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From the Bookshelf: “Big Bad Breakfast” by John Currence

Article by Paige McKay-White

We all know the saying—breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As Southerners, we know how to do breakfast right. Oxford native Chef John Currence has elevated breakfast to an art form with his creative breakfast recipes. In this “fun, festive and highly caffeinated ode to breakfast,” Big Bad Breakfast includes breakfast fare that can be served any time of day and is sure to impress the taste buds.

Start your morning off with recipes from “The Welcome Basket,” a chapter full of sweet breakfast treats like Sausage Cinnamon rolls, Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts (recipe included here), Honey Buns, Blueberry Muffin Tops, Monkey Bread and Banana Pecan Coffee Cake. These are perfect for those who prefer a sweet versus a savory breakfast. You could even serve them as dessert.

The next chapter highlights the breakfast king—eggs. “The Incredible, Edible, Omnipresent Egg” section includes tips on how to perfect each form of egg and which tools are best for each. Recipes include Big Bad Breakfast Egg Bake, North Mississippi Eggs Benedict, Breakfast Quesadilla, Chorizo Migas, Double Oyster Hangover Fry, and Spicy Boudin and Poached Eggs. The next chapter is also focused on eggs, specifically Omelets and Frittatas. Choose from recipes like the Chili and Cheese Omelet, Shrimp Fried Rice Omurice, Creole Skillet Scramble, Pepper and Chorizo Frittatas and a Low Country Cast-Iron Skillet Scramble.

For more sweet options, the next chapter features “Pancakes, Waffles, and Crepes.” It includes classics like Silver Dollar and Short Stack Buttermilk Pancakes and Belgian Waffles, as well as unique options like Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes, Hoecakes, Brioche French Toast, Homemade Pop-Tarts, Toasted Oatmeal Pancakes, and Shrimp and Pickled Onion Crepes.

For those who love pancakes or bacon and eggs for dinner, Big Bad Breakfast has you covered in the “Breakfast For Dinner” chapter. This chapter includes heavier dinner options like Shrimp and Grits, Shrimp Gravy Biscuit Sundae, Crawfish Etouffee, Oyster Pot Pie, Breakfast Succo-hash and Huevos Cocineros. All of these recipes are not only great for dinner, but you could also serve them as a heavier breakfast or brunch meal.

Chef John Currence

A breakfast cookbook wouldn't be complete without cereal, and the store-bought stuff is often processed and filled with sugar and other additives. “Cereals, Grains, and Other Pseudo-Virtuous Things” includes better-for-you options, such as Homemade Vanilla Granola, Homemade Frosted Cornflakes, Grits and Collard Souffle, Italian Sausage Risotto and Homemade Crispy Rice “Elvis” Treats.

The next chapter might be one of the best: “Breakfast Sandwiches.” Currence describes breakfast sandwiches as having “healing powers,” and with these recipes, he might be right. Sandwiches include Fried Chicken Cathead, Monte Cristo, Egg and Rice Burrito, Chicken and Sausage Pancake Sandwich, Grilled Ham and Pimento Cheese Sandwich, and Egg Salad. These are also a great option for any time of day or night.

With all these meals, “Sides, Condiments, Meats, and Extras” are a must. Breakfasty side dishes and extras include Garlic Cheese Grits, Cayenne Pepper Sauce, Louisiana Satsuma Jelly, Black Pepper Honey, Sausage Gravy, Apple Butter and several other breakfast table staples.

Last but not least, no breakfast or brunch would be complete without something to sip on, whether it’s alcoholic or not. Sip on libations like a Grapefruit Mimosa, Big Bad Breakfast Bloody Mary, Djen Frappe, Eggnog, The Vacation Wife, Peach Lassi, Donkey Punch and The Idiot’s Champagne Cocktail. Sometimes, you just need something a little more than a cup of coffee with your breakfast, and this chapter has a drink for any occasion.

Whether you’re looking for something new to spice up breakfast, or you’re hosting any kind of breakfast or brunch-themed event, any of the many recipes in Big Bad Breakfast are sure to be a hit. You can find a copy at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble and Square Books in Oxford.

Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts

Makes 15-18

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 1 egg

  • Cinnamon sugar, confectioners’ sugar, or vanilla glaze for topping (optional, recipe follows)

  1. Pour 3 inches of oil into a deep skillet or countertop fryer and heat over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Turn the heat to low and hold at this temperature.

  2. To make the doughnuts, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg and baking soda into a large bowl, then make a well in the center. When the oil is hot, whisk together the buttermilk and egg in a separate bowl, then pour into the well, stirring gently until combined.

  3. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons into the hot oil, 8 to 10 at a time, being careful not to crown the pan. Fry until golden brown on all sides (they should turn over by themselves as they cook), 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon. Drain the doughnuts on paper towels, then roll in cinnamon sugar or confectioners’ sugar, or drizzle with the glaze while the doughnuts are still hot. These are best served immediately, but will still represent well for a couple hours at room temperature.

Vanilla Glaze, optional

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

  1. To make the glaze, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and 2 to 4 tablespoons milk until the glaze reaches the consistency of heavy cream.

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