Looking for Chef-Inspired Recipes in Your Kitchen? Start With Breakfast

Restaurant owners spend countless hours fretting over food stock and prices, catering to customers, negotiating with suppliers and supervising staff.  How does a super-busy food entrepreneur stay on top of business and make time for a healthy meal? We asked Megan Walhood and Jeremy Daniels, co-owners of the popular, Portland, Oregon-based Viking Soul Food, and the answer was: Plan ahead and eat a good breakfast!

“One of the things we try to do as busy business owners is plan ahead when it comes to our food,” says Walhood. “Making big batches of soup can sustain a family throughout the week. Even a big batch of beans combined with different veggies, cheese, chicken, fish, etc., will create a variety of healthy, satisfying meals.”

Walhood adds, “Hunger can lead to overeating, so breakfast is an important meal that will often get us through lunch. We’ll prepare a vegetable and cheese gratin or frittata, using eggs from pasture-raised chickens. This makes a tremendous difference in taste, not to mention nutritional value. We shop daily at a local farm stand and buy seasonal, another way to ensure robust flavor.”

This gratin recipe  can be prepped the night before. Walhood and Daniels suggest seasonal veggies, but you can substitute any variety. The frittata—found at www.vikingsoulfood.com—can be wrapped in a pita or flatbread for an on-the-go breakfast treat. When sautéing the vegetables, bear in mind that any tubers (potato, parsnip, carrot or celery root) require longer cooking than the softer greens and veggies.

Viking Soul Food Gratin

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped into thumb-size pieces
1-2 parsnips (or carrots), peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 bunch EACH kale and chard, stems and leaves separated and roughly chopped
1/2 head garlic, about 5-6 cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Kosher salt, ground black pepper
1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese
Dash of vinegar
4 farm eggs, preferably from pasture-raised chickens

Heat olive oil in large skillet.  Add onion and parsnip and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Add kale/chard stems to pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add garlic slices and stir until they become aromatic. Add kale/chard leaves. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, and cover; cook about 4-5 minutes. Lay veggies in a roasting pan and top with grated Jarlsberg. You can stop here, cover and refrigerate, to finish the next morning.

Preheat broiler to medium. Heat a pot of water to just below a simmer; add a dash of vinegar. Gently crack 4 eggs into hot water and poach about 3-4 minutes. Do not let water boil. While eggs are poaching, heat vegetable dish in broiler until cheese is melty and golden.

Remove gratin from broiler. Using a slotted spoon, gently remove eggs from water and place atop the gratin. Season with coarse grating of salt and black pepper. Serves 4.