Don't let time dictate your favorite foods
May 08, 2013 (St. Joseph News-Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Sizzling bacon. Fluffy pancakes. Dark coffee. Thick sausage gravy blanketing warm biscuits.
These just-rolled-out-of-bed comfort foods are morning staples. But why restrict breakfast foods to just breakfast time With many people barely finding time to grab a granola bar on their way out the door each day, the case for eating breakfast for dinner is strong.
"Breakfast is a comfort food. It's good any time of the day, morning, noon or night," says Michael DeMaddalena, cook at Wiedmaier Truck Stop Restaurant at 4215 U.S. Highway 169.
Wiedmaier offers its breakfast menu all day long. A big reason behind this decision is providing truck drivers and travelers access to breakfast during their wacky schedules.
"Truck drivers have odd hours. Sometimes they sleep all day and wake up at 2 (p.m.) and want breakfast," says cashier Brandi Allen.
"We like to have as many things available to our customers at any given time," Mr. DeMaddalena says.
He and Ms. Allen say some of the most popular menu items at Wiedmaier are biscuits and gravy, French toast, omelets and steak and eggs.
Betty's Cafe, 6307 King Hill Ave., serves up breakfast from 4 a.m. until closing time at 3 p.m., as well as offering weekly lunch specials. Owner Pat Gardner says their most popular lunch item is fried chicken on Fridays. Their biggest seller, though, is biscuits and gravy.
Rather than eating sugary breakfast foods later in the day, Ms. Gardner thinks customers like biscuits and gravy because they're hearty and savory.
"You eat pancakes and then an hour or two hours later you're hungry again. Biscuits and gravy sticks to you and fills you up," she says.
She thinks it's important to offer breakfast all day because it's so popular with customers and she doesn't want to turn people away.
"A lot of places cut breakfast off at 10:30 or 11. ... If we did that, (customers are) gonna turn around and go somewhere else," she says.
When faced with dinnertime indecision, it's fun to mix things up with breakfast-for-dinner meals, either at restaurants or in your own kitchen.
"I think people get tired of the same old thing for lunch and dinner," Ms. Gardner says.
Families can easily convert breakfast foods into something more closely resembling a dinner meal at home. One way to do this is to offset sweet ingredients like syrup with more savory flavors. Try a stack of pancakes or waffles featuring meat, cheese and herbs, like this one from www.recipegirl.com.
Bacon and Corn Griddle Cakes
--8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
--1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
--1 cup all-purpose flour
--2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
--1 teaspoon baking powder
--1/2 teaspoon salt
--1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
--2/3 cup milk
--1 large egg, beaten
--1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
--1 cup frozen, canned or fresh corn
--1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
--Warm maple syrup, for serving
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon pieces until they begin to brown. Add the onion and continue to cook until the bacon is crisp and the onion is softened. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the bacon mixture for topping the griddle cakes upon serving and set it aside.
While the bacon is cooking, combine the flour, chives, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the milk, egg and oil, just until moistened. Stir in the bacon mixture, corn and cheese. The mixture will be thick. If you'd like the griddle cakes to be slightly thinner, add a little more milk to thin out the batter.
Heat and grease a griddle or large skillet. Pour a heaping 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle and cook until it is golden brown, three to four minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Serve stacks of griddle cakes topped with a sprinkle of the reserved bacon and onion and a good dose of warm maple syrup.
Brooke VanCleave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPVanCleave.
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