Category Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by by Alison Hein.
It’s one thing to have wonderful neighbors you enjoy spending time with. It’s quite another thing when your wonderful neighbors invite you to spend a few days with them in luxurious Water Mill, NY. Nothing says summer like the glorious beaches, amazing mansions, and tempting shops of The Hamptons. We enjoyed several days in Ann and Frank’s company – sailing, sunning, shopping – peppered with plenty of good wine and food, and topped off with great conversation.
I was so pleased with myself when I came up with this great idea to repay them for their generosity – I would ask Frank to create a recipe and prepare breakfast for my blog post! 😉
Frank, an accomplished and inventive cook, decided to blend two cultures in one substantial frittata, artfully mixing the flavors of Italian fried potatoes and Pecorino Romano with Mexican guacamole and salsa. The result? A savory, spicy masterpiece that thrilled with each bite. A gorgeous presentation, just right for honored guests.
Bravo and Olé! Recipes courtesy of Frank Falconieri.
We skipped the breakfast in bed this time, and enjoyed our luxurious Frittata Italiana-Mexicana poolside, Hamptons style.
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or equivalent tubed cilantro paste
1 lime, peeled with pith removed
1 jar sliced jalapeño peppers (1 tablespoon juice + 3 pepper slices)
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons hot or medium hot salsa, drained
1 teaspoon kosher or large-grained sea salt
Coarsely chop cilantro and place 1 tablespoon in blender, set second tablespoon aside. Peel lime, slice, remove excess pith, and coarsely chop. Add lime pieces to blender. Add jalapeño pepper juice, pepper slices and salt to blender. Pulse briefly 2 to 3 times and set blender bowl aside.
Peel, pit, and coarsely chop avocados and place in medium bowl. Add onions, drained salsa, remaining tablespoon of cilantro and salt. Mash with a potato masher for a textured consistency. Stir in blended cilantro-lime mixture. Adjust taste according to preference.
1 tablespoon high-heat olive oil
1 – 1 ½ cups sliced, pan-fried or roasted potatoes (enough to cover the bottom of pan)
½ cup grilled or boiled corn kernels
7 eggs (extra large or jumbo)
1 tablespoon good quality virgin olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 10-inch tortillas (in dairy section of most supermarkets)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup salsa
A few sprigs cilantro
Pour high heat olive oil into a 10-inch ovenproof heavy frying pan, and place on stove over medium-high heat. Preheat broiler. Add potatoes to pan and spread to cover, pressing down slightly. Add corn, distributing evenly on top of the potatoes. Allow to cook until set, about 5 minutes.
While potatoes and corn are heating, break eggs into a large bowl, add virgin olive oil, and whisk until smooth and thickened. Pour eggs gently over potato-corn mixture (do not stir), cover, and continue to cook until eggs are set around the edges, about 5 minutes. Generously sprinkle top of frittata with Pecorino Romano. Place frying pan under broiler, about 5 inches from direct heat and broil frittata until eggs are firm and do not jiggle, about 3 minutes.
As the frittata is broiling, place a separate, large frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray, and brown tortillas lightly on both sides. Place one tortilla on a large platter. Spoon enough guacamole over the bottom tortilla to cover, spreading pizza sauce style from center to rim. Gently free and carefully slide the frittata onto the guacamole-covered tortilla, then top with the remaining tortilla. Recommended garnishes include sour cream, salsa, and cilantro. Serve immediately with guacamole on the side.
Makes 6 servings.
Tip: Use the best serrated knife to cut, since warm tortillas tend to shred.
Post by Alison Hein.
One recent morning, groping around in my fridge for the usual breakfast fare, I came up empty-handed. No eggs. No cheese. No juice. Well, wait a minute. I did have one quart of whole milk and a couple of lemons. Add to that a few slices of French bread from last night’s dinner, and an image begins to form in my mind… Rich, homemade ricotta cheese, still warm from the stove, slathered on buttery golden bread, generously sprinkled with tangy lemon zest.
Ricotta cheese is astonishingly easy to make. You’ll need whole milk, and some lemon juice or vinegar. And, although it can be made without, a little cheesecloth and a candy thermometer make the process even easier. Some people like to add cream or buttermilk for a richer flavor. Add salt or not, and let the cheese rest longer for a heavier feel. I encourage you to try it a few times, then hone the recipe to your taste. So nice to cook with – add some to an omelet, or your favorite Italian dish.
Turns out necessity is not only the mother of invention, but sometimes the genesis of a simple, rich and tangy breakfast in bed.
1 lemon (2 tablespoons juice)
1 quart whole milk
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
4 slices French or Italian bread
Salt and pepper, to taste
Using a lemon zester or grater, remove one to two teaspoons of lemon zest. Slice lemon in half. Juice lemon and set lemon juice and zest aside. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth and place in sink.
Pour milk into heavy saucepan, and stir in salt. Place over medium heat, until milk reaches a temperature of 180° to 185°. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let milk mixture sit for one to two minutes, until curds and whey separate. Carefully remove curds with slotted spoon, and place in cheesecloth-lined colander to drain. Discard whey. Allow curds to drain for at least 10 minutes, up to one hour. (The consistency of the cheese will become firmer with longer draining time.) Place in bowl and refrigerate if not using right away. Fresh ricotta will last several days in the refrigerator.
To grill bread, melt butter in heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add bread slices and cook until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes. Spoon equal portions of ricotta onto bread, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with lemon zest.
This recipe can be easily increased to make more cheese – use the same proportions, up to one gallon of milk.
Makes about ⅔ cup ricotta cheese, and 2 servings of grilled bread.
Post by Alison Hein.
If you find yourself in Cape May, New Jersey, make sure to stop in for dinner at the Ebbitt Room. The Virginia Hotel’s recently remodeled dining room will delight you with its shimmering charm, and its spacious yet cozy ambience. Even better, Chef Lucas Manteca employs a farm-to-table philosophy, showcasing fresh, local produce from the hotel’s certified organic Beach Plum Farm.
Sean, our friendly, professional waiter, wisely suggested the daily sampler of deviled eggs. Delicate Beach Plum Farm eggs are cleverly cut on the diagonal, artfully spiced, then creatively adorned with three different micro-toppings. Our selection? Spicy coppa with pickled garden hash and gouda crumble; cold beet purée with smoked salmon, crème fraîche and tobiko; and tuna tartare-stuffed Belgian endive with mint lime vinaigrette. (Sean kindly wrote all this down for me!) Believe me, a tiny farm-fresh egg, dressed with luscious seasonal accoutrements, is one perfect bite – a devilishly delicious, sophisticated combination of flavors.
Naturally, I had to try this out as soon as I got home. I purchased small eggs, to keep with the one-bite sizing. Then I foraged in my refrigerator for tiny amounts of topping ingredients (only ½ teaspoonful or so is needed per egg half). Here’s what I came up with: roasted asparagus with speck; fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato, golden beet and basil salad; and smoked salmon with sour cream lemon-dill sauce. Perhaps not as sophisticated as Chef Lucas’ version, but still a devilishly delightful breakfast in bed!
P.S. If you dine at the Ebbitt Room, make sure to arrive early and enjoy a cocktail on the front porch of the Virginia Hotel. Overstuffed seating, a cool breeze, and hand-crafted drinks make it the perfect spot to people watch on quaint and busy Jackson Street.
3 small eggs
I tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon horseradish cream (or use fresh horseradish)
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup micro greens
Tiny portions of assorted meats, vegetables, cheeses, fruits, nuts, grains, etc.
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 and place in small bowl. Mash yolks thoroughly, then add mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, salt and pepper and mix until smooth and creamy. Refill egg white halves, and place three halves on each of two plates.
Prepare three assorted toppings. Place a tiny bit of topping on eggs, garnish plates with micro greens, chill and serve cold.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Due to a last minute change in dinner plans (don’t ask), I found myself the following morning with a beautiful, untouched loaf of Calandra’s Italian semolina bread. Lovely…golden…stale. ☹ Too perfect for homemade breadcrumbs, I decided to make bread pudding.
Sometimes called Poor Man’s Pudding, bread pudding is really a custard. And, since it is still summer (and they were buy one – get one free), I had a pint of blueberries on hand. Eggs + bread + fruit = breakfast, right?
I like to leave little icebergs of bread above the custard to bake to a crispy brown, making a tantalizing contrast with the warm, gooey bread pudding center. Top this with some fresh fruit syrup for a sweet and tangy, perfectly balanced dish. If you don’t want to fuss with the blueberry syrup, simple maple syrup is always a winner. Or, if you want to fuss a little more, try crème anglaise for a rich and decadent cream on cream delight.
It takes a little time for the bread pudding to bake and set, but actual prep time is only about 10 minutes. My suggestion? Do the prep work and get the bread pudding in the oven. Then go relax, and get someone else to dish up and serve you a tantalizing, poor man’s breakfast in bed.
1 loaf stale French or Italian bread
½ cup sugar
4 cups milk
¼ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Cut or tear bread into bite-sized cubes (should be around 6 to 8 cups). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish, spread bread cubes evenly in dish and set aside.
In large bowl, add eggs and whisk until slightly thickened. Whisk in sugar and milk. Add butter, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to allow bread to absorb liquid. Preheat oven to 350°.
Bake bread pudding for 40 to 45 minutes, until it is puffed up and the top is golden brown. Serve hot with blueberry sauce, maple syrup, or crème anglaise. Add a dollop of whipped cream, if you like
Makes 8 servings.
2 cups (1 dry pint) blueberries
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add blueberries, water, sugar and vanilla to small, heavy pot. Place on stove over high heat and bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, until blueberries are soft and popped open, and syrup is thickened. Set aside and allow to cool. Syrup will continue to thicken while cooling, so adjust cooking time to your preference.
Makes about 1 ½ cups of syrup.
Post by Alison Hein.
Every autumn, I scour the streets of New York, searching for a cart rigged with an open fire, with the deep, earthy aroma of roasting chestnuts wafting toward me. Finding one, I pay, and receive a tiny brown paper bag stuffed with six steamy caramel-colored nuts. First the peeling, then the payoff – that very first bite of warm, buttery chestnut, sweetened by the chill in the November air.
It recently dawned on me that I don’t need to limit myself to this once-a-year cold weather ritual. Chestnuts have been popular in parts of Europe for centuries. In Italy, you can enjoy chestnut pasta, polenta and gnocchi, or even luscious chestnut fritters, served hot with ricotta cheese.
Chestnut flour (or nut meal) is becoming easier to find on U.S. grocery shelves, and provides a wonderful gluten-free option for those with wheat allergies. Pre-roasted nuts in jars are also useful in cooking, as is chestnut puree. If you cannot find these products locally, look online. U.S. growers are also on the rise and many sell their chestnut products direct to consumers.
These pancakes resonate with authentic, roasty chestnut flavor, and are sweetened with a thin, simple syrup made with honey and chopped, roasted chestnuts. Chestnut meal has a different consistency from wheat flour, so use a gentle hand until you become accustomed to the grainier texture.
No need to wait for fall for a sweet, earthy, chestnutty breakfast in bed.
1 cup chestnut flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg, separated
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
¼ cup sour cream
Additional butter for cooking
Combine chestnut flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. In separate bowl, stir together milk, egg yolk and vanilla. Pour melted butter into liquid mixture and stir well. Using a wooden spoon or hand mixer, gradually add liquid mixture to dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Stir in sour cream. Beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into batter.
Place pan or griddle on burner over medium to medium low heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan for the first pancake. Ladle batter by ¼ cupfuls into pan and cook until small bubbles appear throughout pancakes. Flip once with spatula and continue cooking until rich brown, one to two minutes, adding more butter and adjusting heat as necessary. Keep warm while making the remainder of pancakes. Serve hot with real maple syrup or sweet chestnut sauce.
Makes 8 to 9 4-inch diameter pancakes.
Sweet Chestnut Sauce
½ cup honey
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅓ cup finely chopped roasted chestnuts (fresh or jarred)
Pour honey, water and vanilla and chopped chestnuts into a small heavy saucepan. Mix well. Place over medium-high to high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened, but still on the thin side. Set aside and allow to cool.
Makes about 1 cup of syrup.