published Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Breakfast for dinner is a hot food trend with a new name: Brinner

A plate of blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon and a glass of orange juice is served at The Blue Plate.
A plate of blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon and a glass of orange juice is served at The Blue Plate.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

Brinner.

Ever heard of it? Maybe not, but you’ve probably eaten it.

According to the Urban Dictionary, “brinner” is the act of eating breakfast for dinner (and since it’s in the Urban Dictionary it’s just gotta be real, right?).

Sure, Waffle House and Cracker Barrel have been plating up ham’n’eggs all the livelong day for years, but the idea of brinner now is showing up on lists of hot food trends. For foodies, it’s all part of the larger concept that you should be able to eat what you want whenever you want.

Want Jimmy Dean sausage on a biscuit for dinner? Go for it. Want to go even crazier? Try fried eggs on a pizza for dinner.

And some local folks are all over the idea.

At Dish T’Pass Cooking School and Catering Co., co-owner Sarah Hooper says some recent brides have asked for breakfast foods at their wedding reception.

“People really love breakfast and, as far as weddings are concerned, they want a real comfort- food kind of feel, and what says comfort more than bacon and pancakes and waffles and grits?” she asks.

Brinner — although not called by that name — has always been part of Dish T’Pass’ cooking classes for kids because breakfast dishes are easy to make and, besides, and what kid doesn’t like pancakes and bacon and eggs, Hooper says.

And for parents trying to get the basic food groups into their children’s bellies, breakfast for dinner is a great (and sneaky) idea. Cheese and meat are generally favorites for kids, she says, but you can also slip some veggies into omelettes and get them past the picky eaters.

Local restaurants that aren’t Waffle House also are seeing the brinner idea popping up. At Aretha Frankenstein’s on North Shore and Tupelo Honey Cafe in Warehouse Row — two Chattanooga restaurants that serve breakfast all day — kissin’ cousins pancakes and waffles are commonly asked for by people craving breakfast after dark.

While items such as sandwiches, salads, burritos and quesadillas are on the menu at Aretha Frankenstein’s, breakfast food dominates. Corey Curtis, a server at the restaurant, says customers lean towards pancakes at night, but there’s also a lot of love for the salted country ham and spinach omelettes.

The tiny restaurant’s overall funky vibe and shabby-chic decor lends it a bohemian air which makes breakfast seem utterly acceptable, whatever the time of day, he says.

At Tupelo Honey Cafe, Chef de Cuisine Emily Cribb says she sees dinner diners ordering the sweet potato pancake. Some even order it for after-dinner dessert, she says.

Lindsay Landis, a Nashville food blogger (Love & Olive Oil) wrote the cookbook “Breakfast for Dinner” with her husband, Taylor Hackbarth. Landis has fond memories of her own childhood, when her father would whip out breakfast for dinner.

“He could barely do a frozen pizza,” she told the Charlotte Observer, “but he could do scrambled eggs. Whenever Mom was out of town, that’s what he did.”

That’s part of the idea behind turning breakfast foods into dinner: We love pancakes, waffles, omelets and the like. But actual breakfast — the event between getting up and leaving your house — is not the time to do anything more elaborate than cereal/bowl/milk/skedaddle.

When she does brinner Landis goes for savoriness, doing things that might involve eggs but don’t necessarily involve maple syrup. One of her favorites is Shakshuka, a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a rich tomato base.

“You’ve always got eggs in the (refrigerator),” she says. “We tried to take it a little beyond that.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service contributed to this story.

Contact Shawn Ryan at sryan@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327.

Shakshuka

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 mild chile peppers, such as Anaheims, seeded and diced

1 hot chile pepper, such as jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 to 8 medium or large eggs

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Pita bread or crusty bread

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and chile peppers and cook until the onion is softened and just beginning to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, broth, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer 20 to 22 minutes, or until thickened. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick.

Make indentations in the sauce with the back of a spoon and crack an egg into each. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the whites are set and yolks are thick but still runny. Sprinkle with the parsley and feta and serve with warm bread.

• Yield: 3 to 4 servings.

— “Breakfast for Dinner,” by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

1 cup white whole wheat flour (or ½ cup each all-purpose and whole wheat flour)

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 cup nonfat or reduced-fat milk

½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese

½ teaspoon vanilla

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons butter, divided, if needed

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, milk, ricotta, vanilla and lemon zest. (Grate the zest directly into the bowl to catch the oils from the lemon.) Whisk everything together but don’t overmix. The batter should be a little lumpy.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add ½ teaspoon butter and swirl it around until melted. (If you’re using a nonstick skillet or griddle, you may not need butter.) Add about ¼ cup batter and let it spread. Add more pancakes if there’s room.

Cook until there are bubbles all over the top of the pancakes, particularly around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side 30 seconds to a minute, until beginning to brown. Transfer to a plate. (Place in a warm oven until they’re all done if desired.) Continue to cook, adjusting the heat and adding more butter to the pan as needed.

Serve warm with butter and Blueberry Compote (recipe below) or maple syrup.

• Yield: 4 servings.

— Adapted from “The Can’t Cook Book,” by Jessica Seinfield

Blueberry Compote

2 cups frozen blueberries (or a blend of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)

Juice of a whole lemon

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place the frozen berries in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring, about 10 minutes, until heated through. Serve warm. Can be made ahead, refrigerated and reheated when needed.

• Yield: About 4 servings.

Waffle of Insane Greatness

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk or buttermilk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter and syrup, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat a waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron; the oil in the batter will allow the waffle to release easily. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with butter and syrup.

• Yield: 4 servings.

— Aretha Frankenstein’s

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