Tag Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
Merriam-Webster describes the act of mulling to mean “to heat, sweeten, and flavor (as wine or cider) with spices.” The origin is stated as “unknown” (although speculation abounds out there on the web), and the first known use supposedly occurred in 1618 (if anyone can identify this, please let me know!).
Despite the confusing and sometimes misleading archaeology of food history, one thing is certain. It’s autumn, and apples are in peak season. Sweet, rounded juicy red- and green-skinned fruit, rendering tree branches low, beckoning to be plucked and devoured. So of course I dragged my husband out to do just that, returning home with several sweetly scented baskets of apple varieties – ranging from baking tart to noshing sweet. A couple of gallons of fresh-pressed cider made my purchases complete.
Now back to the mulling. Apparently, we’ve known for quite some time (at least since 1618) that adding a little spice, and a little heat, can ratchet up that glorious sweet-tart apple flavor. Some fresh cider, a little cinnamon, a handful of whole cloves, and perhaps a splash or two of brandy, and you’ve got a soothing drink that will delight both young and old.
If you’re out and about, be sure to stop by your local apple orchard. Then, if you’ve got 15 minutes or so, whip up a pot of steaming mulled cider. It makes a sweet after school welcome for kids (without the brandy, of course), a surprisingly satisfying after dinner treat, and a sweetly scented, late harvest breakfast in bed.
2 cups fresh apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 small apple
A splash or two of brandy (optional)
Pour fresh apple cider into a small, heavy pot. Add one cinnamon stick and cloves. Slice the apple into a few slim rounds, and add apple slices to cider mixture, retaining two rounds for garnish. Bring cider to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain cider and pour half into each of two mugs. Make a cut halfway across the retained apple slices, and slice onto the rim of each mug for garnish. Add a cinnamon stick to each mug. Serve hot and add a splash or two of brandy to the cider, if you like.
Makes two servings.
Variations: add fruit such as orange or lemon peel, try sweeteners from honey to maple syrup, experiment with alcoholic additives like flavored brandy, port or whiskey.
Post by Alison Hein.
I coerced my good friends Rosie and Jeff to invite me for breakfast – a full English breakfast, that is. Although Jeff had never done a proper English fry-up before, he’s a talented, inventive cook who’s always up for a challenge. First, he located the nearest butchery where he could buy handmade, authentic bangers, the quintessential English sausages. (No way did the 150 mile round trip stop him!) Next, he studied up on English Breakfast history (a filling meal to tide one over through long working days), and painstakingly visited six stores before he found authentic HP Sauce, the traditional brown sauce used to spice up breakfast bangers and beans. (Originally made inBirminghamand named for the House of Parliament, it’s now made in theNetherlands, to the dismay of many Englishmen.)
Jeff spent more than one hour watching over his many steaming pots and pans with the grace and timing of an orchestra conductor. Then, while Rosie set a perfect harvest table and brewed a big pot of stout English Breakfast Tea, Jeff sautéed and spiced, poached and plated, fried up and finished a very proper, English breakfast in bed.
Here are Jeff’s tips if you want to try your own hand at a Proper English Fry-Up:
- Poach bangers in a slow water bath to keep them juicy and cook evenly. This may even help prevent banger explosion!
- Bring eggs to room temperature before cooking for a faster cooking time and a lighter, fluffier texture.
- Replace simple salt and pepper with a hardier seasoning, such as Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning, which contains salt, pepper, mustard, coriander, garlic, paprika and chili pepper.
- Black Pudding is optional!
Savory British Bangers
Vegetarian Baked Beans
Thick-Cut Slab Bacon
Buttered Mushroom Slices
Black Lace Eggs
1 8-ounce can vegetarian beans (made inCanadapreferable)
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 8-ounce package baby portabella mushrooms
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Roma tomatoes
2 slices soft, thick white bread
1 bottle HP Sauce (or other English Brown Sauce)
Pour about 4 cups of water (enough to cover bangers) into a heavy pot and heat to 150º. Add bangers, and cook for about 20 minutes, using a thermometer to maintain temperature at a steady 150º. Remove bangers from water and set aside.
Add beans to heavy pot and warm over medium heat. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
Pour about 1 tablespoon canola oil into a heavy non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat. Add bacon and cook for about 18 to 20 minutes until browned and lightly crisp, turning once or twice. Remove from pan and place in oven to keep warm. Retain bacon grease, and reduce heat to medium low.
Add bangers to bacon grease and cook, low and slow, for 15 to 20 minutes, until well-browned. Remove bangers from pan and place in oven to keep warm. Remove pan from heat and maintain bacon / banger grease.
While bangers are cooking, add 1 tablespoon butter and remaining canola oil to a second heavy non-stick frying pan. When melted, add mushrooms, salt and pepper, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked through but still lightly firm. Remove from heat and place mushrooms in oven to keep warm.
While bangers and mushrooms are cooking, lightly spray a heavy, cast iron grill pan with cooking spray. Slice tomatoes in half and trim ends. Place on grill pan, and broil, approximately 4 inches from heat source, until tomatoes are cooked through and lightly blackened on top, about 8 to 10 minutes. Keep warm.
Reheat bacon / banger grease over medium-high heat. Add bread slices and cook until golden brown, turning once, about 3 minutes. Keep warm.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and about 2 tablespoons of bacon / banger grease to a large, heavy frying pan. Heat over medium heat until bubbling. Break eggs into a small bowl, two at a time, then add to pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook, basting frequently with pan drippings, until whites are cooked through and yellow centers are still soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Place bangers, beans, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast and eggs on warmed plates and serve immediately.
Makes 2 Full English Breakfasts
Post by Alison Hein.
Thick, steaming grains are an elemental part of my childhood memories – my mother would place a piping hot bowl of maple oatmeal on the table before me. Then, with precision, I would add a thick pat of butter to the center, allowing it to melt slightly before carefully strewing clumps of brown sugar on top. I would watch the sugar melt and spread to form a thin, sweet crust. Not quite done, I would carefully push the cereal gently toward the center of the bowl, and pour a scant ring of milk around the edges. Only then was it time to dig in, making sure never to stir, but to aim for that one perfect, prized bite of oatmeal, butter, sugar and milk.
I still enjoy hot cereal on a crisp fall or winter day, especially if I’m planning a brisk walk, mountain hike, or other outdoor adventure. Wanting to limit my butter / sugar intake, I experiment with varying flavors. Sometimes I’ll cook my oatmeal with diced apples, raisins and a touch of cinnamon. Other times, I’ll add unexpected twists, as in this recipe for Coconut Oatmeal.
Old-fashioned oats have a creamier texture than the quick-cooking variety, and only take a few extra minutes to cook. Cover the oatmeal and let it sit for a few minutes before serving, if you like, to allow the oaty flavor to percolate and the texture to soften. I keep it light with coconut water (now available at almost any grocery store) rather than coconut milk – significantly fewer calories, but still a light, infused tropical feeling. You can pour a touch of coconut milk on top, as I once did, for a breakfast in bed that will make memories.
¼ cup coconut flakes
1 cup coconut water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
½ cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread coconut flakes out onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 1 to 3 minutes, until they turn a light golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Pour coconut water, vanilla and salt into a small heavy saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Stir in oats, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until oats are soft and mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Spoon oatmeal into a bowl and top with toasted coconut. Serve hot.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Alison Hein.
Sometimes I feel like Mother Hubbard. It’s not that my cupboards are bare, exactly. Just that I find myself with an odd assortment of ingredients. Take the other day, for example. I was looking for the makings of a nice breakfast. We had no bread, milk, or bacon, and were down to one egg. The best looking thing I could find in my fridge was a handful of bright green scallions, left over from my last post, Succotash Hash.
That got me thinking about the delicious roasted scallions I enjoyed recently at my favorite Japanese restaurant,Yamagata. Yama-san, the proprietor, kindly shared the recipe with me: “Broil the scallions. Put them in 1-1-1 sauce, and leave them in the refrigerator overnight.” What, you might ask, is 1-1-1 sauce? It’s equal parts of what some might call the Japanese trinity – sake, soy sauce, and the sweet rice vinegar, mirin.
Now, I’m thinking about scallions, thinking about 1-1-1 sauce, and thinking about my one egg. As it happens, I always have a store of organic red miso in my freezer, so now I’m thinking about how to make Asian-style scallion pancakes.
Perhaps not traditional, but scrumptious nonetheless. The scallions lose their sharp edge in a quick sauté, and the 1-1-1 sauce adds a sweet mellow note to a breakfast in bed that even Mother Hubbard would enjoy.
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
1 tablespoon miso
1 – 2 tablespoons sesame oil
Wash and trim scallions. Cut into 2-inch lengths and set aside.
Mix together flour and salt in large bowl. Whisk in water, egg and miso mixing until batter is thick and smooth. Let batter rest a few minutes before cooking.
For each pancake, heat about 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a heavy 6-inch pan over medium heat. Add one quarter of the scallions, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until softened but not cooked through. Add one quarter of batter to the pan, swirling to cover bottom. Cook pancake 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned, flipping once. Keep warm while cooking remaining pancakes, monitoring heat and adding oil as necessary.
Serve warm with 1-1-1 Sauce.
Makes 4 pancakes.
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sake
Mix soy sauce, mirin and sake together. Serve at room temperature.
Post by Alison Hein.
How we got “succotash” from the Narragansett word “msickquatash” is still a mystery. What we do know, is that this succulent corn and lima bean-based vegetable dish originated with native Americans who harvested indigenous crops from the eastern woodlands.
Popularity of succotash has waxed and waned. It experienced a mini-revival during the Great Depression when meat was scarce, and is a wonderful way to showcase end-of-summer sweet corn, The variability of this dish is extensive. Onions, peppers, and squash make lovely additions. Use fragrant herbs for a refined side dish, or spice it up with some hot cayenne. You can bake it, boil it, broil it, or encase it in a piecrust.
In this simple recipe, I replaced the traditional limas with perky and popular edamame (green soy beans), adding a punch of color and healthy protein. I also decided to add a little lean meat – thus the “hash” AND a rhyming recipe. J Feel free to omit the Canadian bacon for a perfectly satisfying vegetarian option.
It only takes about 15 minutes to prepare this bountiful dish. When topped with a crispy fried egg, even the biggest carnivores will be delighted with this colorful cornucopia of veggies and a Narragansett-inspired breakfast in bed.
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 slice Canadian bacon, chopped into small pieces
2 green onions, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
1 cup sweet corn kernels
1 cup edamame (or use traditional lima beans)
½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
½ cup vegetable broth or water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
Heat about half the olive oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, Canadian bacon and green onions and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, or until garlic is golden but not yet browned. Add corn kernels, edamame, cherry tomatoes and vegetable broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly bubbling, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until most liquid has evaporated.
In the meantime, add remaining olive oil to a large heavy frying pan. Crack eggs into the pan one at a time, making sure to leave enough space between the eggs so the whites don’t run together. Season with salt and pepper. Cook each egg until white is solid, but yolk is still soft, about 2 to 2½ minutes.
Place half the succotash hash in each of two dishes. Top each with a fried egg. Garnish with fresh parsley, if you like, and serve hot.
Makes 2 servings.