Category Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
I’ve been thinking about Washington state since the Super Bowl last week (one I’m sure Seahawks fans would like to forget). But Washingtonians can still be thankful for the glorious bounty of local food products. If you’ve ever been to colorful Pike Street Market in Seattle you’ll know what I mean – fresh seafood piled artfully on crushed blue ice; reds and purples and greens of giant radishes, eggplants and peppers; and the lovingly grown apples, berries and ruby red cherries.
Many years ago I picked cherries while I was living in eastern Washington. They were so lush and plump, so fun to snap off the branches, a sturdy pop and then the freeing of the fruit. Many were eaten right on the spot, but many more ended up in a heavy cardboard box. I took them home and ate some more. Then I froze some, canned some, dried some, and made cherry jam. Finally, I made the pièce de résistance – bubbling hot, sweet and spiced, lattice work cherry pie.
Later that year, during a sparse winter, I remembered my dried cherries. Why not bring some cheer to my boring oatmeal breakfast? I would add some dried cherries to my rolled grain, some brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon, then let the flavors slowly simmer and meld. Why not have a cherry-pie-like breakfast in bed?
1 cup water
Dash of salt
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup dried tart cherries
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of cinnamon
Pat of butter
Pour water and salt into a small heavy saucepan. Bring liquid to a slow boil over medium heat. Stir in oats, reduce heat to low, and cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally. Stir in dried cherries, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Cover and cook on very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until oats are soft and mixture is thickened. Spoon oatmeal into a bowl and top with a pat of butter. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Alison Hein.
The big Game Day fast approaches. Time to think about Super Bowl breakfast or brunch. This year I chose to go with the Seahawks to honor the lovely and bountiful Evergreen State.
Washington is the source for many fine food products, including many varieties of fruit, grain, and seafood. But the local wild salmon ranks among the best in the world. Add a little smoke to the fish, and you’ve got the perfect partner for a traditional savory Breton crêpe. Earthy, buckwheat flour complements the lush, buttery salmon. Creamy crème fraîche adds a luxurious note, and fresh, green dill brings color and balance.
If you are not accustomed to working with buckwheat (which is no relation to wheat and a great gluten-free option), it may take you awhile to get used to the consistency of the batter. Thick and grainy when first mixed, it tends to separate as it sits. Be sure to stir the batter often as you cook up a batch of crêpes. Even if you’re not expecting a big crowd, go ahead and cook the whole batch. Then, lay each crêpe on a piece of parchment paper, stack them up and slip them into a plastic bag, then freeze them for future use.
Whether you’re rooting for New England or Seattle, I hope you start the day with this lovely, bountiful breakfast in bed.
1¼ cups buckwheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
¾ cup milk
1¼ cups water
4 ounces smoked wild salmon
¼ cup crème fraîche (or sour cream)
1 bunch fresh dill
Add buckwheat flour and salt to a large bowl. Add eggs, vegetable oil, milk and water and whisk until smooth batter forms. Add additional water for a thinner batter, if you like.
Heat a 10-inch-diameter nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan with oil. Add ¼ cup of batter to pan, tilting to coat bottom. Cook crêpe until golden on bottom, 30 to 45 seconds, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning.
Using a spatula or butter knife, flip crêpe and continue to cook until dark gold, about 1 minute longer. Keep warm, while continuing the process with the remainder of batter.
To serve, delicately roll crêpe into a long cylinder. Place about ¼ of an ounce of smoked salmon on the rolled crêpe, then top with a teaspoon of crème fraîche and a sprig of dill. Repeat with remaining crêpes.
Makes 12 – 16 crêpes.
Post by Alison Hein.
If I close my eyes, I can smell tangy citrus mingling with the aroma of warm butterscotch. A feathery light, golden yellow cake appears in my mind, glistening with a sweet drizzly glaze, sparkling with lemon zest – my mother’s unique and lovely Lemon Bundt Cake.
My mother, Evelyn, cooked with the hands of her mother before her, and her mother’s mother before that. Flavors, methods, timing so ingrained, memories and tradition moving seamlessly from generation to generation. No written recipes required.
So, while I like to imagine I am the kind of baker who can exactly replicate flavors from memory, my cake is a second runner up to Mom’s. Nevertheless, this cake is permeated with pure, fresh lemon juice and intriguing bits of tangy rind. Nothing more than a dusting of powdered sugar is needed to finish this moist, golden bundt. If you like, a sweet confectionary glaze with just-squeezed lemon juice is also lovely sometimes.
To make the glaze, pour some powdered sugar into a bowl (start with ½ cup and make more as needed) and add just enough lemon juice to make a thick but pourable substance. Pour the liquid on top of the cake, and allow it to drizzle down the sides a little without touching the plate. When set (wait at least 30 minutes), the sweet, drippy patterns are nearly irresistible and add a touch of elegance to this simple cake.
In the morning, delicately toast a slice or two and serve them with hot tea or coffee for a memorable breakfast in bed.
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
Juice and grated rind on one lemon
1½ teaspoons lemon oil or lemon flavoring
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in lemon juice, rind and oil. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to batter, alternating with milk, stirring gently after each addition until batter is thick and creamy. Pour batter into greased tube pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before inverting. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, or cover with lemon glaze.
Post by Alison Hein.
Artichokes, whose dusty green sharp-leaved plants protect their tender succulent centers, are actually a species of thistle. They are native to the Mediterranean area, and have been cultivated as food since at least the ancient Greek and Roman periods. Somehow, they made their way through Spain into France, then to the US in the 19th century – to California by Spanish immigrants and to Louisiana by the French.
If you’ve every painstakingly worked your way through dozens and dozens of spiky outer leaves to reveal the thistly choke-protected base of an artichoke, then diligently scraped away the tiny, splintery bracts to reach the exquisite, savory heart, and nibbled your way through that delicious, delicate orb, you’ll know why these thistles are beloved the world over.
These days, artichoke rounds can be purchased already cleaned and stacked neatly in cans making it simple to indulge in this delicacy on a daily basis. Artichokes are rich in antioxidants and low in calories. Gently warmed, topped with a poached egg and a sprinkling of buttered bread crumbs, Artichoke eggs make a tender, succulent breakfast in bed.
2 artichoke bottoms
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat artichoke bottoms in a slow oven and keep warm while preparing eggs and breadcrumbs.
Melt butter in heavy saucepan and continue to cook until browned. Add breadcrumbs and continue to cook until crispy, another minute or two. Set aside.
Eggs should be as fresh as possible for perfect poaching. To poach eggs, fill a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover eggs (3 to 4 inches) and heat until very hot and simmering, but not boiling. Break eggs into individual small dishes. Or you can use an egg poacher. Carefully pour the first egg into the simmering water. Immediately use a wooden spoon to wrap the cooking white around the egg yolk to prevent the white from feathering. Repeat the process with the second egg, and cook for about four minutes, until the white is firm but the yolk is still soft. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain. Trim edges if necessary.
Place each egg on top of an artichoke bottom. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
My mother-in-law, Jeannie, obtained this traditional Irish scone recipe from Mrs. O’Callaghan herself in 1961. Jeannie began baking Mrs. O’Callaghan’s delicious scones as a young newlywed, and has continued to do so for the past 50 years! My husband and his siblings still clamor for them whenever they visit their mother.
Who was Mrs. O’Callaghan? She was my mother-in-law’s sister-in-law’s mother-in-law. Funny, I know, but true. Jeannie has modified Mrs. O’Callaghan’s recipe slightly over the years – she adds 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds instead of the original teaspoon, bakes the scones in round cake pans instead of an old-fashioned cast iron frying pan, and skips the buttermilk brushed on top after baking.
I decided to keep Jeannie’s extra caraway seeds, use Mrs. O’Callaghan’s frying pan, and add my own twist of golden raisins. Even with variations, this is a remarkably easy and wonderful recipe. It takes only minutes to mix up the butterless batter, and the long baking time is made easier by the heavenly, wafting aroma that emanates from the kitchen. The scones rise high in the oven, and finish with a consistency light and even, and a flavor balanced by sweet raisins and savory caraway.
While I never had the good fortune to meet Mrs. O’Callaghan, I recently came to know some of her grandchildren. They too have slightly modified their Nan’s recipe over the years, but all still continue to bake, infusing their homes with delightful aromas and making wonderful memories for the next generation. A breakfast in bed to remember.
3 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups buttermilk
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup raisins (or golden raisins)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir baking soda into buttermilk. Pour buttermilk mixture and lightly beaten egg into dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Batter should be thick but spreadable. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.
Grease and flour a 10-inch cast iron frying pan. Spread batter evenly in pan. Place in oven and bake until scones are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in top comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Alternatively, grease and flour two round 8-inch cake pans. Divide batter evenly between the two pans and reduce baking time to about 45 minutes.
Remove scone from pan and brush top with a little buttermilk, if you like. Wrap immediately in a tea towel so scones remain warm and soft. When ready to serve, cut scone in wedges. Serve warm with good Irish butter.
Makes 12 to 14 scones.