Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Keith and I have both been GO-GO-GO for the last week, since we put off our holiday prep until the last minute, and now we're playing catch-up. One thing we have noticed is a tendency to get pretty tired if we don't eat balanced meals. This sounds like a no-brainer, but when you're baking and sampling and tasting stuff all day, you forget to eat real food and it all wreaks havoc on your blood sugar. So we've been trying to start each day off right with a balanced breakfast.

This breakfast is another of my favorites; I have it a lot when I'm home alone, though Keith likes it too. It feels like a fully-balanced meal, which it is, but it's simple to make and fits soothingly into a single bowl. It goes very nicely with coffee, and keeps me happy until lunchtime so I don't get any snack attacks. I call it the Breakfast of Champions because it really does make me feel all energized and healthy, and then I go on to a productive morning whenever I have it!

I'm not entirely sure, but I think I was inspired to come up with this recipe once when I was craving the cheese grits of my homeland; polenta, the yellow-corn version of hominy grits, is easier to come by in these parts, and it makes this recipe taste so gloriously Italian. If you don't see polenta or grits (NOT INSTANT! NEVER INSTANT!) in the store, then the coarsest cornmeal you can find will do.

And don't be put off by the directions - it looks like a lot of steps, but it comes together in the time it takes your partner to have a leisurely shower.

Serves 2

2 cups water or broth
½ cup polenta/grits/coarse-ground cornmeal
¼ cup crumbled bleu cheese or parmesan
½ Tbsp butter
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped kale or spinach
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp water
¼ cup spaghetti/pizza sauce
2 eggs
¼ cup pine nuts

Pour 2 cups water or broth into a medium-size pot and bring to a gentle boil. Once it simmers, whisk the polenta in with a fork. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring once or twice as it cooks. If it finishes before you're done with the rest of it all,

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet, and add the kale or spinach. Saute 1-2 minutes, then add the balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbsp water. Continue to cook until the greens are bright and wilted (this will just be a few seconds for spinach, but it'll be another minute or two for kale). Add the spaghetti sauce and continue to cook until heated through.

Transfer the kale mixture to a plate and rinse out the skillet, or get another skillet. Cook the eggs however you like them - I like mine scrambled, Keith likes his fried, and sometime I want to try this with a poached egg because I think that sauce effect would be nice in this dish. Set aside.

Stir the cheese, butter, and salt into the polenta until melted throughout. Divide evenly into bowls, then top each serving with an egg and half the kale-sauce mixture. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve immediately with hot coffee or tea.

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