Tag Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
Next up in the Food Song category – Simon and Garfunkel’s ubiquitous “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” title song of the1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.
I’ve listened to this song countless times – once softly, straining to hear through bedroom walls to my sister’s room as she listened over and over and over again. Later, more audibly, out on my own but lonely for home. And more recently, quieter again, as I remember and reflect on times past. It always fills me with love and melancholy, and pulls at my heart strings. But, I never once questioned the song’s history or meaning – until now.
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;
Remember me to one who lives there,
She once was a true love of mine.
“Scarborough Fair” is an old English ballad, possibly with older Scottish roots tracing back to the late 1600s. Sometimes the place name changed, and often the refrain changed, with “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme” not appearing until the 1800s.
And the meaning of the herbal refrain? Theories abound. Here’s mine: every herb has its own meaning, translating “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” to “festivity, wisdom, remembrance, and courage.” A perfect love potion to overcome the impossible tasks set forth in the lyric, and return two hearts to one. Sigh.
Love is inspiration for great food, and a savory bread pudding is a thing of wonder and delight. Lovely as a dinner side, pleasant with a luncheon salad, and surprisingly just right for breakfast. The fresh, fragrant herbs add richness, depth and color to a simple poor man’s dish. Maybe Savory Scarborough Bread Pudding will pull at your heart strings a little too, and become your one true beloved breakfast in bed. 😉
Savory Scarborough Bread Pudding
1 loaf stale French or Italian bread
4 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese, such as Swiss or Gruyere
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut or tear bread into bite-sized cubes (should be around 6 to 8 cups) and set aside. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish, or if you prefer, 8 ovenproof serving-sized dishes, and set aside.
In large bowl, add eggs and whisk until slightly thickened. Whisk in milk. Add shredded cheese, chopped herbs, butter, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add bread cubes to egg mixture and stir well to make sure the herbs are evenly distributed. Pour egg-bread mixture into serving dish (or dishes) 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. If you are using individual serving dishes, check for doneness after 30 to 35 minutes. When done, the bread pudding will be puffed up and browned, and egg will be fully cooked and not jiggly. Serve hot with fried ham or bacon, if you like.
Makes 8 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Blini are a type of traditional Russian pancake made with yeasted batter. In ancient times, blini were prepared at the end of winter to honor the rebirth of the sun. This tradition still holds today when Russians celebrate Maslenitsa to welcome the spring.
Blini can be made with various flours, but buckwheat blini have an earthy richness that subtly enhance and bend to the myriad of topping alternatives. Serve them hot or cold, sweet or savory. Try them with butter and jam, chopped egg and mushroom, smoked trout and parsley, and most definitely try them warm and buttered with frosty sturgeon caviar and crème fraîche atop.
Freeze the extra. They thaw quickly and impress for last minute brunches, unplanned get-togethers or spontaneous breakfasts in bed.
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet yeast
2 cups buckwheat flour
Additional butter for cooking
Add milk to small, heavy saucepan and place on stove over medium heat. Allow to heat, without stirring, until tiny ripples begin to form across the surface of the milk (scalded milk). Remove milk from heat and add butter, honey and salt. Pour milk mixture into large bowl. Allow to cool until tepid, then sprinkle yeast lightly and evenly across surface.
Let yeast rest about 10 minutes, until it begins to activate and resembles wet sand. Stir in buckwheat flour, cover with a light tea towel, and allow to rise in a warm, dry place until doubled (at least 2 hours).
Separate eggs into two separate bowls – one for whites and one for yolks. Whisk the yolks until smooth and light, then whisk into batter until evenly mixed. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into blini batter.
Place pan or griddle on burner over medium heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan for the first blini. Use a tablespoon to spoon batter into pan and cook until small bubbles appear across surface. Flip once with thin spatula and continue cooking less than one minute until lightly browned and cooked through. Serve warm or cool with a variety of toppings.
Makes approximately 100 2-inch diameter blini.
Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Trout and Crème Fraîche
10 buckwheat blini
2 tablespoons crème fraîche (or substitute sour cream)
2 to 4 ounces smoked trout
1 tablespoon Italian parsley leaves
Place a dab of crème fraîche on the surface of each blini. Break off a small piece of smoked trout and place on top of crème fraîche. Place another dab of crème fraîche on top of the trout and add a parsley leaf for color. Can be made several hours in advance and served lightly chilled.
Post by Alison Hein.
Kevin and I have the best neighbors in the world. Ann and Frank are always adventuring off somewhere, never failing to bring us a small (edible) memento. (You may recall an earlier post that featured Frank and his fabulous Frittata Italiana-Mexicana. Last year our neighbors traveled to Italy and returned with a small stainless canister, filled with luscious golden olive oil from 1,000-year-old trees! When they visit Florida, we often find a surprise gift box on our doorstep, bursting with citrus bounty from the Sunshine State.
I opened just such a box recently, and tucked inside was a mixture of Florida Valencia oranges and Ruby Red grapefruit – so fresh and so lush, the citrus aroma wafted from the package and filled my kitchen with the scent of sunshine. I closed my eyes, inhaled deeply… suddenly, a vision of Broiled Florida Grapefruit popped into my head. It was one of the first dishes I learned to prepare in my seventh grade home economics class, and it sounded pretty dumb to me. Until the taste of warm, caramelized sugar mingled with the tart, juicy citrus fruit snap, each spooned segment a sweet-tart delight. Then, scraping against the inner fruit rind, and filling my spoon to the brim with juice turned elixir from heating and sweetening.
Add a maraschino cherry for garnish if you like, for a pop of color and a retro look for your breakfast tray. Then serve up your loved ones (or beloved neighbors) a little sunshine along with breakfast in bed.
1 Florida grapefruit (any variety)
2 to 3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)
Slice grapefruit in half. Using a grapefruit knife, cut all the way around one half of the fruit between the skin and fruit. Slice along fruit segments remaining in grapefruit. Place in ovenproof dish or pan. Repeat with second grapefruit half.
Turn on broiler. Sprinkle each grapefruit half evenly with 1 to 1½ teaspoons of brown sugar. Place fruit under broiler, approximately 3 inches from heat. Broil for a minute of two, until sugar starts to melt and crystalize. Remove from oven and place each grapefruit half in a small serving dish. Garnish with maraschino cherries, if you like. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Alison Hein
My greatest inheritance from my maternal grandmother Emily is a pile of frayed newspaper clippings, notebooks, and handwritten, yellowed recipes. I take them out occasionally for inspiration, or for a good chuckle over popular recipes from the 1940s. But sometimes I find them frustrating – Grandma, is this page permanently marked for Glazed Baked Apples or Peach Cobbler? Who were you writing to in your handwritten Starlight Double-Delight Cake recipe when you wrote “Good luck, Little Mother”? Or were YOU the Little Mother?
Well, this time I hit paydirt when leafing through Heckers’ Household Hints. In addition to loads of great tips (e.g. – to take the place of a paper clip, go to the sewing cabinet for a dress-snap), I found many inspiring recipe ideas. Heckers’ suggests making a “Home Prepared Flour” to store in the fridge. Then, when time avails, use it to create a variety of yummy choices such as Pineapple Pom-Poms, Orange Fluff Cake, or Aunt Hattie’s Sugar Cookies. It was the Cheese Bacon Shortcake, though, that won me over. Modified, modernized and renamed for my fellow blogger friend, Bacon Biscuit (take a look at her great blog, coolcookstyle.com, I’m pretty sure the layers of crumbly, cheesy, buttery bacon-topped biscuit will grab you too. Thanks Grandma, for an inspirational breakfast in bed.
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 uncooked bacon strips, cut in half
Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly grease pie pan and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and mix with flour, using a pastry cutter if you like, until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir vinegar into milk. Pour all at once into flour mixture, and stir until just mixed.
Roll out and press a little more than half the dough into a pie dish. Brush with melted butter and cover evenly with cheese. Pat or roll out the remaining dough into a circle slightly large enough to cover the bottom layer. Place on top of cheese. Place bacon strips on top, radiating out from the center in a star-like pattern. Bake at 450° until bacon is crisp and brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Makes one pie, about 8 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Caution! Your secrets are not safe with me. I have been known to sneak into restaurant kitchens and accost people in grocery stores in the quest to uncover their families’ culinary treasures.
I finagled this delightful Easter Bread recipe from a trusting soul encountered while getting a mani / pedi. It was quite impressive how my new friend remembered the ingredients and quantities. I silently recited the instructions over and over until my nails dried, then raced home to jot them down.
This method of bread-baking intrigued me. Normally, one would let the yeast activate, unmolested, while readying the remaining ingredients. I worried that the bread would not rise properly with too much disturbance of the yeast. This recipe also calls for no second rise of the dough, another surprise. Nevertheless, after fiddling with the methods and metrics (my silent recitations may have been flawed), I managed to produce a lovely golden braided ring. Lightly sweet and dense with a hint of vanilla, this stolen Easter Bread is pure pleasure when warm and daubed with butter.
Jazz it up by tucking a few colored eggs into the center of your circle – a lush adornment for your holiday table, or your breakfast tray.
4¼ cups flour
1 packet rapid rise yeast
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add two cups of flour to food processor. Sprinkle yeast on top of flour. Put milk, butter, sugar and salt into heavy saucepan and heat over medium heat until just melted. Pour milk mixture into food processor and pulse a few times. Add two eggs, vanilla and remaining 2¼ cups of flour to food processor. Pulse until dough starts to ball and pulls away from sides.
Turn dough out onto floured board, and separate into three equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece into a long rope, about 30 inches long. Loosely braid dough ropes into a circle, and place in a circular pan (I use a 10-inch diameter cake pan). Allow to rise in a warm place, covered, for about one hour, until almost doubled in size. Beat remaining egg and lightly brush over top of risen dough. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes until golden on top. Tuck a few colored eggs in the center of the ring, if you like. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.