Category Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein
My greatest inheritance from my maternal grandmother Emily is a pile of frayed newspaper clippings, notebooks, and handwritten, yellowed recipes. I take them out occasionally for inspiration, or for a good chuckle over popular recipes from the 1940s. But sometimes I find them frustrating – Grandma, is this page permanently marked for Glazed Baked Apples or Peach Cobbler? Who were you writing to in your handwritten Starlight Double-Delight Cake recipe when you wrote “Good luck, Little Mother”? Or were YOU the Little Mother?
Well, this time I hit paydirt when leafing through Heckers’ Household Hints. In addition to loads of great tips (e.g. – to take the place of a paper clip, go to the sewing cabinet for a dress-snap), I found many inspiring recipe ideas. Heckers’ suggests making a “Home Prepared Flour” to store in the fridge. Then, when time avails, use it to create a variety of yummy choices such as Pineapple Pom-Poms, Orange Fluff Cake, or Aunt Hattie’s Sugar Cookies. It was the Cheese Bacon Shortcake, though, that won me over. Modified, modernized and renamed for my fellow blogger friend, Bacon Biscuit (take a look at her great blog, coolcookstyle.com, I’m pretty sure the layers of crumbly, cheesy, buttery bacon-topped biscuit will grab you too. Thanks Grandma, for an inspirational breakfast in bed.
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 uncooked bacon strips, cut in half
Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly grease pie pan and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and mix with flour, using a pastry cutter if you like, until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir vinegar into milk. Pour all at once into flour mixture, and stir until just mixed.
Roll out and press a little more than half the dough into a pie dish. Brush with melted butter and cover evenly with cheese. Pat or roll out the remaining dough into a circle slightly large enough to cover the bottom layer. Place on top of cheese. Place bacon strips on top, radiating out from the center in a star-like pattern. Bake at 450° until bacon is crisp and brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Makes one pie, about 8 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Caution! Your secrets are not safe with me. I have been known to sneak into restaurant kitchens and accost people in grocery stores in the quest to uncover their families’ culinary treasures.
I finagled this delightful Easter Bread recipe from a trusting soul encountered while getting a mani / pedi. It was quite impressive how my new friend remembered the ingredients and quantities. I silently recited the instructions over and over until my nails dried, then raced home to jot them down.
This method of bread-baking intrigued me. Normally, one would let the yeast activate, unmolested, while readying the remaining ingredients. I worried that the bread would not rise properly with too much disturbance of the yeast. This recipe also calls for no second rise of the dough, another surprise. Nevertheless, after fiddling with the methods and metrics (my silent recitations may have been flawed), I managed to produce a lovely golden braided ring. Lightly sweet and dense with a hint of vanilla, this stolen Easter Bread is pure pleasure when warm and daubed with butter.
Jazz it up by tucking a few colored eggs into the center of your circle – a lush adornment for your holiday table, or your breakfast tray.
4¼ cups flour
1 packet rapid rise yeast
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add two cups of flour to food processor. Sprinkle yeast on top of flour. Put milk, butter, sugar and salt into heavy saucepan and heat over medium heat until just melted. Pour milk mixture into food processor and pulse a few times. Add two eggs, vanilla and remaining 2¼ cups of flour to food processor. Pulse until dough starts to ball and pulls away from sides.
Turn dough out onto floured board, and separate into three equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece into a long rope, about 30 inches long. Loosely braid dough ropes into a circle, and place in a circular pan (I use a 10-inch diameter cake pan). Allow to rise in a warm place, covered, for about one hour, until almost doubled in size. Beat remaining egg and lightly brush over top of risen dough. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes until golden on top. Tuck a few colored eggs in the center of the ring, if you like. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.
Post by Alison Hein.
Last night we had friends over for a Puerto Rican feast – salty fried codfish fritters (bacalaiítos), spicy pastelillos de carne (meat turnovers), smoky black beans with chorizo (habichuelas negras con chorizo) and slow-cooked garlicky pork shoulder (pernil). Island flavors are a shockingly addictive blend of Spanish, African, Taino and Arawak products and seasonings. If you’re not familiar with this cuisine, I strongly recommend you get out there for a little taste of “Cocina Criolla”.
This morning, I found just the right ingredients for some Latin-flavored breakfast pastelillos, or spicy Puerto Rican half-moon shaped turnovers. I fried up some chorizo, then stirred in a bit of frothy green recaito, a mix of fresh pungent herbs, garlic, peppers and onions. Some eggs and a few more seasonings, and I was ready to fill and bake my pastelillos.
Thirty minutes later, we were savoring the steamy flavors of Cocina Criolla and a little taste of la Isla del Encanto.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 fresh chorizo sausage
2 tablespoons diced tomatoes, with juice (canned tomatoes work well)
2 tablespoons recaíto* (http://mixerupper.com/2012/08/17/recaito/)
2 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon milk or cream
8 pastelillo or empanada wrappers (or use puff pastry, rolled out ¼ inch thick, cut into 8 5-inch diameter circles)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in heavy pan over medium heat. Remove sausage casing from chorizo, and break into small pieces. Add chorizo to heated pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in diced tomatoes and recaíto. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, allowing flavors to meld. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil in small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Break 3 eggs into small bowl and whisk well with milk or cream. Add eggs to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently. Stir frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Remove eggs from heat when still a little soft. Stir into chorizo mixture.
Lay pastelillo wrappers out on flat surface, and place about 1½ tablespoons of chorizo-egg mixture in the center of each circle. Beat remaining egg, and brush around eggs of each wrapper. Fold each circle in half to form a half-moon shape, gently pressing edges together. Seal edges of each pastelillo by gently folding dough over in ¼-inch increments, or sealing with the tines of a fork. Place filled pastelillos on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes, until dough is golden and crispy. Serve fresh from the oven with a little hot sauce on the side, if you like.
Makes 8 pastelillos.
* If you can’t find the ingredients to make recaíto, substitute with: 1 minced garlic clove; 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro; 2 teaspoons finely diced yellow onion; and 2 teaspoons finely diced Cubanelle, Bell or Chili pepper.
Post by Alison Hein.
Albert Einstein once said, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.” Take bacon and eggs, for example. If you’ve ever eaten undercrisped bacon and overcooked eggs you’ll know what I mean.
My husband, Kevin, makes the best bacon and eggs I’ve ever eaten. Turns out he once worked as a short order cook. So I asked him to make breakfast for me and watched carefully as he chopped, fried, and flipped. Here are the culinary secrets I uncovered:
-Timing is everything.
-Cook the bacon low and slow.
-Don’t crowd the eggs.
On the evening prior, Kevin baked a Russet potato tossed with olive oil and sea salt. In the morning, he got his hash browns going, then started slow-cooking the applewood bacon. Kevin made sure to turn the thick slices several times, keeping them nicely coated with bacon fat as they edged toward a crisped brown. Finally, he cracked the eggs right on the rim of the oversized cast iron frying pan, quickly, then dropped them in one at a time leaving plenty of space between them. After frying the eggs for a minute or two, he gave them a final flip, then cooked them a few seconds longer to over-easy perfection.
I helped him out by making some toast, and by savoring the absolute best kind of breakfast in bed imaginable – one made to order with love and care.
1 Russet potato, baked
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon paprika
4 to 6 slices bacon
For the hash browns, lightly spray a medium-sized heavy frying pan with cooking spray and place on stove over medium heat. Coarsely chop baked potato, skin on, and place in pan. Add a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally and adding additional oil as necessary, until potatoes are golden and crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes. When done, turn heat to very low and keep warm.
Start the bacon right after the potatoes are seasoned. Spray a very large heavy frying pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add bacon and cook steadily over medium heat, turning each slice several times, until bacon is browned and crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Monitor heat as necessary to keep bacon cooking evenly. Let bacon drain on paper towels, and keep warm until eggs are cooked.
To make eggs, carefully remove excess bacon fat from frying pan, and place back over medium heat. Crack eggs into pan one at a time, making sure to leave enough space between the eggs so the whites don’t run together. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook each egg until white is solid, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip egg and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Transfer eggs to plates and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Shimmery, jewel-toned costumes; exotic bird-like glittering faces; fantastical winged creatures dancing on air – I was snapping photos like crazy at the Grand Mardi Gras parade in Marigot, St. Martin. Not caught on film were the pulsing, thumping rhythm of the crew bands; the beating of traditional wooden drums; the keening of lustered conch shell trumpets; or the tantalizing, honey-sweet to spicy-savory scents of festival food.
After the parade, Kevin and I roamed the temporary alleys formed by vendor carts and tents. We purchased a handful of Mardi Gras Beignets from a grey-haired local woman. She fried them up fresh for us – perfect delicate spheres, lightly dusted in sweet, white sugar. The outside of each beignet was delicate and warm, the inside subtly sweet with a hint of fragrant spice.
Home from our trip, I was determined to replicate our beignet experience. The recipe I found on the St. Martin Tourist Office website seemed a good place to start (see below for address). Try as I might, my beignets turned out looking more like doughy squids and dolphins than the flawless festival rondures in St. Martin. Still, they were light and sweet, lavishly spiced and citrusy – a festive Mardi Gras breakfast in bed.
Oil for frying (4 to 6 cups)
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon rum (optional)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Deep-fry or candy thermometer
Pour oil at least 2 inches deep into a small, heavy pan. Heat over medium heat to approximately 350°. Add water, sugar, butter, and salt to a second heavy saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat, and whisk in flour until batter is well-mixed and smooth. Place pan back over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until dough begins to thicken and pull away from sides of pan, about one to two minutes. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Add the grated lemon rind, vanilla, rum, cinnamon and nutmeg into the flour mixture. Stir until batter is thick and smooth, resembling a thick pancake batter.
Using 2 spoons, carefully drop a scant tablespoon of batter into the hot oil for each beignet. Cook about six beignets at a time, allowing oil to retain its temperature. Turn the beignets several times while frying, until they have reached a deep golden brown color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove beignets from pan and drain on paper towels. Toss with powdered sugar (I use a small paper bag) while still warm. Serve immediately.
Makes about 2 dozen beignets.
NOTE: Monitor oil with candy thermometer to maintain stable temperature.
Adapted from the St. Martin Tourist Office website recipe for Mardi Gras Fritters (http://www.stmartinisland.org/st-martin-focus-of-the-month/93-specials/369-stmartin-culinaryspecialties.html).