In this day and age, we all know the benefits of cooking and eating your food at home. Preparing your own food is not only good for your budget but it can benefit your state of mind and your waist as well. However, there is one small problem with this notion: Brunch in Philadelphia. The Philly brunch scene is not to be ignored under any circumstances, especially when there are gems like newcomer Green Eggs Cafe luring you into their welcoming space in South Philly.
Green Eggs Cafe is a relatively new but positively buzzing hot spot in South Philly run by Stephen J. Slaughter and William Bonfort. These guys really know their breakfast and lunch foods. Peanut butter stuffed French toast and a skillet dish known as The Kitchen Sink adorn the creative and sunny menu alongside sandwiches, sliders and addictive sweet potato fries. Worry not; there are many good-for-you options to be had at Green Eggs Cafe including their ultimate tofu scramble, a build-your-own egg white omelette option, artisan-made natural granola, and arguably the best breakfast dish in Philadelphia these days: quinoa porridge. Green Eggs Cafe whips up a mean porridge with amazing texture from the quinoa, warm cinnamon, gooey raisins, sweet berries and a generous drizzle of agave nectar. This dish deserves the time and effort of being recreated in the home kitchen.
A quirky little seed often mistaken for a grain, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) boasts a myriad of health benefits. It is gluten-free, high in calcium, iron, lysine, vitamin E and several B vitamins while also being low in fat and sodium. Not to mention, it is considered by some to be the perfect protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. Other grains can’t even boast half of the protein of quinoa! Just four ounces (about 1/2 cup) per day provides a child with all their needed protein intake for one day.
Quinoa tastes great hot or cold. Cooked quinoa is excellent in soups, stews, salads, stir fries or casseroles. This impressive seed brings great texture and a nutty, delicate flavor to any dish. The good news for busy home cooks is that quinoa cooks very quickly, usually in 15 minutes or less, and can be infused with flavor as it cooks just like rice or couscous. Try cooking your quinoa in fruit juice or your favorite stock when serving as a side dish or dry roasting the seeds in the oven when throwing into a cold salad.
After enjoying and raving over the quinoa porridge at Green Eggs Cafe, it was an easy decision to try to recreate that heavenly breakfast dish. A quick stroll around the corner to East Passyunk brings you to the door of Green Aisle Grocery. This boutique grocery is the brain child of brothers Adam and Andrew Erace, who created a one-stop-shop for the essentials and the obscure alike. Priding itself on its offerings, Green Aisle Grocery goes the extra mile to source local, artisanal, sustainable and high-quality food straight from the growers and producers. The Erace brothers are also refreshingly easy to engage in conversation about everything from their products to travel to their passion for all things Philadelphia.
Green Aisle’s ingredients and products have the ability to excite and pique your interest in food, especially all that is local to the Philadelphia farming and restaurant scene. Combine that with two brothers running the grocery who are quite possibly the nicest shop owners in the city, as well as extremely knowledgeable about their food and where it comes from, and you have one seriously enjoyable grocery shopping experience. Luckily, most of the ingredients needed to make a delicious pot of quinoa porridge come from the Erace brother’s specialty shop. Take a look at their product list to see the gems that are on offer. For the quinoa porridge, you will need regular or soy milk, cinnamon, cardamom and Madhava agave nectar; all can be found at Green Aisle.
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk (skim or soy preferred)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
Dash of sea salt
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp plain or vanilla yogurt
2 tsp agave nectar plus more to taste
Chopped fruit and nuts if desired
*Serves one hungry person or two people if you add toast and fruit.
Combine quinoa, water, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cardamom, salt and 1/4 cup of the milk in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, cinnamon, cardamom and the raisins and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes or until it reaches a thick consistency. Add agave nectar and yogurt; stir to combine. Serve in a bowl or mug with some sliced or whole berries and an extra drizzle of agave nectar on top.
If you would prefer to test the waters with savory versions of quinoa, try some of these tested and approved healthy recipes:
Quinoa, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Chive-Infused Oil
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Red Quinoa and Vegetables
Quinoa Stuffing with Leeks, Walnuts, and Cherries
Green Eggs Cafe
1306 Dickinson Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Green Aisle Grocery
1618 East Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148
*For more suggestions on enjoying brunch in Philadelphia, don’t miss Philly Mag’s Ultimate Philly Brunch Guide.