Category Archives: Breakfast in Bed
by Alison Hein
My husband and I are back from our extended Caribbean stay – back home (good) and back to the cold (not so much). Wintry weather calls for homey comfort food, so when Kevin requested chili for dinner, I was quick to comply. In my world, a bowl of mouth-burning, spicy chili is not complete without a fresh-from-the-oven batch of buttery corn bread. It’s so easy to make your own, with multitudes of personalization options. Sometimes I make it unsweetened, or zest it up and make Lime-Cilantro Corn Bread with Honey Butter. This time, though, I just made straight up old-fashioned corn bread – the perfect foil for our fiery stew.
In the morning, I decided to use some of the corn bread for our morning meal. But what? Then it came to me: a play on Hot Browns, the legendary late-night breakfast dish from The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. I switched it up a little, omitting the turkey and using Irish bacon. Just wait for that hot, bubbly, bacony dish to come out of the oven. Just wait for a legendary Hot Brown breakfast in bed.
Learn more about the historic Brown Hotel and see the original Hot Brown Recipe here:
2 thick pieces of corn bread
1 Roma tomato
2 – 4 slices Irish (or Canadian) Bacon
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
Paprika, for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley
Slice corn bread pieces in half, and place two each into two oven-proof dishes. Cut Roma tomato into four thick slices, and place one tomato slice on top of each piece of corn bread. In the meantime, fry bacon over medium low heat to a crispy brown. Drain on paper towels. Set aside and keep warm.
To make cheese sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add grated cheese and stir until just melted. Pour half of the cheese mixture over each dish of corn bread, covering bread and tomatoes completely.
Broil Hot Browns 6 inches from heat, until cheese sauce is bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 1 minute. Top each dish with a slice or two of crispy Irish bacon, sprinkle with paprika, garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Alison Hein
For the first time in my life, I have ended up on the right side of a flight cancellation. My husband, Kevin, and I usually get stranded in a busy airport, or never even leave home. Now, because of winter storm Nemo, we are trapped in paradise – the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Martin. We love this amazing place, and can never soak up enough sunshine before returning home. A four-day delay feels like the snow day to end all snow days!
We were fortunate with our accommodations as well. The aptly named Casa del Sol was available, and our gracious hostess kindly extended our stay. Veronique provides little surprises for us before our arrival in St. Martin. This visit was no different, with some rich Arabica beans tucked next to the espresso maker, an overflowing bowl of lush, tropical fruit, and an icy chilled bottle of champagne in the fridge.
What better way to spend my exta time than experimenting with new recipes? (Last time we were in St. Martin I made Piña Colada French Toast . Poking around the charming Provençal kitchen, I was delighted to find a copy of the colorful, island recipe-packed Creole Recipes and Cocktails from the Caribbean.
Flipping through the little cookbook, Exotic Fruit Crumble popped out. The name was perfect, and we also had mangoes and bananas in our fruit bowl. I skipped the coconut (Kevin doesn’t like it) and added some vanilla rum (hey, we’re in the Caribbean). A few other little changes, converting everything from grams to US measures, and my little tropical crumble was ready for baking. After the dish baked for 40 minutes in a hot oven, Kevin and I were enjoying an exotic, Caribbean delight.
If you’ve never tried cooked mangoes, you’re in for a delightful discovery – flavors sweeten and meld with baking, become reminiscent of peach pie, yet still remain startlingly light and bright. So, if you can’t be trapped in paradise, pick up some luscious mangoes and ripe bananas, and make yourself an exotic breakfast in bed for two. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Exotic Fruit Crumble
1 tablespoon vanilla rum (or substitute vanilla)
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°. Hold mango lengthwise, and with a sharp knife, slice through just to one side of the pit. Turn mango, and carefully slice through on the other side of the pit. Chop off the sides remaining around the pit. Score each sliced piece lenghtwise into several long, thin slices, but do not cut through the skin. Score again crosswise to create small cubes. Repeat with other mango section. Scoop scored pieces out with a spoon and place in small oven-proof dish. Skin and slice banana. Add to dish containing mango pieces. Pour vanilla rum over fruit and stir to mix. Set aside.
In a separate small bowl, mix together flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon until crumbly. Spread evenly over fruit mixture. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until topping is lightly browned and fruit is cooked through.
Serve hot with a dollop of whipped cream, if you like.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe adapted from Creole Recipes and Cocktails from the Caribbean, Volume 2
Post by Alison Hein
Facebook. That’s how I got reacquainted with my good friend Danny. We live miles apart and haven’t seen each other for years. In my mind, Danny is still that tall, gangly teenager with the easy smile and friendly style. Except that he’s not. Well, I’m pretty sure he’s still friendly, and I hope that he smiles often, but he’s certainly not gangly anymore.
Dan recently messaged me: “In 2012, a health coach friend helped me take control of my dietary habits, and now I feel better than I have in years. So, I am starting 2013 with a new commitment to help others make more healthful decisions about food and exercise.”
After a further exchange of messages, Dan shared the following: “For two decades, I worked first in retail, then in radio. Then, an awful thing happened – I got my first desk job. I sat, and sat, and sat some more. I also gained, and gained, and gained until I was 75 pounds overweight.”
Dan is committed to his weight loss journey, and has lost 25 pounds so far. It’s enough to allow him to walk a mile or two without losing his breath, and enough that his self-esteem has returned from exile.
You go, Danny! Kudos for your hard work and commitment to helping others! Here’s a light and healthy Egg White Omelet named in your honor. Fresh vegetables and nature’s pure flavors make this an enjoyable, healthy breakfast in bed. So relax, fuel up, then go out and do something exciting to post to Facebook. ☺
Olive oil cooking spray
1 ripe but firm tomato
1 cup loosely packed fresh baby spinach
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and heat on high. Cut tomato into thick slices. Place on hot pan and cook until tomato is softened (and grill-marked) but still firm, about 1 minute on each side. Set aside and keep warm.
Liberally spray a small, heavy pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place baby spinach leaves in pan and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Whisk egg whites with water until frothy. Add eggs to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently, folding over around wilted spinach. Push back edges and let uncooked egg whites flow underneath. Cook until egg whites are set, but still glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Fold in half and gently slide onto serving plate. Top with grilled tomato slices and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving.
See Dan’s facebook page if you are interested in learning more about his journey and commitment to helping others – http://www.facebook.com/Coach.Rudt
Post by Alison Hein.
Short, dreary January days are perfectly suited to bread baking. Homemade bread is easier to make than you may think, especially if you own a food processor. All that’s required is a little flour and yeast, and a little larger commitment of time and patience.
Allocate several hours for the process, and don’t be dismayed if your first attempt is less than perfect – you will get better with practice. And, once you bite into your first fresh-from-the-oven steamy slice of homemade bread, there’s no going back. Three lovely. wheaty baguettes will scent your home with bakery aromas, and fill your heart with great accomplishment.
Try a cozy winter meal that calls for no more than a thick slice of sweet, salty homemade bread beside a piping hot seasonal soup. Better yet, slather a warm hunk of baguette with creamery butter, maybe some strawberry jam too. Pour a cup of dark-roast coffee, and reward yourself with the perfect cure for those short, dreary January days – breakfast in bed!
2 cups tepid water
1 tablespoon (2 packets) dry yeast
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
Oil for rising
Flour for kneading, shaping and dusting loaves
Add water to large food processor, or large bowl. Gently sprinkle yeast on top to cover surface. Set aside until yeast begins to activate, about 10 minutes.
Add oil, honey, salt and wheat flour to food processor or bowl. Gently pulse on food processor dough setting or stir until mixed in. Add white flour, about a cup at a time, until mixed in. If using food processor, gently pulse until dough is compressed and begins to pull away from side of bowl. Be careful not to over mix or dough will become tough. If making bread by hand, turn out onto floured board and knead gently for about five minutes. Add about ½ teaspoon oil to large bowl. Place dough in bowl. Turn and flip so oiled side faces up. Cover with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let dough rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.
Punch down dough. Turn onto floured board and shape into 3 equal-sized baguettes. Sprinkle large baking tray with cornmeal. Place loaves on tray, cover with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let loaves rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425° about 15 minutes before dough is finished rising. Lightly sprinkle loaves with flour (use a sifter or sieve). Carefully make a few diagonal slashes on each loaf, using a razor blade or very sharp knife (I keep a craft knife on hand for this purpose).
Place loaves in oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Makes 3 baguettes.
Post by Alison Hein
We recently invited my cousin Vin and his girlfriend Michele to our home for dinner. We are just getting to know Michele, yet she seems to know me pretty well. She gave me the perfect gift. It was wrapped in dark brown paper, tied up with a jaunty ribbon, and adorned with a silver star cookie cutter.
Inside the wrappings I found A Jug of Wine, a cookbook written by Morrison Wood in 1949. Well- thumbed and lovingly stained, the binding was bulging from personal recipes tucked inside – Fresh Tomato Pudding, Chrissie’s Oven-Fried Chicken and Zucchini Soup. Michele had no idea that some of my favorite cookbooks are garage sale finds with hand-written notes in the margins advising me to “use less sugar”, “stir longer than suggested”, or even “awful. Skip this.”
A Jug of Wine calls for wine in every recipe, but I figured, what the heck. The alcohol cooks out and just leaves the flavor, right? Hard-boiled eggs filled with a mixture of sweet Madeira-flavored mushrooms, tangy green onions and fresh parsley sounded intriguing. Morrison suggests placing the filled eggs on toast rounds, but I decided to use Michele’s cookie cutter for an amazing, star-studded breakfast in bed.
2 mushrooms (about ½ cup chopped)
½ green onion (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Madeira wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons butter
½ teaspoon breadcrumbs
4 thin slices of bread, toasted and cut into stars, rounds, or other shape
Place eggs in small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and cook for one minute or so. Turn off heat, and let eggs remain in hot water for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Immerse in cold water and carefully peel eggs.
Slice eggs in half at the center, so yolk openings are round, rather than oblong. Carefully slice a little bit off the end of each egg half, just enough so the egg white can rest flat on a plate. Scoop out yolks, chop finely, and place in small bowl. Set yolk and prepared egg whites aside. Clean and finely chop mushrooms and onion. Add to chopped eggs. Add parsley, Madeira, salt and pepper to eggs as well, stirring in gently.
Melt 1½ teaspoons butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add egg mixture to pan and sauté over medium to medium-low until mushrooms and onion are soft, about 5 minutes. Stuff prepared egg whites with mushroom mixture, sprinkle them with breadcrumbs and dot with remaining butter. Place one stuffed egg on each toast round and put on baking tray. Broil 6 inches from heat until gently browned, about 30 seconds. Garnish with parsley and fresh fruit, if you like. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Eggs can also be served cold. Simply chill the eggs after stuffing and omit the breadcrumbs, butter and toast.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe adapted from Morrison Wood’s Mushroom Stuffed Eggs