
In a matter of seconds, you can turn ordinary toast into USA-mazing toast. A spread of cream cheese gives you a white canvas to work with. Strawberry jam is used to make the red stripes of the flag which are offset by banana pieces to make the white stripes. I especially love this idea because it’s so kid-friendly. Wee ones will have a blast making a flag out of a piece of toast. You don’t really need a recipe for this, but here’s one anyway: American Flag Fruit Toast.
Eggs and bacon sandwiched between a sliced glazed donut… crazy or genius? I can report that it’s insanely easy and it tastes amazing. Therefore, I’m leaning toward genius. This recipe is a recreation of the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich that was recently introduced by Dunkin’ Donuts. Above, you can see my version. Below, you can see the Dunkin’ Donuts version as it appeared in their press materials. Believe it or not, their donut sandwich has only 360 calories. Mine has a little more bacon. I hesitate to recommend either version for your weight loss program.
The donut breakfast sandwich concept isn’t new. A few smaller donut outlets were doing them well before Dunkin’ Donuts put them in the news. Buddha Belly Donuts in Sarasota, Florida offered a version with sausage. Unfortunately, that shop is now closed. The Bleeding Heart Bakery in Chicago offered the Make-Your-Own Doughnut Breakfast Sandwich where you could choose any or all of the following ingredients to accompany the fried egg: bacon, ham, sausage, fried green tomatoes and Cheddar or Swiss cheese. Strangely enough, that shop also closed recently. Beware Dunkin’ Donuts! There seems to be a trend.
I decided to try something quite controversial… I recreated Dunkin’ Donuts Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich using glazed donuts from Krispy Kreme. Let’s face it, a Dunkin’ Donuts glazed donut is good, but Krispy Kreme is the current non-disputed champion for exceptional glazed donuts.
How To Make A Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich
Step One: Acquire a glazed donut and carefully slice it with a serrated blade, trying not to dimple the beautiful sugar sheen of the glaze.
Taco Bell recently started testing a new breakfast product in 3 select outlets in California… The Waffle Taco. I haven’t been able to try their version myself, but I’ve been fascinated by the product ever since I saw a photo circulating around the internet. Unable to get my hands on the real deal, I decided to try making it at home.
Above, you can see the version I made. Below, you can see Taco Bell’s version.
My advice on making homemade Waffle Tacos is this… don’t do it. It’s a huge pain in the butt. For home use, the Pancake Taco is much easier to make and just as tasty.
It sounds extraordinary easy: Make a waffle, fry some sausage, scramble some eggs and throw it all together. Not so fast.