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Hot and cold cereals have been the foundation of breakfast for generations in many ethnic cultures, from Swiss birchenmuesli (oats with fresh and dried fruits soaked in milk or cream) to hot Irish oatmeals to contemporary American granolas. There are numerous variations on these classic foundations. For instance, the liquid used to make hot cereals such as oatmeal can be a variety of fruit juices, such as apple, pineapple, or orange. They can also be spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, or cloves. For more adventurous customers, you can use jalapeno jack cheese, star anise, cardamom, lavender, lemon balm, or any fresh herb combination.

The traditional Swiss birchenmuesli is made with rolled oats, heavy cream, sugar, nuts, and dried and fresh fruits. To modify this recipe, first use steel-cut oats; more fresh fruits are added to the cereal mixture, skim milk replaces heavy cream, and nonfat yogurt and spices complete the taste needed to make this Old World classic a modern hit.

Pancakes, French toast, and toppings are the apple pie of breakfast. It's hard to imagine a breakfast menu without blueberry pancakes or thick crispy French toast with syrup. A typical pancake batter contains whole eggs, oil, and sugar. To use less of these ingredients, you will have to add other ingredients that the guests can sink their teeth into. For example, you can use wheat germ, rolled oats, stone-ground wheat, or millet to create a hearty texture. You also need to include spices and fruit flavorings. By putting leftover berries into batter or using overripe fruit to make syrups, you utilize your inventory while creating a quality product. You can also fine-cut the fruits and toss them with fresh mint or lemon balm to create a sweet salsa or compote.

FIGURE 9-2 Breakfast: Glazed Grapefruits with Vanilla Beans and Honey.

Photo by Barnes B&B Solutions.

FIGURE 9-2 Breakfast: Glazed Grapefruits with Vanilla Beans and Honey.

Photo by Barnes B&B Solutions.

To create stuffed French toast, layer slices of whole-grain bread with light cream cheese and bananas. Cut into quarters and dip in an egg substitute batter, using honey, Splenda (a no-kcalorie sweetener), or date sugar sparingly instead of white sugar. Add skim milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg to complete the batter. Brown in a nonstick pan and serve with fresh fruit purée or compote.

Quick breads, muffins, and scones are also staple items for breakfast menus as well as buffets. Fruit juices, concentrates, and purées are a wonderful source of flavor in baking quick breads, muffins, and scones as well as in hot cereals and pancake batters. Low-fat spreads might include flavored nonfat ricotta cheese and flavored low-fat cream cheeses.

Some menu possibilities for breakfast include the following:

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