Christmas Breakfast

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carole stands as one of the principal tomes on Christmas tradition.  The imagery of the Cratchit home a glow with candles and mistletoe, packed to the gills with family and friends donning their Sunday best all to enjoy a traditional Christmas feast.  Those traditional English foods litter the table like figgy pudding and the turkey provided by miser-turned philanthropist Ebenezer Scrooge.

For my own part I don’t know of a single human being that has ever had such a Christmas feast.  I remember my family trying once or twice but it never seemed to work out.  My mother was already exhausted from preparing victuals for my grandfather’s Christmas Eve gathering which usually hosted nearly a hundred friends and family from all over the country.  The effort of getting up the next morning to cook a Thanksgiving-like meal for a dozen or so was daunting.  My siblings, all three married and one with two kids, had in-laws to visit which often lead to unpredictable arrival times.  That is the typical American Christmas Day.

Healthy Southern BiscuitsMy mother decided that Christmas feast was retired, unless someone else wanted to do all of the cooking.  We replaced it with Christmas breakfast.  Some years it little more than left over pie with a glass of egg nog.  Don’t knock it.  Usually, however, Christmas breakfast was biscuits and gravy.  Sometimes we would have scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage with our biscuits and gravy but the most memorable accompaniment was fried quail.

I have never been much of a hunter but I sure enjoy the bounty of those who’ll kill a day tromping around the woods in search of game, especially quail.  I don’t know why but gravy made from fried quail is so much tastier than gravy made from fried chicken or bacon or sausage.  Luckily today you don’t have attack a covey of little birds with a scatter gun to enjoy quail.  They are farm raised and available in the frozen food section of most grocery stores.  And this is how you cook them:

Fried Quail

  • 12 quail, cleaned and dressed (frozen quail come this way)
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour (either 1½ cup AP & 1/2 cup rice or 2 cups AP)
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper

In a large airtight container place the quail and cover with quart of buttermilk.  Marinate for 4 – 24 hours.  When you are ready to cook heat a large cast iron skillet (cast iron really is the best for this) at medium high heat filled with 4 or 5 large scoops of coconut oil (may use canola oil 3/4” deep).  Mix flour and salt and pepper to taste then place into a large deep walled bowl.  Shake extra buttermilk from the quail then dredge in the flour, finally shake off excess flour and place into the skillet.  When the skillet is full (but the quail should not touch) cook at medium high covered for roughly 7 minutes.  Flip over and cook another 5 – 7 minutes covered or until all sides are brown then drain by placing quail onto a cooling rack over paper towels, lightly season at this point.  Serve with your favorite biscuits and pan gravy.

Pan Gravy

  • 1/3 cup AP flour
  • 1/3 cup oil from frying the quail
  • 1 – 2 quarts water
  • Salt & pepper or Cajun Seasoning

Heat the oil in the same iron skillet.  Add flour and stir constantly to make a roux, cooking for 5 – 7 minutes, season to taste.  Bit by bit add water stirring constantly.  Once the gravy thickens add the remaining water and allow to thicken slightly, stirring constantly.  Taste and season.

Blueberry Breakfast Parfaits

Blueberry Breakfast Parfaits
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Driscoll’s Berries
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 4
  • 2 dry pints Driscoll’s Blueberries, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 (1/2-ounce) slices angel food cake, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons blueberry preserves
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free Greek-style yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  1. Set aside 1/3 cup blueberries for garnish. Combine the remaining blueberries, sugar, zest, and vanilla extract in a zip-top plastic bag. Press out air before sealing then press with hands to crush.
  2. Spread 1 side of each slice angel food cake with preserves. Cut into cubes and place in the bottom of 4 parfait or other tall glasses.
  3. Whisk together the yogurt and honey in a medium bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture over the cake cubes. Top each with 2 heaping tablespoons of the blueberry mixture. Spoon in the remaining yogurt mixture then top with remaining blueberry mixture. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon sliced almonds and the reserved whole blueberries. Serve immediately.

TIP: These can be made ahead. Just cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 4 hours. For best results, sprinkle with almond slices just before serving.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Driscoll Berries
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 7
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • cups natural sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • cup low-fat margarine, melted
  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) Driscoll’s Blueberries
  1. Mix first five ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk with eggs.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir wet mixture into dry ingredients just until combined.
  4. Add melted butter, then blueberries, and stir gently.
  5. Heat a non-stick griddle or pan over medium heat. Let a few drops of cold water fall on the surface. If water bounces, sputters and instantly evaporates, your pan is ready.
  6. Pour ¼ cup of the batter onto the skillet.
  7. Cook for 2 minutes, or until bubbles that appear on the surface begin to break and the bottom is golden. Flip pancake and cook for one more minute, or until lightly golden.
  8. Place pancakes on heatproof platter and keep warm in a 200 degree preheated oven. Repeat procedure with remaining batter.
  9. Drizzle pancakes with 5 tablespoons of warm, 100% Maple syrup. Garnish with additional blueberries as desired.

Substituting the Maple syrup with Agave Nectar will significantly reduce the calories from sugar. And though agave doesn’t taste better than Maple it does taste better than commercial pancake syrups.

Mixed Berry Smoothie

Mixed Berry Smoothie
Author: Driscoll’s Berries
Prep time: 3 mins
Cook time: 3 mins
Total time: 6 mins
Serves: 2
  • 1 cup Driscoll’s Blueberries
  • 1 cup Driscoll’s Raspberries or Blackberries
  • 1 cup Driscoll’s Strawberries, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • cup orange juice
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons honey, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • Berries for garnish
  1. Blend all ingredients plus two ice cubes in a blender until smooth. Garnish with additional berries before serving.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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