For many people, breakfast is an afterthought or skipped altogether in the rush to get to work. However, it’s my firm belief that at least once a week, we all earn the right to pamper ourselves with a decadent breakfast.
Pampering yourself by making a special morning meal may seem like an extravagant act if you’re the only one eating it. Why bother? Whether you’re in a relationship or not, you deserve delicious experiences. And a decadent solo breakfast is one of life’s great pleasures — and pretty budget-friendly as far as decadence goes. Plus, practicing on yourself will make you a pro when it comes time to make breakfast for someone else. I recommend attempting decadent morning meals on the weekend when your routine is hopefully less hectic. For me, pancakes and waffles are my preferred weekend treats.
Years ago, when I lived in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, I would go Clinton Street Baking Company and Restaurant on Sundays for a plate of their delicious, fluffy blueberry pancakes. The only hitch was the 30- to 40-minute line to get in. Whether alone or with friends, I would leave my name, go to another café for a cappuccino and then head back just in time for my table to be ready.
Eventually I wised up and started making my own pancakes. (I also moved uptown, and the thought of trekking downtown to wait 40 minutes for breakfast seemed absurd.)
I love the smell of lemons and decided they could work well in flapjacks, so I created a lemony pancake recipe for one, which you can find in my new cookbook, “Cooking Solo: The Joy of Cooking for Yourself.” (I’m always hungry first thing in the morning, so the recipe makes five medium pancakes.)
While I explored pancake-making, I began hosting brunches at my apartment and included savory options such as sunny-side-up tacos for friends who don’t have a sweet tooth. The egg, avocado and tomato are deliciously compatible, and a breakfast taco is always fun to eat.
Here are three recipes to make for yourself on a leisurely weekend. If you’re cooking for two, simply double the recipe. The pancake batter is slightly thick, so if you prefer thinner pancakes, add 2 or more tablespoons of milk to the batter. Otherwise, use your spatula to flatten the pancakes as they cook.
Note: These recipes have not been tested by The Washington Post.
Lemony Pancakes (makes 5 medium pancakes)
½ cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
½ cup quinoa flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk (skim or nondairy will work)
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted plus 2 teaspoons for the pan
1 teaspoon lemon extract or the finely grated zest of 1 lemon
(If you purchase cornmeal and quinoa flour that is marked gluten-free, this recipe does not contain gluten.)
Maple syrup, for serving
- In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, quinoa flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the egg, 3 tablespoons melted butter and lemon extract until mixed.
- Pour half of the liquid ingredients into the dry mixture and use a large spoon to stir them together. Stir in the remaining liquid. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the batter on high speed until it’s smooth.
- Place a griddle over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of butter, spreading it to coat the pan. Working in batches, pour in 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Leave about 2 inches between each portion.
- When the top is bubbly and the bottom is golden brown (after about 2 minutes), flip the pancakes with a wide metal spatula and gently flatten them with the back of the spatula. Cook until golden brown on the second side, about 2 minutes. Use the spatula to transfer them to a plate and serve immediately with maple syrup.
Chocolate Pancakes with Ganache (makes 5 medium pancakes)
½ cup finely ground yellow or white cornmeal
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coconut oil or melted butter
- In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk until the cocoa powder is evenly distributed. Combine the milk, egg and 3 tablespoons of the coconut oil (or melted butter) in a smaller bowl and whisk until mixed.
- Pour half the ingredients into the dry mixture and use a large spoon to stir them together. Stir in the remaining liquid. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the batter on high speed until smooth.
- Set a griddle over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons coconut oil to the pan, spreading it with a spatula to coat the bottom. Pour in 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Leave 2 inches between each portion.
- When the pancakes are bubbly on top and lightly browned on the bottom (after about 2 minutes) use a wide metal spatula to flip them. Cook the second side for another 2 minutes and use the spatula to transfer the pancakes to a plate. Serve immediately with chocolate ganache on the side for spreading.
To make chocolate ganache, chop 4 ounces semisweet chocolate and put it in a medium bowl. Pour 1 cup heavy whipping cream into a small saucepan and heat it over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, just until it begins to boil, about 3 minutes. Remove the cream from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let it stand until the chocolate is soft. Whisk the mixture until it’s smooth and homogeneous.
Sunny-Side Up Taco for One
2 corn (6-inch) tortillas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
Pico de gallo
½ lime, cut into quarters
- In a small skillet, over low heat, warm the tortillas, turning once for about 2 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Heat the olive oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, tilting the pan to coat the bottom.
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl, slip them into the pan and decrease the heat to low. Let the eggs cook, without turning, until the whites are set and the yolks are as firm as you like them, 4 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Arrange the tortillas on a serving plate and spread with guacamole. Use a wide metal spatula to place the eggs on the tortillas. Top with the pico de gallo, squirt with lime juice and serve.
To make pico de gallo, place ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon minced red onion, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 tablespoon minced, fresh cilantro and 1/8 teaspoon seeded and minced Thai chile in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt, taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Stir to combine and set aside.
For the guacamole, in a small bowl combine ½ cup chopped avocado, 1 tablespoon minced red onion, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, and 1/8 teaspoon seeded and minced Thai chile. Using a fork, mash the ingredients together. Season with 2 pinches of salt, taste and adjust seasoning, set aside.