Quinoa Skillet Bread – IHCC Face-the-Day

The Breakfast Book, is one of the most enduring cookbooks of its time from Marion Cunningham, a food writer and advocate of home cooking, who served as an assistant to James Beard and discovered many new talents, like Alice Waters. She tirelessly promoted the idea that breakfast ought to be the most important and the best meal of the day. (If you have a friend who is getting married, get her this book.) It is a classic and a treasure.

I’m certainly guilty of not following her sage advice, often favoring something fast and easy for breakfast on-the-go or nothing at all, besides a cup of latte. There is no denying that breakfasts can be very special, served in bed on birthdays and in a dining room somewhere while on vacation. It sets the tone of the day, if not creating some hard-to-forget lifetime memories.

Thanks to Marion Cunningham’s custard-filled corn bread which Heidi Swanson adapted to become the quinoa skillet bread, I have uncovered the most unbelievable breakfast bread. If you have tasted Cunningham’s corn bread, you’d understand what I mean. Or take a look at Swanson’s recipe and see for yourself the magic behind a nutritious and custard-filled quinoa-based quick bread. A few strong points:

  • First, the wholesome ingredients: The three big ones are cooked quinoa (200 gram), whole wheat pastry flour (115 gram) and coarse cornmeal (115 gram). I don’t think you can load up any more quinoa in a bread. Similar small grains come to mind. Like quinoa, amaranth and millet offer high protein and no gluten. Furthermore, you can easily substitute wheat pastry flour in this recipe for a gluten-free variety, if you like.
  • Second, the unsual technique to create the custard layer: The heavy cream is poured over the batter and the skillet goes directly into the oven. Swanson writes: “Have faith and do not stir.” I wonder where this no-stirring technique comes from. The result is remarkable. There is a layer of cream floating in between the crust and the corn-quinoa and bread crumb layer below.
  • Third, the pan and the cooking/serving vessel: In this recipe, a 10-inch cast-iron skillet is recommended. I can see using mini cast-iron pans or muffin tins to make individual-portion single servings.

Imagine this bread, a bowl of fresh berries and a cup of latte on a tray served to you in bed on your birthday. I hope someone out there is paying attention to this suggestion. You are serving up and set the tone for healthful food, good will and excess energy to start a day!

How do you get that custard layer there? Not stirring.



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  • Reply
    January 21, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    What an interesting bread recipe, worth to try. And berries are always a good start for the day

  • Reply
    January 22, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    This is such a fun twist on cornbread. I love the idea of pouring the cream over to create a custard. I imagine it also helps to add some moisture back in as well. Delicious and pretty:)

  • Reply
    January 23, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Oh, I love the idea of trying this recipe…it looks just wonderful on that plate. Mark loves cornbread and I am sure he would think this was a good use of my time! Nice choice.

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