Hobbit Breakfast

Do you enjoy meals that are comprised of oil, salt, and heart disease? I sure do!

Back in Idaho we grew/raised most of the ingredients needed for a vaguely omelette-shaped meal, dubbed the “Hobbit Breakfast” on account of its size. But when I moved to the east coast, I didn’t have the ingredients readily available anymore, so I stopped making it.

Until today!

I thought I’d share how to make it, because the internet is full of quality recipes that are picture-perfect and healthy, but somewhat lacking in ugly creations that equal five McDonald’s meals in calories. Frankenstein food needs representation too.

Your ingredients are:

  • Eggs
  • Milk, I guess, if you aren’t lactose intolerant
  • Some kind of seasoning. Italian, maybe
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Potatoes
  • Ham
  • Grated cheese
  • English muffins with butter, toasted

You’ll note that the amount of each ingredient is not listed. This is because it all varies depending on how much you can eat and it’s all very haphazard to begin with.


You start with start with two potatoes. It’s usually two. Sometimes in Idaho we’d pull a potato the size of a celebrity’s purse dog from the ground, and then I’d just use one. Sometimes I’d use five if they were the size of a chicken egg. It all depends on how much your body can handle; the goal is to stuff it so you don’t want to eat for another week.

These should be diced to about the size of your thumbnail, because they cook faster and brown more evenly if they’re smaller. Then- this is the key part, really- you pour a lot of olive oil over the top of them. This is no time for moderation. We’re not healthy here.

Finally, you throw a lot of seasoning over the top. The type of seasoning doesn’t really matter; I use “Mrs. Dash” when I have it, but anything vaguely garlicky will work. Add a little salt, set it over mid-low heat, and stir enough that it doesn’t stick to the pan too often.

While that’s cooking, I start with the omelette.


I recommend living in your rich employers’ house, so that you can use their Wisconsin 10 Year Aged Cheddar in your terrible breakfast food.

Now, you can put whatever you like in your omelette. Some people like onions, and those people are wrong. But it’s a free country, so while I can’t endorse putting in anything other than cheese, ham, and some of those diced potatoes, you can do whatever you feel is right.


Proportions here vary depending on the size of the individual. I’m a tiny person (much like a hobbit, you see?), so my egg mix is two eggs and a small splash of milk. I toss in some grated cheese to hold it together better. Salt and pepper to mask the fact that everything besides the cheese is poor quality, and maybe a little garlic or onion powder as well.

Then, when the potatoes are done frying, you put them aside on a plate for later, turn down the heat on the stove and pour the egg mix into the pan.


Yes, the pan that’s all dirty and greasy from the potatoes still. But yes, I also pour out excess oil beforehand. You want flavor, not a massage parlor in your mouth.

Back home our stove lacked finesse. There was high, medium, and low, and that was all we needed. Here, I tried putting my omelette on “low” and discovered that on a nice stove, “low” means “simmer your omelette mix for six hours.” Thus, this part took longer than I expected it to.

While the omelette was slowly doing nothing, I started heating the tea water (of course), pre-buttered some English Muffins, and threw them in the toaster.


The funny thing about Thomas English Muffins is that they are not even close to the best English Muffins I’ve ever had. They taste like I tried to make English Muffins but forgot to add something like salt or love. And yet, the east coast doesn’t seem to sell any other kind. In Idaho, you often had several options; here, the English Muffin section of the bread aisle is dominated by Thomas and their eighteen different types of bland.

Note: Do not butter your English Muffins ahead of time if you don’t have a toaster oven. I much prefer buttering beforehand so that it melts into the bread as it toasts, but I don’t feel that would work well when your muffins are toasted vertically.


When your omelette is on the verge of hardening up, drop your omelette contents onto one side so that they start to heat. Then, I recommend getting too impatient with the speed at which your employer’s stove is cooking, so try to flip it prematurely.



The good news is that this recipe is very forgiving, because the end result is supposed to look bad. Even when you flip one of these omelettes poorly, it’s still all right because I always divide the omelette down the middle, to make it easier to move around and share with others.


This could be the front cover of the next Martha Stewart book.

At this point, if you’ve timed it right (and I often haven’t), your tea should be done, your muffins should be toasted, and your potatoes are probably cold so heat those up in the microwave real quick. After that, all you have to do is throw everything together on a plate.


There you are, Hobbit Breakfast.

It may look terrible, but the high salt content makes it very addictive, and once you’ve convinced someone to try it they will never stop badgering you to make it again (hello, sister). Alternatively, you could have a McDonald’s breakfast and delay your impending heart attack by a few years.

Happy eating!

The Creation of Caramel

Though I’m given full run of the house and the kitchen, being a live-in nanny means that there’s a level of awkwardness that remains when it comes to baking for pleasure in my employer’s house. I keep my own supply of dry ingredients, but eventually I have to use one of their eggs or some milk and that just feels wrong, despite it being emphatically allowed.

So I don’t do a lot of cooking or baking these days, unless the house is quiet and empty and I have everything prepared. Fortunately, I have creative friends.

On Sunday night my friend Oliver invited me over for dinner and the creation of caramels, and I agreed to go if he would pronounce “caramel” correctly the whole night, which he most certainly did not.

Oliver is dangerously domestic. We had a lovely homemade dinner, which Oliver creates on the fly with no effort and with the earned superiority that comes from being competent in the kitchen.


And it was delicious, damn him.

We did up some Bailey’s Irish Cream next, pending the creation of our own chocolate syrup, and I don’t think I ever fully understood how much heavy cream goes into it. It’s a lot.


I, of course, had none of this because I won’t be 21 for seven days and it’s illegal and I’m a good citizen, don’t arrest me.

Next we went on to craft the caramel, and as it turns out, I never truly wanted to know what goes into caramel, and I even find it fortunate that I haven’t consumed much of it in my life, because after making it I feel like any I ate is probably still lining my intestines.

The ingredients are really quite simple. First, you dump several cups of white sugar in a pot. Then you add the corn syrup.


And you just… just mix up this sugar and corn syrup. I know this is difficult to follow.

After that you heat it to 310 degrees, which is, as we discovered, hot enough to melt a rubber spatula. Note to future self: Do not use rubber spatulas when creating caramel.


Nothing makes you feel more like a witch than watching this stuff boil. Bubble, bubble…

After it’s reached 310 degrees, you throw in a lot of heavy cream, which results in an interesting reaction and which causes everything to instantly congeal. When this has become a horrible oobleck-resembling mess, you throw in the healthiest ingredient (butter!) and you’re done. And somehow, these four terrible ingredients have produced the smooth and chewy substance we all know and will probably die from.


Now you just stare at it for several hours until it hardens under your harsh gaze.

We did this twice more just to really experience it, and because Oliver, who may not actually be a real human being, is planning on distributing homemade caramel and homemade Bailey’s to his co-workers, who are probably very glad that they know someone who will provide them with 50% of their Christmas treats.

If you have a friend that creates, go spend time with them, because there’s really nothing like the feeling of scraping congealed brown junk off the bottom of the pot and knowing deep down that you ate far too much of this as a child and that it may never have left your body.

Feliz Navidad!

Baking Bad(ly)

Before I begin I’d like to thank Spectres and Stardust for nominating me for the Black Cat, Blue Sea award, which I was hugely giddy about for only eight or nine hours yesterday. Because these awards are like chain letters you actually like getting, the rules dictate that in order to accept it I must nominate some other bloggers who fall under the same category… and of the few I know, most have already been nominated.

I think I’ll just put off this whole award thing until I’ve managed to follow more blogs. I’m trying, but general bloggers are hard to find. Stop being so general, darnit.

One of the youngest boys in my care was down with a foot injury the other day, and was forced to stay home from school for a day. I had to come up with some low-key activities that did not involve leaping from high places, climbing dangerous structures, or hitting feet with a rubber mallet, so I suggested that we try baking some bread in my new bread machine from a post ago. He gleefully accepted.


And I only had to read 18 pages of the manual before we began!

Now, my mother has used one of these since I was born. We never lacked homemade bread in the house. Every few days she would create another loaf. She probably made around 1,800 loaves of bread in my lifetime.

Naturally, I helped her make the bread maybe twice. Probably when I was the same age as the youngest boy here. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing with this thing. “It’s like one of those Star Trek replicators, right?” I was thinking to myself. “You just press a button and there’s bread. That’s the most effort I ever had to put into getting bread when I was a kid.”

Bread machines aren’t rocket science, but they do require ingredients such as yeast and frustrated tears, so I had to take the boy to the grocery store to purchase some. When I do this I always hope the other patrons of the store are judging me for being a young mother. It’s funny because I’m not.


Once back home I told the kid that he could add ingredients after I measured them out. He was fine with this, because it allowed him to do important things in between, like playing Bejeweled on his mother’s iPad.

After we had thrown everything haphazardly into the bread machine bucket, we carried it over on our three good feet and rifled through the manual until we found the settings and buttons to press. Confidently, we pressed them.

Nothing happened.

“Oh, it’s supposed to do this,” I said knowledgably to my charge. “It always does absolutely nothing when you first start it up. Why don’t you go play on the iPad some more?”

And then, when he had run off to play more mind-numbing matching games, I called my mother in a panic. “I don’t think my bread machine is working!” I said, horrified at the idea that I might have wasted $10 on a bread machine from Goodwill.

My mother very patiently started trouble-shooting with me. We eventually tried setting it to a regular cycle rather than the “Whole Wheat” cycle, and it started right up. It was at this point that I realized that the Whole Wheat cycle began with 30 minutes of rest, but too late for that. Who even has time for 30 minutes of rest these days? Not neurotic bread-makers, certainly.

And so, on the wrong cycle, my bread mix was stirred and kneaded and risen and baked.


Oh look, I’ve baked the surface of the moon.

When it came out, it looked a little underwhelming. As a test run we had only baked a 1lb loaf, and it sat at the bottom of the bucket and looked as though it was a witch we had just thrown water on. The boy was very enthusiastic.


Like the kid you always pick last for dodge-ball.


Surprisingly, it wasn’t all that bad inside. A little less flavorful than my mother’s wheat bread, but better than you might have guessed by looking at it. I toasted some with some butter and it tasted quite like the sort of bread you might have had in the Middle Ages before all the interesting spices were readily available.

All in all, not a failure, but I’ll have to do some experimenting with it. Like, for instance, putting it on the right cycle and actually being patient.


I buttered some for my little helper and served it with tea. The tea was gone in seconds, because the tea I serve the boys is roughly 80% sugar. He found the bread to be palatable, but he was puzzled by the crust, which was crispy. He only ever eats store-bought white bread, so this was new territory.

He probably never would have eaten it if he hadn’t helped make it, but since he did, he loudly informed his brothers upon their return from school that they had to try the wheat bread, because he had made it and it was awesome.

Middling success, I say.