I am a breakfast person. Always have been. I frequently wake up absolutely cross-eyed with hunger. Not surprisingly, my daughter is also a breakfast person. Her usual morning greeting is, “I had a good, good sleep…I want breakfast!”
Lilly is usually quite happy with cold cereal or oatmeal or pancakes or, really she’ll eat just about any breakfasty sort of food. I’m a little bit harder to please, mainly because I rarely crave sweets at breakfast time. I’d much rather have eggs and bacon than oatmeal or even pancakes. But I’ve always had trouble finding healthy, simple savory breakfast options for weekdays. I mean, its one thing to make a skillet full of hash browns and bacon on a weekend morning, but who wants to deal with those calories (and clean up) on a Tuesday?
Somewhere along the line, I started tinkering with the idea of quinoa as a breakfast cereal. Its sort of like oatmeal but with a little more texture. Its nice with milk and fruit of course but one day, I got wild and added a poached egg, some avocado and salsa. It was a revelation. Its salty, its spicy, its satisfying. Not to mention healthy. And the way I make it, its also pretty darn easy.
You see, I typically cook a big batch of quinoa at the start of the week (or just buy a bag of pre-cooked frozen quinoa from the grocery store), then reheat one serving each morning. As for the poached egg, one of my consulting clients (Cuisipro) just introduced a new stainless steel egg poacher gadget and gave me a set to try. And I LOVE them.
Yes, I know what your thinking. I went to culinary school and, yes, they did teach us the proper, fancy French technique for poaching an egg. But you know what? Its a pain in the butt. I’m not usually a gadgety person but if you like poached eggs and you’d love to make one on a Tuesday but its just too much work. Well, this little gadget is for you. Just boil some water, spray your poaching cup with cooking spray or olive oil, crack your egg into the cup and drop it into the water. 3 minutes later, your egg is perfectly poached. I am literally addicted to this little gadget.
The next, and arguably most important ingredient, is the salsa. I’m sure whatever your favorite brand is will do, but the absolute one and only type for me is Frontera Red Tomato Salsa Mexicana. When I was in culinary school, the co-owner of Frontera Foods was in several of my classes. He was the business end of the Frontera packaged foods operation but, judging by the amazing salsas he would make for some of our classes, he’d clearly learned a few things from Rick Bayless. Anyway, their Red Tomato salsa reminds me very much of the versions he would make in class. Its got a medium level of heat and double-roasted tomatoes. It is to die for. Its also very hard to find. Its not their most popular variety and I can only find it at a couple of grocery stores in my area (Manny, if you’re still in charge over there, can you get the Red Tomato Salsa into a few more stores, pretty please?). I have digressed, but my point is, since quinoa and eggs on their own are both rather bland, the type of salsa you use will really make or break this dish. So pick a good one.
If you’re really feeling wild, I also tend to add a few drops of Chipotle Tabasco Sauce. Its another favorite thing and its also a great addition. Not too spicy, just super flavorful.
So, I’ve been making this quinoa breakfast almost every morning lately. Usually after I’ve given Lillian her cereal or whatever she’s craving. Because, who would think to offer a 2 year old quinoa with poached eggs and spicy salsa for breakfast? Well, one day she saw the avocado and that got her attention real quick (girlfriend loves some avocado). So I gave her a bite. And she ate almost all of my breakfast.
She now proudly refers to herself as the “Breakfast Bandit,” and requests “mommy’s shawnaa wif salsa” for breakfast (shawnaa is her interpretation of the word “quinoa”). Even better, this is apparently about the only breakfast that seems to satisfy her. My little hobbit frequently finishes one meal and immediately requests the next one, but I think the combination of quinoa, eggs and avocado is enough to satiate her. No requests for second breakfast today. So that’s our favorite breakfast, and my favorite little egg poacher and my favorite salsa and my favorite hot sauce. Maybe some of them will become your favorite too.
Quinoa Power Breakfast
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions
2 eggs, poached
1 small avocado, halved and pit removed
4 Tablespoons salsa, divided (or more to taste)
Chipotle Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
1. Reheat quinoa in the microwave (if needed) until warm and divide among two cereal bowls.
2. Top each bowl of quinoa with a poached egg.
3. Slice avocado within its skin and gently scoop one half of the avocado into each bowl.
4. Top each portion with 2 Tablespoons of salsa (more or less to taste), hot sauce and salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Note: Cuisipro is a consulting client and I received a set of their egg poachers as part of my freelance job responsibilities. However, I am blogging about the poachers completely on my own because I love them. All thoughts are my own. The other products mentioned are simply things I really like and wanted to share with you.