Category Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
My good friend Luis and I have a Saturday morning ritual – we meet at the local yoga class, enjoy an hour of stretching, meditation and relaxation in the company of friends, then go to the local Korean bakery for coffee and a bite to eat.
As soon as we enter the bakery, we are tempted by enticing sweet cream cheese buns, nut loaves and macaroons. Once in a while we succumb to temptation, but more frequently, we both order the same thing – an omelet sandwich. The omelet is flavored simply with just a few raw vegetables. The result is colorful, fresh and flavorful.
Recently, Luis had to race off somewhere after yoga, leaving me alone and longing for my ritual omelet sandwich. So I decided to try it at home. To my surprise and delight, it was easy to replicate. The bakery staff cook the omelet Asian-style in a square pan, so I dug out my panini pan which worked surprisingly well. (This is completely unnecessary but fun!)
At the bakery, I season the omelet sandwich with a dusting of salt and pepper. At home, I decided to spice it up with a little Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise. Either way, the Omelet Sandwich makes a great after-yoga ritual, or a stay-at-home ritual breakfast in bed.
1 teaspoon olive oil (or cooking spray)
1 tablespoon finely shredded carrots
1 tablespoon finely shredded napa cabbage
1 tablespoon thin-sliced green onion
2 slices white bread
1 tablespoon chipotle lime mayonnaise (recipe below)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil or cooking spray in a small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Break eggs into small bowl and whisk until lightly thickened. Stir in carrots, napa cabbage and green onion. Add egg mixture to heated pan all at once and swirl to even. Tilt pan slightly, and lift edges lightly with a spatula, allowing uncooked portion of eggs to spread to edges. Continue to cook, reducing heat to low if cooking too quickly, until egg mixture is lightly puffed up and nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Use spatula to fold omelet in half, and continue to cook until eggs are firm, another 1 to 2 minutes.
Toast the bread to a light golden brown. Add a little mayonnaise to each piece of toast. Place omelet on one slice of toast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with second slice of toast. Cut sandwich in half and serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving.
Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon chipotle pepper
½ teaspoon lime juice
Mix all ingredients together and use immediately, or store in refrigerator for up to one month.
Males ¼ cup.
Post by Alison Hein.
Do you have someone special in your family who, through masterful cooking, can elevate a simple recipe to the height of perfection? Or someone who, through artful mixing, can swirl a few splashes in a glass to create a bountiful ocean of flavor?
In my husband’s family, it’s Aunt Frannie. With just a handful of ingredients, she will mix you up one mean Irish Coffee. One sip of her concoction, and you will never want another mixed by anyone else.
Her secret? You must use brown sugar, and you must enthusiastically muddle it with a hefty pour of fine Irish whiskey before adding coffee. Aunt Frannie likes to use Jameson whiskey (ironically established by a Scot in 1780) for its smooth, woody depth. You must also use strong, hot fresh-brewed coffee. Aunt Frannie recommends switching to decaf if you plan on having more than one – trust me, they go down just a little too easy.
The story goes that the original Irish Coffee was created in the 1940s by Joe Sheridan, a chef who worked in the Shannon port. A group of traveling Americans was looking for something warming after arriving in Ireland on a cold winter night. When one of the passengers inquired if Chef Sheridan was serving them Brazilian coffee, he replied, tongue-in-cheek like a perfect Irishman, “No, it’s Irish Coffee.”
Even with this recipe it’s not possible to precisely recreate Aunt Frannie’s amazing Irish Coffee. (I think she secretly pours a lot of love and tradition in there!) It is possible, however, to begin your own family tradition and create an amazing Irish breakfast in bed.
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
¼ cup Irish whiskey
¾ cup hot, fresh-brewed coffee
Whipped cream, for garnish
Add sugar to a small heat-proof glass, such as an Irish coffee mug. Pour in Irish whiskey and muddle until sugar and whiskey are well-mixed. Pour in coffee and stir. Top with whipped cream and serve immediately.
Makes one Irish Coffee.
Post by Alison Hein.
My husband’s firm conducts charitable activities each year during the month of November. The company comes up with different ideas to get people to donate money to various charities. Lo and behold, last week they decided to hold a bake sale in the office to benefit City Harvest, a New York-based food rescue organization which we support. Kevin asked me if I wanted to provide something tempting for the sale.
And so I baked. Benne Wafers, Green Tea Macadamia Cookies, and Pistachio Biscotti. Only one tiny problem – I didn’t have any pistachio nuts. I did, however, have a nice fat bag of crunchy, plump hazelnuts. And, a couple of tiles of bittersweet chocolate mixed into the batter added rich depth and a lovely tan color to the cookies.
The toughest part of baking biscotti is slicing them into strips after the first baking. They tend to crumble if not cooled enough, or if overcooled and too crispy. After a little practice (all mistakes are deliciously edible!), you will have it down to a science.
So, you should add Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti to your cooking repertoire – whether you are baking to support your favorite charity or to serve your favorite person a charitable breakfast in bed.
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ounces baking chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly each time. Mix in vanilla and melted chocolate. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and hazelnuts. Dough should be thick and moldable.
Wet or flour hands, split dough in half, and shape into two long, mounded loaves (approximately 8 inches long by 3½ inches wide). Place loaves on prepared baking sheets and bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to wire racks and let cool at least 15 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, slice loaves into roughly ¾-inch slices. Place slices cut-side down on parchment paper and bake for another 30 minutes or so, turning biscotti once during baking, until golden brown. Remove to wire rack and cool.
Makes about 20 to 25 biscotti.
by: Alison Hein
It’s so easy to make prepared hot cocoa – just stir a packet of mix into a mug of hot water and pop it into the microwave – you may wonder why I suggest you make your own.
Well, truth be told, it’s not too much harder than the method just described. Yes, you have to dirty a pot and make a few measurements, maybe wait 5 minutes longer for the final product. But trust me, the end result is more than worth this tiny bit of extra fuss.
This recipe mirrors the classic Hershey’s instructions printed on the side of the little brown box of hot cocoa mix. I’ve just added a little oomph by topping with whipped cream and cinnamon. Don’t stop here though. This recipe is merely the basic pattern for finding your very own hot cocoa mix, tailored just for you. Try using different types of chocolate – there is now a wide variety of cocoa offerings in every store. White cocoa is lovely, and you dark chocolate addicts can even shave a bit of your chocolate bar right into the milk before warming.
I like cinnamon, but nutmeg, mace or allspice add a little punch, or you can even try a sprinkling of sea salt or a tiny dash of cayenne pepper for some serious spice! Sweeten the cocoa with brown sugar, honey, or caramel sauce. On special days, pour in a finger of whiskey, brandy or Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Make a big pot of steaming hot cocoa for a large group (simply multiply the recipe times the number of people) or just treat yourself to a little something special. Homemade Hot Cocoa – so right for these fleeting autumn days, so right for breakfast in bed.
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons whipped cream
Dash of cinnamon
Pour milk into small, heavy saucepan. Whisk in cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla and salt. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thoroughly warmed. Pour into mug. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Alison Hein.
We recently had a major garden renovation, with a tight timeframe for completion. One morning, in an effort to speed the finish, our landscape designers sent a group of six hard workers. It turned out to be an unseasonably cold morning, and as I looked out from inside my warm and cozy house and watched these guys toiling, my feelings of guilt turned to recipe inspiration.
I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to offer them a little bite of hot food for energy and warmth? Something savory, perhaps, with a little cheese, a little bread, a little spice. Something breakfasty, fast, and easy to eat. Something to accompany a good hot cup of strong coffee.
Why not a take on bread pudding, with a savory Italian twist enhanced by salty pancetta and a touch of parmesan? A little sautéing, a little chopping, and a little baking later, my Pancetta Breakfast Bake was done. I sliced it into little squares, and brought it out to my valiant landscapers.
A warming little break from hard work for them, a warming little breakfast in bed for you.
5 ounces fresh leaf spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ loaf stale French or Italian bread4 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Grease a 9×9-inch baking dish and set aside. Wash, trim and dry spinach. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add spinach and cook until lightly wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spread spinach evenly in the prepared dish. Add remaining olive oil to same pan, and sauté pancetta, shallot and minced garlic over medium heat until softened and fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
Cut or tear bread into bite-sized cubes (should be around 3 cups). Spread bread cubes out evenly on top of the spinach. Arrange the sautéed pancetta, shallot and garlic on top of the bread cubes.
Add eggs and milk to large bowl and whisk until slightly thickened. Whisk in Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, basil, salt and pepper. 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 for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly puffed up and the top is golden brown.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.