Breakfast sets a day’s tone. This is the one meal I won’t miss. That’s why I eagerly checked out “Breakfast: The Cookbook,” a compendium of breakfast foods from around the world by Emily Elyse Miller. It inspired me to find global foods for breakfast here in Central Oregon.
Global is in the name at Bethlyn’s Global Fusion, where weekend brunches are served starting at 10 a.m. As we have few opportunities to eat African food in Central Oregon, the Ethiopian platter is a certain choice. The platter includes a spicy chickpea stew with carrots, collard greens and a choice of protein (we chose lamb) served atop an injera, which is a gluten-free, fluffy fermented pancake made with teff flour.
While injera is traditionally spicy, chef-owner Bethlyn Rider opts to make it mild to bring out the spices and flavors of the stew, the greens and accompaniments.
The meal is complemented with the awaze spice paste, made with the same Ethiopian spices (lime, curry, ginger, gili powder, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet agave) that are offered to sprinkle on foods along with salt and pepper. The touch of sweetness tones down the bitterness of the collard greens beautifully.
The crispy Tuscan fried eggplant is stacked with seared spinach, artichokes, roasted peppers, zucchini and fresh mozzarella cheese, then topped with house-made marinara sauce. We added a poached egg on top for a unique breakfast meal with an Italian flair. A black-bean falafel platter is also available for those who are looking for a Mediterranean dish.
Lemon Tree chefs Betsy McDonald and Jaclyn Perez spent years preparing gourmet meals on mega-yachts cruising the world. Two breakfast dishes are true to the recipes of the ports they visited. Nasi goreng, the national dish of Indonesia, is spicy fried rice with sweet baby shrimp, chicken and vegetables. Add an egg to make it feel more like breakfast. The Lemon Tree also serves shakshuka, a Tunisian dish with chili peppers and North African spices in a tomato sauce, topped with a poached egg and served with grilled stirato (Italian baguette).
I had previously tried shakshuka, as made by chef-owner Lisa Schroeder of Mother’s Bistro and Bar in Portland. When I remarked to McDonald that her shakshuka was different, she explained that recipes vary throughout the Middle East in the same way that meatloaf preparations differ across the United States.
Where Schroeder’s dish was an Israeli recipe that has eggs baked in with the tomatoes and peppers, the Tunisian version is soupier and the poached eggs sit on top. Miller’s breakfast cookbook includes recipes for both the Israeli version and another completely different interpretation from Yemen.
Every month, Rockin’ Dave’s Bagel Bistro chooses a different country as a theme for breakfast specials and dinner in its Backstage Lounge. To honor Oktoberfest, chef-owner Dave Flier is featuring German recipes. They include sauerbraten (German pot roast) breakfast burrito with carrots, mushrooms, eggs, hash browns and cheese, with gingersnap gravy. Bratwurst omelets and German chocolate pancakes with ice cream are also offered.
German food also will be the theme of Oct. 24’s Dinner with Dave.
When the subject of foreign foods comes up, there’s often a mention of huevos rancheros. The dish originated in Mexico as a fried tortilla topped with salsa verde, salsa rioja or divorciados (mixed) and a fried egg. Variations of huevos rancheros are widely available across the United States, including many breakfast restaurants in Central Oregon. (Breakfast burritos with bacon, eggs and hash browns, however, were an American creation.)
For a more authentic Latin dish, visit Chow in Bend or the Cottonwood Café in Sisters. Both serve huevos motuleños, a special that originated in the Yucatán. This is one of those, I-can’t-wait-to-eat it again meals. The crispy fried tortillas, smoky salsa roja, sweet baby peas, crumbly cotija cheese and roasted shishito peppers are topped with a perfectly fried egg. Each ingredient shouted its individual flavors, which blended in delicious harmony. My dish also had sweet bursts from plantains that are traditionally used but, unfortunately, are hard to obtain fresh in Central Oregon.
French food is also ubiquitous at American eateries. Crêpes (thin pancakes), which originated in Brittany in northwestern France, may be served either savory or sweet. Quiche Lorraine is typically presented in this country with smoked bacon in a deep-dish egg custard; in France it uses lardons (fatty pork bits) that are salt-cured but not smoked.
If you want to step out and try something different, it’s not hard to take a virtual trip overseas for breakfast with one of these globally inspired dishes.
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