From time to time, we've all been desperate enough to eat dinner for breakfast. Think leftover pizza, fried rice or spaghetti fried up with eggs and cheese.
But the joys of those savory creations pale beside the guilty pleasure of eating breakfast for dinner.
Whether you're pouring syrup over a warm waffle or digging into spicy huevos rancheros, there's something comforting and nostalgic about this switch-hitter, historically used by moms to keep children's bellies full when time, energy and inspiration are lacking.
"Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?" said Lindsay Landis, author of a new cookbook on the subject. "The phrase simply brings a smile to people's faces."
Landis and her husband, Taylor Hackbarth, wrote "Breakfast for Dinner" after working together on a food blog, Love & Olive Oil. The cookbook was released in February, just in time for spring, when kids' baseball games and other activities ramp up and create a time crunch for families.
In the book, the couple serves up a wide array of recipes that draw from cultures all over the world. Some have close ties to the typical breakfast table, while others get inspiration from breakfast flavors such as maple syrup and bacon.
Their favorite recipe, Loco Moco, gives a new spin to that beloved Hawaiian fast-food dish consisting of rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and gravy. For their version, they substituted sticky coconut rice, ground pork and a sweet and spicy soy reduction sauce.
At Jeffrey's Hillside Cafe in Santa Rosa, chef/owner Jeffrey Madura serves up a wide range of hearty brunch dishes that are welcome at the dinner table as well.
Favorites range from classic American dishes like Joe's Special (eggs with ground beef, mushrooms, onions and spinach) to Chilaquiles, a Mexican breakfast dish.
"I've had that in Mexico for dinner time, just with black beans, fried tortillas and salsa verde," Madura said. "But you can add eggs to it."
Most of his Mexican breakfast dishes are so filling, they can sate appetites at any time of the day.
"For the Chiles Rellenos, we stuff our own peppers with queso fresco and serve them with Spanich rice and tortillas and eggs any style," he said. "Then we put a ranchero sauce and Cotija cheese on top."
Crepes are a versatile dish that can go in many different directions, both savory and sweet.
"We mostly do a chicken and shiitake mushroom crepe," he said. "But you could do seafood with scallops, rock shrimp, prawns or smoked salmon."
A simple, savory egg pie, better known as quiche in France, frittata in Italy and torta in Spain, also works well at all times of the day.
At the cafe, Madura also serves a variety of savory hashes made with meat and poultry, potatoes and seasonal vegetables, crowned with poached eggs.<NO><NO1>
"We do a Corned Duck Hash, and I've done a Smoked Salmon Hash with wild Pacific salmon," he said. "Our Vegetables Hash is one of the biggest sellers."
For the vegetable hash, Madura chops up earthy root vegetables like parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots and beets, and roasts them separately.
"I use the yellow and chiogga beets," he said. "The sweetness is much better when you're roasting them, and it really adds a nice contrast to the earthiness."