Each year that goes by, my realm of potential careers seems to dwindle. Long gone are my dreams of rising to fame as a child prodigy, or taking sailing leaps on the moon in a shabby-chic space suit. And now it's looking increasingly unlikely that I'll be striding through Sochi as America's star figure skater in tomorrow's 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
But even if your chances of being an Olympic champion are, shall we say, slim, you can still eat like one! Enter this celebratory breakfast buffet, generously modeled after the athlete's diet: calories, calories, and more calories is the name of this game. On your marks, get set, go!
Homemade Breakfast Sausage Patties
First up, a hearty round of meat! We season our ground pork with sage, thyme, and rosemary, with a touch of hot cayenne and some sweetness from brown sugar and nutmeg. Smush 'em out on a skillet or make patties for the grill—either way, you'll wind up with sweet, spicy, fresh, and meaty sausages that blow their pre-made competition out of the water.
Eggs Baked on Grits with Bacon and Tomatoes
It's not a breakfast buffet without a hefty load of eggs. Show some team spirit with this quintessential American meal of rich and creamy grits, topped with barely-set baked eggs and a smoky-sweet sauté of bacon and tomatoes. Prefer your eggs in scramble? Get fancy with some lobster and chive scrambled eggs or go for a classic steak 'n' eggs scenario.
Beet and Potato Hash
A box grater is all you'll need to create the ribbons of beets and russet potatoes called for in this quick, greasy-in-a-good-way plate of hash browns. Balance the sweetness of the beets with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chives for a crowd-pleasing starchy side.
Rum and Pear Pancakes
A splash of rum adds some boozy spice to soft cooked pears. Folded into a standard pancake batter, it brings unexpected complexity to the breakfast staple. But if savory's more your thing, don't skip this course—give our bacon, cheese, and scallion-studded waffles a shot, instead!
Caramel Sticky Buns
This recipe from the Serious Eats book yields light and tender rolls, packed with brown sugar and cinnamon. Gild the lily with a pour of gooey caramel (with some extra on the side for dipping), and your breakfast marathon is nearly complete. The only other thing you'll need is something to wash it all down...
The Ultimate, Fully Loaded Bloody Mary
Okay, so real Olympic athletes may not take a side of vodka with their carb-packed breakfast, but that's hardly reason to punish ourselves. We've laid out our thoughts, feelings, and even the science behind this archetypal morning beverage here, but if you just want to get mixing, you can jump straight to the recipe below!