"Brunch is the most boring meal in the world," says Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese. It’s not that granola, eggs, and waffles aren’t delicious, it’s that they’ve become untouchable. Eggs are to be Beneditced, waffles laced with vanilla and drenched in syrup, and crunchy cereals served with cold milk and maybe a sprinkling of chopped fruit. But, like with any other meal, you can experiment with these classics. Why not start with savory cereal? Recently Bowien experimented with a menu of innovations on classic Kellogg boxed cereals, and has some tips for how to kick up your breakfast game.
Use the Sweetness
Making savory dishes out of dry cereal may sound counterintuitive, as many of them come pre-sweetened. But according to Bowien, the balance of sweet and salty is one you should use. "With Chinese food, when we make our fried rice, we add a tiny bit of sugar to it," he says, which enhances the saltiness. So adding savory spices like cumin to your cereal, or eating it topped with a fried egg can really change the way you perceive that sweetness.
Commit to Texture
There is nothing grosser than cold cereal that's gone mushy sitting in milk for too long, save for maybe undercooked oatmeal. If it’s going to be crunchy, keep it crunchy, and if it’s going to be creamy it has to stay that way. Bowien admits to having trouble with that. "When we did our Raisin Bran dish, we decided we wanted to braise it. And it was mushy and not really awesome." So if you want it to stay crunchy, eat it right away after adding milk or other liquids, and if you want that creamy texture, make sure the cereal has time to steep.
Infuse your Milk
One of the quickest ways to experiment with cereal is to infuse the milk you serve it with. For infusions, Bowien suggests going with a low-fat milk, or something like almond or peanut milk. From there, your imagination is the limit. "You can put saffron in your milk, or spices like cinnamon," says Bowien. One of his favorites was a curry powder and coconut milk–infused peanut milk, which he serves with a crunchy cereal like Honey Bunches of Oats and a squeeze of lime. "It sounds weird, but when you go to brunch and you’re having some hash that has turkey sausage and apples and raisins in it, that’s also weird." The key is to try different things, not just what the cereal box suggests. "We rely so heavily on instructions,” says Bowien. "Be different with what you do. You live one time, you know?"
CORN POPS Benton's bacon broth, fried egg
- Kellogg's Corn Pops
- 1 lb Benton’s bacon or very high quality smoky bacon, diced
- 3 cups soy milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 egg
- pinch of Maldron salt
- pinch of togarashi
Instructions for bacon broth:
- Slowly fry the bacon until crispy, reserve bits for garnish.
- Add chicken stock and soy milk, bring to a simmer and skim any foam that rises to surface.
- Fry 1 egg per guest and season with Maldon salt and togarashi.
- Fill bowls with broth, cereal, egg, garnish with togarashi chili powder and bacon bits.
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