Big Bad Breakfast, written by chef John Currence, is a big, attractive cookbook filled with breakfast recipes for serving at meals all day. My copy of this book is a large and lovely hardcover book featuring a nice variety and selection of intriguing recipes to choose from, many of which are accompanied by a full-page, delicious-looking photo of the dish, ready to be served – and boy does this make me hungry! I am a big fan of breakfast – I am also a big fan of eating breakfast for dinner. I love eggs and everything that goes with them and, luckily, this book includes many egg dishes — there are also a number of Southern-style recipes. A number of the recipes in this book serve two – there are some that serve only one. This worked perfect for me, since it is just the two of us at home. Each recipe includes a little story and/or history of the dish as it relates to the author. I found these background stories very interesting.
The book features many, many appealing looking breakfast recipes that are divided into nine chapters including “The Welcome Basket” (goodies like doughnuts, coffee cake, honey buns), “The Incredible, Edible, Omnipresent Egg”, “Omelets and Frittatas”, “Pancakes, Waffles, Crepes”, “BFD : Breakfast for Dinner”, “Cereals, Grains, and Other Pseudo-Virtuous Things”, “Breakfast Sandwiches”, “Sides, Condiments, Meats, and Extras”, and “Eye Openers” (cocktails – yay!). I found lots of recipes I wanted to try out, and started out with a sampling from several of the different chapters. Here’s what I made, along with my opinions on each recipe’s preparation and completed dish:
Low Country Cast-Iron Skillet Scramble
— This dish is a scramble of shrimp, andouille sausage, corn, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese, seasoned with some Old Bay. It is scrambled together with a Potato Hash, made from a separate recipe. The hash was similar to the sort of stove-top home potatoes I often make, where I stir-fry some diced potatoes and onions in a cast-iron pan. The potatoes in this recipe are boiled for a few minutes, then placed in an ice bath to stop the cooking (while I normally just place the raw diced potatoes straight into the pan with the onions). This made a softer potato, almost starting to break apart when reaching a lightly browned color (not sure if that’s how it was intended, but the hash tasted good – even as just a side dish on its own). I thought this recipe came out good, and was pretty easy to make. A sort of everyday scramble, nothing fancy – and with a little bit of spiciness in the dish, from the diced sausage. The recipe includes the use of clarified butter, seen in many recipes in this book. The book offers a method for clarifying butter, which I followed, and it came out perfect.
(Note: salt in the potatoes recipe seemed high – I put 2 teaspoons instead, it turned out fine).
Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts
— Little balls of batter, fried in oil like doughnut balls, and served hot. These were easy to make and – as the author recommends in the recipe – were served and eaten immediately. These were really delicious straight from the cooking pan – we also tried some a couple of hours later and, not quite as delicious, but still darn tasty. This included a recipe for a VANILLA GLAZE optional topping, which I made half of. Half the doughnuts were coated in the glaze and for the other half I made a simple Cinnamon Sugar (also mentioned in the recipe as a possible topping). Both versions were great, but the Glazed Doughnut Balls were extra special.
Silver Dollar Pancakes
— These pancakes came out quite light and flavorful, with a slight taste of a vanilla cookie. The author mentions in the recipe that these have a heavy-hand of vanilla – 2 ¼ teaspoons to be exact. I liked these pancakes a lot. I think these would taste good with some strawberries on top.
— The author mentions a craving for egg salad in this recipe and, well, I also get cravings for egg salad so – as a big “Egg Salad super fan”, I just had to make this (and it looked really yummy in the photo too!). The recipe is different from the simple Egg Salad I normally make myself and looked very interesting to me. His method for hard-boiling eggs is pretty similar to the method I always use. This recipe served four, so I make a half recipe to serve two. This was very easy to prepare and the recipe included some elements that I don’t normally think of to put in Egg Salad, like toasted sesame seeds and lemon. This is an Egg Salad with a bit of an unusual flavor, I think from the sesame seeds in it (or perhaps the minced celery? – which I like ’cause it gives the salad a little crunch). I thought this was good, and tasted even better the second day (when the flavors had had time to “meld”). As suggested in the recipe, I served this with sourdough bread slices, toasted and buttered. The recipe also mentioned an optional side to this of cold, sliced cooked steak – I think that sounds good but didn’t have any leftover steak on hand. By the way, the minor difference in the method here for hard-boiling of eggs (to my usual method) was enough difference to make these hard-boil better than usual (so this will now be my new method).
Saucy Black Beans
— Beans made from scratch using dried black beans. This recipe didn’t say what to do with the 1/2 cup chopped bacon after you heat it to get bacon fat (use later, save for using in another recipe, turn into bacon bits for a salad topping?). I decided to just put the bacon pieces into the beans as they were cooking – after all, how can putting bacon into something ever go wrong! These beans came out very tasty.
Egg and Rice Burrito
— This recipe made two burritos and used the “Saucy Black Beans” (which I had already made before making these) as an ingredient. These are flour tortillas stuffed with beans, white rice, scrambled eggs, Cheddar cheese, and a quickie avocado “Guacamole” (mashed avocado with some lime juice and a few seasonings). Now, I measured out all the ingredients for this recipe – but these were some super stuffed burritos, hard to fold up the tortillas because there was so much overflow of stuff. But I can’t actually complain because these came out great – extraordinarily good (hubby and me both agreed). Best recipe I made out of this book (so far anyway!). I totally loved this dish!!
Summary and “Most Wanted List” of Recipes to Try Next!
I thought this was a great cookbook – the recipes easy to follow and prepare, with helpful tips for basic cooking (such as how to clarify butter and best way to hard-boil an egg – there’s even a master recipe for “Fried Eggs”, “Scrambled Eggs”, and “Poached Eggs”). I love that these are recipes for scratch cooking – no canned products as ingredients. The recipes I tried out were all very good, a few were really exceptional (like the “Egg and Rice Burrito” – oh my. that was yummy). There are many other recipes included in this book that I would like to make, tops on that list includes “Rum Raisin and Orange Scones”, “Monkey Bread”, “Summer Vegetable Quiche”,”Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes”, “Homemade Pop-Tarts”, “The Egg Bowl”, “Homemade Vanilla and Double Almond Granola”, “Country Ham Egg Muffin”, “Spicy Bacon Onion Jam”, “Breakfast Sausage” (homemade!), “Falling Down Brown Cow” (a drink with bourbon, coke, and vanilla ice cream) – okay, that’s just a sampling. A very cool book.
Visit the Penguin Random House website for more information about the “Big Bad Breakfast” cook book.
About the Author, Penguin Random House author bio.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review. Review and all opinions are my own.