Bonus Food Pic: The Parker’s Special From Parker’s Maple Barn

parker's breakfast Last weekend we took a trip to New Hampshire to visit my wife’s parents. On Saturday morning, a day I usually get to sleep in, we all got up early and headed to a place called Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason, NH. It was early, kind of a far drive and we waited mostly outside for about a half hour before getting seated. Sounds like a recipe for disaster right? No way man, this was one of the best traditional breakfasts I’ve had in a long time.

Parker’s is a sugar house which means they make maple syrup and other maple-flavored products. As I was informed on the way there, we’re in the middle of sugaring season, which means we actually got to see a little of the process, though we didn’t take the tour. Anyway, I perused the menu and after realizing I was pretty darn hungry, I went with the Parker’s Special which featured two eggs (over easy), a piece of ham steak, two pieces of sausage, two pieces of bacon, wheat toast, home fries and  piece of deep fried French toast.

Man, that was a great plate of food. I love getting crazy stuff at places like Fiddlestix on a regular basis, but sometimes you just want one big plate filled with well-made versions of all the classic breakfast foods and this was that. Plus, that deep fried French toast is a real thing of beauty, especially when devoured with a healthy dose of legit maple syrup. This was all so good and filling that I didn’t wind up eating anything else until my wife and I went out for a date and got some appetizers that night.

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Bonus Food Pic: Janie’s Uncommon Breakfast Sandwich & Potato Hash

potato hash at janeysWhile visiting my inlaws for Christmas we went to our usual breakfast spot, Janie’s Uncommon Cafe. I like Janie’s because the food’s always good, they’ve got a solid regular menu and also usually have some interesting specials. The last time we visited, I wasn’t feeling super hungry, so I went with the Uncommon Breakfast Sandwich which the menu describes as “A fried egg with bacon, sausage, black forest ham and cheddar cheese on an English muffin.” I wasn’t sure if that would be quite enough food and I happened to see something called Potato Hash on the menu and decided to try that.

The sandwich was good, but that hash was ridiculously good. “Shredded Idaho potatoes grilled with sauteed peppers, onions and cherry bacon.” It’s such a simple sounding dish with only four ingredients, but it tasted so damn good with the saltiness of the bacon mixing in with the starchiness of the potatoes and the crunch of the vegetables. This doesn’t usually happen, but I liked this dish so much that I want to try and make it myself. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

I’m Thankful For Fiddlestix

 

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for this Turkey Day. My folks have come in from Toledo to share a meal with Em, Lu and I so that’s great. But, since this is a food blog and there’s no way I’ll be able to turn around photos of our Thanksgiving prep until next week, I figured I would keep things on topic.

Regular readers will know that I love Fiddlestix. I’ve never had a bad meal there and love the variety of specials they present every week. Here you can see a collection of photos I’ve taken in the past few months. I can’t quite remember all the details. Up top is some kind of breakfast quesadilla. Then you’ve got a roast beef wrap above this paragraph followed by a double whammy of a sausage omelet and what I believe are raspberry and something pancakes.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about this, but even the sides at ‘Stix are something to talk about. At a lot of other places, breakfast potatoes feel like an add on, but theirs are always crisp and paprika-y. Better than that are the lunch sides which consist of homemade potato chips and what seems like a different pasta salad every time.

I hope you’ve found a great place like Fiddlestix and go there on a regular basis. It’s important to support local restaurants, especially when they’re awesome.

Cooking Breakfast For Dinner

I am a big breakfast fan. I don’t mean cereal, which I occasionally eat these days, but a full-on spread with bacon, eggs, sausage, toast and the like. I was also looking to keep last week’s menu simple without producing a ton of food because we went to New Hampshire for Easter that weekend. Usually, we eat off leftovers for lunches and occasional weekend meals, but I didn’t want all that to go to waste.

So? Breakfast for dinner! I went fairly simple with the whole deal. I bought a pound of bacon, a package of Jimmy Dean sausage (patties are preferred) and some eggs. To save the house from getting super greasy from the bacon, I decided to give baking bacon another shot. Last time, I used a smaller jelly roll pan, but the bacon was frozen and it didn’t work out so well. This time, I followed a recipe I found on About.com which wisely suggested crumpling up tin foil and then opening it back up to give the bacon grease somewhere to go. I flattened it back out a little too much and still wound up with grease on the pan, but this was a much better way to go. I wound up cooking for about 17 or 18 minutes. I noticed that, since I was using two jellyroll pans right on very

While that was in the oven, I got to work on the sausage, which basically consisted of cutting them into patties and then cooking them in a pan, flipping constantly. There was no trick to this, I just followed the directions on the packaging. They wound up looking a little charred, but they tasted great.

I siphoned off some of the sausage grease and then cooked a pair of sunny-side-up eggs which turned out nice and brown, but tasted great. You’ll notice that I also cut up some cheese, that was for my wife who had a sausage and cheese sandwich. My only complaint about the meal as a whole is that it was very salty between the bacon and the sausage. I think next time I’ll try making my own sausage so I can have more control over those levels. When I ate the sausage for lunch the next day, I poured a little maple syrup on there and that was a solid choice!

Cooking Sausage & Egg Casserole

After my exploits with pierogies I was left with a pound of bacon and no real plans for it. On a trip to the grocery store after that I procured some sausage. I think I was going to do breakfast for dinner or something along those lines just simply making eggs with a side of bacon and sausage. However, after making Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie I had an idea to make an egg casserole. I had eggs, sausage, cheese and vegetables so I actually combined two recipes, Alton’s and Robert Irvine’s Egg Casserole Recipe and wound up with something pretty tasty. My idea was to do a pretty simple egg casserole by cooking onions, carrots, peas and corn and then adding the de-cased sausage before tossing that into a baking dish, adding Irvine’s egg mixture and covering with cheese and bacon.

The first step involved cooking the bacon. I had heard about baking it in the oven instead of in a skillet or pan, so I found this recipe on About.com’s food section and went with that. I think it would have worked awesomely except I hadn’t completely defrosted the bacon and had to run hot water over it just to get the pieces separated. It was kind of a mess and cooked unevenly, but I’m guessing that’s all on me.

Anyway, after that, I got to cooking the onions and garlic then the carrots in olive oil. The Shepherd’s Pie recipe called to add frozen corn and peas after putting the mixture in the dish, but I tossed them in now so the flavors could mingle a little better. After that, I got the sausages out of their casings, mashed them up and cooked them with the vegetables. Once that was all done, I put the whole mixture in a baking dish.

For the eggs, I didn’t completely follow Irvine’s recipe because I didn’t have everything in the house. I just mixed five eggs in a bowl and added some milk, then added that to the baking dish. I had shredded some cheddar cheese and chopped up the good pieces of bacon and topped the meat, vegetable and eggs with that. The dish then went into the oven and cooked for 30 minutes or so.

I was pretty proud of whipping this together and having it come out pretty tasty. You can’t really go wrong with eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese in my opinion, especially all in one simple package, but actually combining two recipes and figuring everything out without explicit directions was nice, made me feel like I actually know what I’m doing in the kitchen.