Category Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
Through a perfectly advantageous alignment of the stars (or perhaps the contents of my pantry), and the great generosity of my sweet niece Rebecca, I’ve come up with a New Year’s Day breakfast to start the year off right.
Rebecca presented me with a rustic slate board / serving tray that she knew I would enjoy using and photographing for the blog. Right you are, Rebecca – look how cute it looks with a mélange of makings artfully arranged upon its smooth surface! Playing a little game of mix and match, I ended with a grouping of powerful yet balanced flavors – sweet, salted Black Forest ham; pungent, creamy chèvre;
and foresty, aromatic rosemary.
Use a heart-shaped ring for cooking if you have one. Make this dish for a loved one. Start the new year off with a great and generous breakfast in bed.
I wish you a very Happy New Year in which the stars are perfectly aligned!
Heart-shaped egg rings
Goat Cheese Rosemary Hearts
2 slices of bread suitable for toasting, such as brioche or Texas toast
2 thin slices Black Forest ham
1 tablespoon butter
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) goat cheese
½ to 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
Use the heart-shaped egg ring to cut out two hearts from the bread and ham slices. Set aside while cooking eggs.
Heat a heavy frying pan over low heat. Add butter, continuing to heat until butter is melted. Crack eggs into a small bowl and whisk until thick and yellow. Add goat cheese, mixing together with a fork. The mixture does not need to be perfectly smooth as cheese will melt during cooking. Stir in chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
Place two heart-shaped rings in the frying pan, then carefully pour half of the egg mixture into each ring. Cover, and continue to cook over low heat until eggs are set and lightly crisped on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook the eggs in the oven at 350° for about the same amount of time.
While eggs are cooking, toast bread. Place toasted hearts on a warmed plate, then top each with a slice of ham and one egg heart. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
NOTE: You can find heart-shaped egg rings in local kitchen specialty stores, or on many popular websites, such as Amazon.com. You can also make this recipe without the rings, cooking the eggs in two smaller pans and placing on top of regular toast.
Post by Alison Hein.
Are you scrambling for last minute gift items during this hectic holiday season? Well, here are some food ideas that might help fill the bill. From Christmas to Kwanzaa, Hanukkah to Solstice celebrations, you may have everything you need already right in your own kitchen:
Cookies – Obvious, I know. But have you ever met anyone who doesn’t love cookies? Arrange them on a lovely gift plate, fill up a feathery basket, or simply wrap up small bundles of them in plastic wrap and tie them with pretty bows. You may want to try a traditional Austrian sugar-dusted Christmas cookie like Vannilekipferl. Or maybe the petite, sesame Benne Wafers, irresistible tucked into a tiny napkin-lined basket. Green Tea Macadamia Cookies make a delightful surprise wrapped in clear plastic and tied with a raffia bow.
Muffins – How sweet to buy a nice muffin tin (look for a decorative one), then bake some muffins for a friend. Wrap the whole mix with plastic wrap, tuck the recipe in the side, and tie it up tight with a big, red bow. Chai Tea Muffins are a nice choice for their light texture and fragrant spices. Old-fashioned Maple Corn Muffins are delicious. Whip up a batch of Maple Honey Butter as a sweet accompaniment.
Scones – Tuck these sweet baked goods in a cozy napkin, along with a jar of your favorite jam or jelly. Blueberry Scones and Brown Sugar Scones have simple, satisfying flavors that go well with sweet fruit spreads.
Savory Breads – Wheaty Baguettes are tasty and pleasing. Gift them in a bread basket lined with a festive kitchen towel. Or simply wrap them in brown paper and tie them with kitchen twine for a clean, just-bought look. For your gluten-free friends, you may want to try Buckwheat Blini. Add a little note with serving suggestions for these tiny traditional Russian pancakes. For real fun, bake some Flowerpot Bread. The seasoned terra cotta pot makes an unusual and much talked-about gift.
Sweet Breads – Buy some baby loaf pans in bright colors (I’ve seen them for about $1 at local craft stores). Figure on a typical sweet bread recipe filling three to four of these little babies. As you know, I love mini-everything, and so will your gift recipients. Classic Walnut Bread and Banana Bread are two of my favorites.
Granola – Granola never fails. Be sure to package it in a sparkling glass jar for optimal effect.
Butter – You friends and family may find Butter to be a bit of an odd gift – until they taste it, that is. For more concentrated flavor, make and refrigerate the butter a week or two in advance.
Best of All – Give your loved ones the gift of luxury, of indulgence, of love – Breakfast in Bed!
(Print out the attached coupon, or create your own if you like, to tuck into a card or stocking.)
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Post by Alison Hein.
Remember those Lemon Ricotta Pancakes I was talking about recently? A friendly stranger told me about the most divine lemon ricotta pancakes she had enjoyed at the Stoneacre Pantry in Newport, Rhode Island, and I used that info as inspiration to make Lemon Ricotta Egg Cups . This past week, I decided to give the pancakes a shot. At issue? I hadn’t exactly seen or tasted these illustrious flapjacks. No matter. I just made something up. 🙂
There is something about the combination of tart and tangy citrus with fresh, creamy ricotta that is almost impossible to get wrong (that was my hope at any rate). I decided to make my batter a little sweeter than usual, to offset the sharp lemon flavor. And, because the ricotta tends to make the batter a little thinner than regular pancakes, so that it spreads, crêpe-like, in the pan, I cooked them a bit longer at a slightly lower flame height. Since these were special hotcakes, I made a simple syrup, substituting lemon juice for water. Just a touch goes a long way due to the intense, concentrated citrus flavor of the syrup. (Use any extra to sweeten and lemonize hot or iced tea in one fell swoop!)
The result? Aerated, fluffy hotcakes infused with a little zing for a zesty breakfast in bed. Someday I’ll have to go to Stoneacre Pantry for a tasting and to see if I’ve come anywhere close to the original. 😉
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups milk
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons (one half stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus additional for cooking
Zest and juice the lemon. Set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Gradually whisk in milk, then the eggs one at a time, then the lemon juice and zest, mixing well after each addition. Gently stir in ricotta cheese. Slowly add melted butter to batter. The batter should be thick, smooth and creamy.
Place a pan or griddle on the stove over medium heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan for the first pancake and reduce heat to medium low. Ladle batter into pan and cook until small bubbles appear throughout pancake, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip once with spatula and continue cooking until golden brown, another minute or two. Adjust heat and add butter as needed while cooking. Serve hot with lemon syrup.
Makes 8 to 10 4-inch pancakes.
1 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice
Pour sugar into a small heavy saucepan. Add lemon juice and mix well. Place over medium-high to high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until syrup is thickened. Set aside to cool.
Post by Alison Hein.
My sweet little German cousin Nina recently visited us with her charming boyfriend, Michael. Two weeks after their departure, I received a large, intriguing envelope postmarked Munich. Inside I found Grandma’s German Cookbook by Birgit Hamm and Linn Schmidt, which contains an extensive and authentic array of traditional recipes. Nina and Michael had also annotated, peppering the pages with bits of information, advice, and favorites. Smack in the center of the book was Kaiserschmarrn – a much beloved Austrian and Bavarian indulgence, and one which I had not considered in quite some time.
Etymology for this butter-crisped, shredded pancake is interesting. Kaiser for emperor, and schmarrn for a word which means mishmash, or mess. Stories abound regarding how this dish came into being, but I prefer to think of it as a happy accident – a crêpe gone awry, miraculously rescued by an innovative (or desperate!) chef and transformed into a delicacy fit for a king.
Crisp, beaten egg whites aerate the batter and keep the Kaiserschmarrn light. Use a gentle hand folding them into the somewhat thick batter to retain the airiness. There are many variations to this delectable recipe – replace cream with milk for a thinner result, or add extra sugar to the batter for a cake-like feel. Serve with fruit, or sweet sauce; soak the raisins in apple juice instead of rum; or dust the Kaiserschmarrn with sugar and caramelize it under the broiler. Or, perhaps best of all, dress your crispy Kaiserschmarrn with powdered sugar and eat it straight from the pan for a breakfast in bed that’s fit for a king.
¼ cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon rum
3 eggs, separated
½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Place golden raisins into a small bowl. Cover with rum and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes.
In large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, heavy cream, flour, sugar and salt until thick and smooth. Fold beaten egg whites gently into batter.
Place a 12–inch diameter heavy frying pan on stove over medium heat. Add butter to pan. When melted, pour in batter to cover. Sprinkle rum-soaked raisins on top. Continue to cook over medium heat. When batter begins to set, gently tear and push apart the dough (using a wooden spatula) into bite-sized pieces. Flip pieces to cook other side. Cook until lightly browned and crisped. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Makes 1 Kaiserschmarrn; or 2 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Before we let go of autumn and plunge into winter’s chilly arms, why don’t we briefly revisit the harvest with some old-fashioned, homey Pumpkin Butter? A jar of this sweet spread is a time capsule that will bring you back to days past as you enjoy its cozy, pumpkin pie flavors. Make your own flavorful purée by roasting or steaming fresh pumpkins, or use a pre-packaged can for a quick, easy delight.
It’s “butter” only in the sense that it is spreadable. Pumpkin purée, brown sugar and pie spices thicken up and colors darken as they cook into a “shmearable” substance, just right for a slice of hearty toasted bread. Or, try a spoonful of Pumpkin Butter stirred into some hot oatmeal for a delicious diversion. You may also like it scooped on top of some freshly baked waffles, or even mixed into a dish of plain yogurt. Packed neatly into a glass mason jar, pumpkin butter makes a lovely gift as well.
Years ago, many families prepared and canned their own pumpkin butter. In recent years, however, the USDA warns against canning pumpkin (and other squash varieties) due to the low acid content of the vegetable. While some people still preserve pumpkin butter, adding lemon juice or vinegar to raise the acidity levels, I think it best we follow the guidance of the USDA and simply eat it immediately – spread, scooped or stirred – for an old-fashioned, homey breakfast in bed.
1 15-ounce can (or 2 cups fresh) pumpkin purée
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine pumpkin purée, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and vanilla in small heavy saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, then cook until thickened and flavors are melded, stirring occasionally, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool, and place in jar. Use immediately, freeze, or refrigerate and use within one week.