I eat very boring breakfasts and pretty much the same thing every day. Coffee, a naked bagel, and an unpeeled apple. I really can’t explain this other than I like it.
Right now I’m treating myself to big bagel variety—either whole wheat or whole grain. I used to eat only sesame bagels, but then one day I had enough of them. Plus I got tired of worrying about whether a stray seed had stuck to my lip or teeth and that I would be the last to know.
Even when we’re away, I go out looking for a good bagel and apple. It’s comforting, I guess, and sorta healthy (okay, if the bagels aren’t too big). Which as I calculate gives me license to eat ice cream before bed.
Well, my happy breakfast routine got knocked askew the last 2½ weeks. Merle and I were in Taipei City for meetings. It’s a fun city to explore, but I didn’t find one bagel. I had to scrounge to get enough coffee, and I learned to eat guavas and wax apples instead of Macintoshes or Staymans.
But I had an eye opener which I’d have missed if I hadn’t been forced out of my bagel habit—vegetables for breakfast.
There they sat, next to the eggs—a stack of soft green ribbons. Thin slices of long leaves and slightly ribbed stems. They seemed at home there with the breakfast foods, so I thought, why not? I nipped off a few with the tongs next to the platter and put them on my plate.
A bite of toast, a bite of fresh pineapple, a cautious bite of mustard greens. (I had to ask our host what they were.) I liked the combination of tastes and textures.
Next morning they were back. While the other breakfast dishes changed each day, the mustard greens were always there. Slightly crunchy, mildly green in flavor, quietly steady. I miss them now that we’re home.
My other food surprise? Grape tomatoes for dessert. I gotta admit, I was looking for something sweet and flaky after the seafood and rice and tofu and pork. When the hostesses offered grape tomatoes instead, I couldn’t make the jump and passed them up. But finally, on our last night and after a bountiful seafood buffet, I took a handful of baby tomatoes as they went by. And they were sweeter than any tomatoes I have ever eaten.
Are these tomatoes a special breed, or do ripe tomatoes finish a meal perfectly, but we Westerners just never knew?
I will experiment with this at home. And I’m going to break my bagel habit some Saturday soon and try this vegetable dish for breakfast. Join me!
Spinach Mushroom Frittata
Fix-It and Enjoy-It Healthy Cookbook, page 191
Makes 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking/Baking Time: 25-30 minutes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
½ lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ tsp. dried thyme
10-oz. bag fresh spinach
egg substitute equivalent to 10 eggs
1 tsp. dried dill, or 1 Tbsp. fresh dill
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ cup feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large 10” or 12” non-stick, oven-safe skillet, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and thyme. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove skillet from stove.
4. Place spinach in a separate saucepan. Add 1 Tbsp. water. Cover and cook until just wilted.
5. Drain spinach and let cool in a colander.
6. Squeeze out any liquid. Chop leaves.
7. In a good-sized bowl, beat together egg substitute, dill, and pepper.
8. Stir in spinach, mushroom mixture, and feta cheese.
9. Clean non-stick skillet. Spray liberally with vegetable spray. Return skillet to stove over medium heat.
10. When skillet is hot, pour in egg mixture. Place in oven, uncovered.
11. Check frittata in 10 minutes. Check every 5 minutes thereafter until center of frittata is slightly firm. Do not over-cook.
12. When frittata is done, place a large serving platter over skillet. Flip skillet over so frittata falls onto the plate.
13. Cut into six servings and serve.