Category Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
Here are the two most difficult steps of baking a quiche: 1) making pastry dough; and 2) waiting for the quiche to be done while trying to ignore the tantalizing aromas emanating from the oven.
The first step is easily overcome by purchasing a pre-made pie shell, or making your own in advance (try this easy recipe for pie crust) and placing in the freezer until ready to use. For the second step, sadly, there is no known solution…
Quiches of all varieties are enticing, but I’m particularly fond of Quiche Lorraine – salty, smoky slab bacon baked with sultry Swiss cheeses. Slab bacon is quite easy to find these days. I picked some up at my local grocer, but you can just as easily ask your butcher for some. As far as the cheese goes, I recommend Gruyere or Swiss, but what I really like to do is blend the two together for even greater intensity.
Hope you have enough patience to bake and wait for this tantalizing breakfast in bed!
1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
4 to 6 ounces slab bacon
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1 cup half and half
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Dash of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350°. Place pie crust into glass or ceramic pie dish. Cover bottom with parchment paper and set pie weights (or dried beans) on top of paper. Bake for about 10 t0 12 minutes, just to set. Remove from oven, discard paper, and set aside.
Chop bacon into small cubes. Cook in a heavy pan over medium heat until lightly cooked and fat is rendered, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels for a few minutes. Spread cooked bacon evenly in bottom of pie crust. Layer cheese evenly on top of bacon.
Break eggs into large bowl. Add cream and whisk until frothy, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture on top of bacon and cheese, filling to the top so that just the pie crust rim remains visible.
Place quiche on a baking tray and then in oven. Bake for around 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and quiche is puffed up and golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve hot, with fresh fruit or a salad on the side.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
If you’re a fan of the grilled cheese sandwich / tomato soup combo, you will love this old-fashioned treat straight out of the annals of Grandma’s recipe book. As children, my sister and I were amazed by the first bite of shockingly sweet pudding-like tomato bread, followed by the verge to savory with a finish of glorious melted cheese. Our grandma would make us each an individual dish, which we would gobble down for breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in between.
Merriam-Webster has this to say about the transitive verb “scallop”:
[from the use of a scallop shell as a baking dish] : to bake in a sauce usually covered with seasoned bread or cracker crumbs <scalloped potatoes>
I like to make my own croutons for this recipe. Make extra for salads or stuffing. Drop the herbs and garlic for a more puddingly sweet version, or skip the sugar for an old-fashioned breakfast in bed even Grandma would approve.
2 thick slices of stale crusty bread (about 1 cup)
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried parsley
2 large tomatoes (about 1½ – 2 cups, or 1 14.4-ounce can diced or stewed tomatoes)
1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup grated mozzarella (or other) cheese
Fresh chives, for garnish
To make croutons, preheat oven to 350°. Cut bread into ½-inch cubes. Toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir in basil, oregano and parsley. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake until crisped, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Spray 2 small ramekins or baking dishes and set aside.
Fill a heavy pot with enough water to cover tomatoes and bring to a boil. Blanch tomatoes for less than one minute. Remove tomatoes from water, cool, and peel off skins. Chop tomatoes into small cubes, and allow to drain, reserving tomato juice.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until lightly bubbling, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, adding reserved tomato juice if sauce becomes too thick. Remove from heat.
Toss croutons into tomato mixture, stir in cheese, then scoop into prepared ramekins. Bake in the oven until hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh chives and serve hot.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by: Alison Hein
In Iva’s native Albania, this satisfying, savory breakfast is known simply as “bread and eggs”. Well, give this recipe a whirl and you’ll find out it’s anything but simple. Thick slices of Italian bread or French baguette are cut on a jaunty diagonal, then saturated in pure beaten egg. Iva likes to sometimes add a little zing with some fresh or dried oregano. The egg-soaked bread slices are then fried to a golden crisp in rich extra virgin olive oil, and served with a generous scoop of tangy, brined feta cheese.
Iva advises serving “bread and eggs” with a sweet melon salad. “You must also add grapes,” she says. “The sweet fruit is a wonderful balance to the rich, savory bread and zesty feta.”
Thank you for the wonderful idea, Iva!
Now I’m off to make myself a savory treat and my first ever Albanian breakfast in bed!
Savory French Toast
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon fresh (or ¼ teaspoon dried) oregano (optional)
8 slices fresh or day old Italian or French bread, cut on the diagonal
2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ to 1 cup feta cheese
In large, shallow dish, whisk eggs until thick. Add salt and mix well. Stir in oregano, if using. Dip bread slices into the egg mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Don’t over soak or the soft bread will fall apart.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add bread slices and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add more olive oil as needed. Remove from pan and serve warm with feta cheese and melon salad.
Makes 4 servings.
1 cup red seedless grapes
1 cup chopped cantaloupe
1 cup chopped honeydew melon
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
Drizzle of honey
Wash and chop all fruit. Use a melon baller, if you like, for a nice presentation. Add all fruit to a large bowl. Toss with mint leaves. Drizzle with a bit of honey, if you like.
Makes 4 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Ever since I perused my mother’s old cookbooks and cooked up a thick, savory Wicklow Pancake last week, I’ve had Irish food on my mind: thoughts of Irish food + Irish whiskey = Irish Whiskey Cake! Anything but savory, this boozy cake is a real palate pleaser.
Use a high quality, unsalted Irish butter, and a generous hand when pouring out the whiskey. This is no cake for the faint-hearted – the deep, smooth feel of Jameson (or other Irish whiskey) lingers on the tongue, and the finished texture has the quality of flowing amber.
You will need to use a bit of sugar, and a significant citrus flavor for balance. Here I’ve used a whole lemon, but an orange would be just as nice, leading the palate in a slightly different direction. If you like candied rind or fruit, feel free to toss some in the batter before baking. Or, decorate your cake with some thin-sliced lemon or orange.
Let the finished cake rest a bit before removing from the pan. When ready, invert it onto a pretty serving plate and dust it with powdered sugar. Then, brew some strong Irish tea, and please your palate with this sweet and boozy breakfast in bed.
1 stick butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup milk
¼ cup Irish whiskey
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
Juice and rind of 1 lemon (approximately 1 teaspoon grated rind, 3 tablespoons juice)
1 teaspoon lemon oil (optional)
Powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top of cake
Preheat oven to 325°. Generously grease a tube pan and set aside.
Add butter and sugar to a large bowl, and cream together until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, until batter is light and smooth. Pour milk into small bowl and stir in Irish whiskey. Mix flour and baking soda together. Alternately add whiskey mixture and flour mixture into batter, stirring thoroughly after each addition. Stir in lemon juice, grated rind, and lemon oil if using.
Spoon batter into tube pan, smoothing surface with spatula. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on rack for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and invert onto serving plate. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar.
Makes 1 cake, 16 to 20 slices.
Post by Alison Hein.
Sometimes, when I’m looking for inspiration, I turn to my mother’s collection of old cookbooks. There is something meditative about leafing through a pile of worn and tattered recipe collections that provides a lot more satisfaction than a Google search. Maybe because I’m not sure of what I’m looking for. 🙂
One of my favorite of these little books is The Art of Irish Cooking by Monica Sheridan. Peppered with quotes, tips and sayings, the writing is as engaging as the recipes. Irish food is often underappreciated, but I admire its creative adaptations of local, fresh ingredients.
Almost stark in its simplicity, the Wicklow Pancake is a crisp and savory carrier for a medley of fresh green herbs. More omelet or frittata than pancake, and sometimes called an Irish Omelet, this dish is alleged to be a specialty of County Wicklow (just south of Dublin) which first appeared around the turn of the 20th century. Use day old bread to make your own fresh breadcrumbs for authenticity and a more pancake-like texture. Be sure to use a generous hand when seasoning, and place a large pat of butter on top of the pancake before serving. It can be a little tricky to flip this thick concoction. Go easy on yourself if you’re having trouble, and turn the half-cooked pancake into a second heated and buttered pan. Then slice it up into quarters (farls in Irish) and strew with some additional fresh thyme leaves for a savory breakfast in bed that I hope you find inspiring.
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
1 cup plain, fresh breadcrumbs (use day old bread to make your own)
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional herbs for garnish (optional)
Melt half the butter in a heavy 6-inch pan over medium low heat.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in the milk, breadcrumbs, parsley, chives and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
When the butter is hot, pour the egg / breadcrumb mixture into the pan, evening out to cover the bottom. Continue to cook over medium low to low heat until eggs begin to set and bottom is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Carefully flip the pancake and cook on the other side until firm and browned, another 5 or 6 minutes. Cut in quarters and top each with a dab of remaining butter. Garnish with additional fresh herbs, if you like.
Makes 2 servings.
Recipe adapted from The Art of Irish Cooking by Monica Sheridan