Category Archives: Breakfast in Bed
by: Alison Hein
Several years ago I purchased a set of six mini-tart pans. Since then, whenever I make a pie, I’ve gotten into the habit of rolling out any extra dough, plopping it into one of these mini-pans, and storing it in the freezer until I’m ready to use it. This process enables me to impress people with On the Fly Mini Quiches. The frozen shells take mere minutes to thaw, and the small number of ingredients required can usually be found in your cupboards and fridge.
It’s this simple – use the “mother” recipe as a guide – then fool around with fillings, cheeses and spices as you desire. This is a wonderful way to utilize small amounts of extra vegetables or meats.
Earlier this week I received an “on the fly” invitation to visit my daughter-in-law who is home with our brand new granddaughter! She’s tired and busy, so I decided to whip up a few mini quiches that she could use or freeze. I settled on Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato, and Mushroom Swiss (see ingredients below).
To further simplify, purchase pre-made pie dough, or try this easy recipe for pie crust. You can even make crustless mini quiche – just be sure to grease the pan well before baking.
They are so cute! You might want to admire them before tucking into your on the fly breakfast in bed!
On the Fly Mini Quiche
1 4-inch pie crust in pan, unbaked
¼ cup main filling
2 tablespoons cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped herb (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon cream or half & half
Preheat oven to 350°. (Thaw mini-pie crusts if frozen.) Place mini-pie crust on baking tray. Spread filling evenly across the bottom of the dough. Cover with cheese and herbs.
Whisk egg and cream together in a small bowl. Pour egg mixture over pie filling until covered and egg mixture reaches just below the rim of pie dough. Do not pour egg mixture above the pie dough rim – extra can be used for the next mini-quiche.
Bake quiche for around 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and quiche is puffed up and golden.
Makes 1 serving.
Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Mini Quiche
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh mozzarella, shredded or sliced thin
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley or basil
Mushroom and Swiss Mini Quiche
¼ cup sliced mushrooms, sautéed in butter with salt and pepper
2 tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Breakfast in Bed – Vasilopita
by Alison Hein.
In Greek, the word “pita” can mean pie, cake or scone, in addition to the popular flatbread we know and love. In this case let’s go with “cake”. When you add the term “Vasil” to its front, our cake becomes St. Basil’s Cake, traditionally served at the Greek New Year. There’s a story that goes along with the cake:
The city of Caesarea was under siege. St. Basil, the archbishop, called upon the townspeople to contribute their valuables to stop the siege. The people freely gave all their gold, silver, jewelry and coins, and when the enemy learned of this, he was so embarrassed he called off the siege. St. Basil wanted to return the unpaid ransom, but with no way of knowing the rightful owners, he baked everything into loaves of bread and distributed these evenly around the city. Miraculously, each resident was returned exactly what he or she had contributed.
The story changes with the region, as does the cake. Sometimes it is sweeter, or made with yeast. It may incorporate lemons, oranges, or apples. Usually it calls for “makhlepi”, crushed sour cherry pits that are difficult to find in these parts. The numeric year may be written on the top of the cake with nuts, cloves or icing. Almost always, a coin is wrapped in foil and inserted in the batter before baking – an extra blessing in the new year for the lucky recipient.
On New Year’s Day, the cake is cut and servings distributed, starting with the eldest member of the family down to the youngest. A slice may be cut for St. Basil, the church, the poor, etc. Or, a slice may be cut for a Greek New Year’s breakfast in bed.
Ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος!
½ cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butte
½ cup sugar
1 orange (zested and juiced)
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sesame seeds
Coin wrapped in foil
Preheat oven to 350°. Generously grease a large spring-form pan with the tablespoon of butter and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in two eggs, one at a time, until mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the rind and juice of the orange and lemon.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into cake batter, a little at a time, until batter is thick and smooth. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Insert coin wrapped in foil, if using. Use a spatula to smooth top. Lightly beat the remaining egg with one tablespoon of water and brush on top of cake. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of cake.
Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, until cake is golden brown and cooked through when tested with a toothpick.
Allow cake to cool completely before removing from pan and slicing.
Makes 1 small cake, about 8 to 10 slices
Post by Alison Hein.
Congratulations to Kathy Cassel Marino and Bonny Shampang Zalewski, the two winners of our Charles P. Rogers cookbook giveaway! We hope you both enjoy the book, and would love to hear your impressions after you receive your copies!
Now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging…
Our good friends Nick and Vicky came to our home for dinner last weekend. We hadn’t seen them for a while, so I wanted to do something simple (so we would have more time to visit) but special (because we love them and it’s a festive time of year). We put together a cheerful cheeseboard and Nick’s favorite artichoke dip for appetizers.
Our first course was creamy vegetable soup, followed by a crisp, palate-cleansing tri-color salad. Kevin then prepared an elegant entrée of steamed lobster (growing up in New Hampshire has its benefits J) which we served with drawn butter and lots of cracking implements.
After much eating, drinking and gabbing, we settled in to enjoy our dessert of Apples en Croute. The French term “en croute” refers to a food that has been wrapped in pastry dough and baked in the oven. When you do this with apples, you get a homey, seasonal dessert – fresh-baked and warm and fragrant. Your friends and family will enjoy eating their own individual, pie-like creation.
Use pre-made pie dough to simplify the process even further. Fiddle around with the types of apples. Experiment with a variety of fillings. Make Apples en Croute after dinner as a homey, seasonal dessert; or first thing in the morning, for a simple, special breakfast in bed.
Pie crust (recipe below)
3 small, tart apples (about 4 ounces each)
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 325°.
Roll out pie crust and cut into 6 6-inch circles. Place on ungreased baking tray.
Peel and core apples. Cut each apple in half horizontally, so circled core remains intact. Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Roll each apple half in sugar mixture, and place on prepared pie crust circles.
Mix together pecans and golden raisins, and stuff into apple cores. Dot each apple with butter. Bring dough up around apples and pinch together. (You may also tie with baking twine, just be sure to remove before serving.)
Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush egg mixture all over the dough-wrapped apple. Sprinkle each apple with any remaining cinnamon sugar. Place apples in oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream on the side, if you like.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1/3 cup water
Crust – sift together flour and salt. Remove 1/3 cup flour mixture and add 1/3 cup water to make paste. Cut better into small cubes and cut into remaining flour mixture. Mix all ingredients together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes. Cut dough in half. Roll out each half. Makes enough for one covered 9” pie.
by Alison Hein.
Today I have some important instructions for you – click on this link to the Charles P. Rogers FB page and “like” today’s post for a chance to win a Breakfast in Bed Holiday Cookbook! Go do it right now, then come back and read the story: 🙂
Several weeks ago, I received a call from Linda Klein, the President of Charles P. Rogers. Linda wanted to create a special holiday gift and had the idea to compose a cookbook from my Breakfast in Bed posts. She wanted to know what I thought.
“Are you kidding?”, I responded. “I’m honored and delighted!”
So we gathered a small team and began work on the production process. Jeannine had the great idea to create a menu format, Olga worked with the photos and constructed the layout, and Jess went through it all with a fine-toothed comb. I just did whatever they told me to.
The finished product is a lustrous 8-inch square hardcover book, with vibrant, colorful photographs and menu options for holiday breakfast, brunch, or sweets and treats – the perfect holiday gift!
During our work on this project, we had lots of lively discussions regarding which recipes belonged in the book. Many made an appearance, then were dropped to make way for something the team liked better. But there was one that always remained everyone’s favorite – Million Dollar Pound Cake. And so we reprint that recipe here, and wish you much luck in the Charles P. Rogers Breakfast in Bed for the Holidays cookbook!
NOTE: Two cookbooks will be given away. You will have until midnight on Sunday, December 20, 2015 to respond. Winners will be announced on the Charles P. Rogers FB page shortly thereafter.
Million Dollar Pound Cake
Mix together an obscene amount of butter, sugar, and flour; add a hefty slug of hazelnut extract. Bake for a little more than an hour and you’ll have a breakfast in bed that looks and tastes like a million dollars!
½ pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons hazelnut extract
Powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top of cake
Preheat oven to 325°. Generously grease a large tube pan and set aside.
Add butter and sugar to a large bowl, and cream together until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, until batter is light and smooth. Pour milk into small bowl and stir in vinegar. Mix flour and baking soda together. Alternately add milk mixture and flour mixture into batter, stirring thoroughly after each addition. Stir in vanilla and hazelnut extract.
Spoon batter into tube pan, smoothing surface with spatula. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool on rack for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and invert onto serving plate. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar.
Makes 1 large cake, about 20 slices.
Post by Alison Hein.
Do you remember my good friend Jeff, who, a couple of years back, cooked up a Proper English Fry-Up for us? Well he’s back, and he’s at it again. Only this time, we’ll be visiting Central America for a tantalizing Costa Rican breakfast!
People from Costa Rica (lovingly referred to as Ticos and Ticas) know how to create an impressive breakfast plate. Jeff recreated that Latin splendor, but, as always, added his signature sassy, creative twist. A thin corn tortilla piled high with a spicy red bean/chorizo paste anchored the dish. Two crispy fried eggs and a sprinkling of queso fresco were placed on top. On the side, Jeff added a heaping mound of the traditional Costa Rican red bean and rice mixture, affectionately called Gallo Pinto, or red rooster.
Hang on – we’re not done yet. Jeff also peeled and butter-fried some ripe plantains, and served them warm with a dusting of cinnamon for a sweet breakfast take on Maduros. Then, to pretty up the plate, he halved a few avocadoes and filled them to the brim with spicy Pico de Gallo (rooster’s beak), made with fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, and a few more of Jeff’s secret ingredients. On the side, a small dish filled with rich, smoked paprika-dusted Crema was a lovely and flavorful condiment that added a creamy, refreshing finish to the dish.
Jeff is fast in the kitchen, as he races from fridge to stove to table, juggling ingredients and pans in a blur. So while I wasn’t able to decipher all his secrets, I did manage to document how he simmers his red beans, and how he makes his red bean/chorizo-topped tortilla, so you can recreate your own tantalizing Tico Breakfast in bed! Make sure you serve some fresh-squeezed juice and strong, black Costa Rican coffee alongside.
Simmered Red Beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, diced
4 cups cooked red beans (cook dried beans according to package instructions)
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot. Add onion and green pepper and sauté until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add cooked red beans, plum tomatoes, cilantro, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Makes about 5 cups of simmered red beans.
NOTE: to make Gallo Pinto, mix simmered red beans with cooked white rice, about ⅔ rice to ⅓ beans.
Red Bean/Chorizo Tico Breakfast Tortillas
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 spicy fresh chorizo sausages, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups Simmered Red Beans (recipe above)
4 soft corn tortillas, warmed in oven
¼ cup queso fresco
1 cup crema (or substitute ½ cup sour cream mixed with ½ cup cream cheese)
Heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot. Crumble chorizo sausage and add to pan. Add chopped onion, garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cilantro, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until chorizo is browned and onion is cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add Simmered Red Beans to pan and mash mixture with a potato masher into a rough mash. Continue to cook until mixture has thickened and flavors have melded, about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep warm until ready to assemble tortillas.
In the meantime, heat remaining olive oil in large, heavy pan. Crack eggs one at a time into pan, leaving space for eggs to spread. Cook each egg until white is solid, but yolk is still soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
To assemble, place one warmed tortilla on each of four plates. Spoon red bean/chorizo mixture to cover each tortilla, then top with two fried eggs. Sprinkle with queso fresco and serve immediately with a dish of crema on the side.
Makes 4 servings.