Tag Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
Last night we had friends over for a Puerto Rican feast – salty fried codfish fritters (bacalaiítos), spicy pastelillos de carne (meat turnovers), smoky black beans with chorizo (habichuelas negras con chorizo) and slow-cooked garlicky pork shoulder (pernil). Island flavors are a shockingly addictive blend of Spanish, African, Taino and Arawak products and seasonings. If you’re not familiar with this cuisine, I strongly recommend you get out there for a little taste of “Cocina Criolla”.
This morning, I found just the right ingredients for some Latin-flavored breakfast pastelillos, or spicy Puerto Rican half-moon shaped turnovers. I fried up some chorizo, then stirred in a bit of frothy green recaito, a mix of fresh pungent herbs, garlic, peppers and onions. Some eggs and a few more seasonings, and I was ready to fill and bake my pastelillos.
Thirty minutes later, we were savoring the steamy flavors of Cocina Criolla and a little taste of la Isla del Encanto.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 fresh chorizo sausage
2 tablespoons diced tomatoes, with juice (canned tomatoes work well)
2 tablespoons recaíto* (http://mixerupper.com/2012/08/17/recaito/)
2 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon milk or cream
8 pastelillo or empanada wrappers (or use puff pastry, rolled out ¼ inch thick, cut into 8 5-inch diameter circles)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in heavy pan over medium heat. Remove sausage casing from chorizo, and break into small pieces. Add chorizo to heated pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in diced tomatoes and recaíto. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, allowing flavors to meld. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil in small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Break 3 eggs into small bowl and whisk well with milk or cream. Add eggs to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently. Stir frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Remove eggs from heat when still a little soft. Stir into chorizo mixture.
Lay pastelillo wrappers out on flat surface, and place about 1½ tablespoons of chorizo-egg mixture in the center of each circle. Beat remaining egg, and brush around eggs of each wrapper. Fold each circle in half to form a half-moon shape, gently pressing edges together. Seal edges of each pastelillo by gently folding dough over in ¼-inch increments, or sealing with the tines of a fork. Place filled pastelillos on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes, until dough is golden and crispy. Serve fresh from the oven with a little hot sauce on the side, if you like.
Makes 8 pastelillos.
* If you can’t find the ingredients to make recaíto, substitute with: 1 minced garlic clove; 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro; 2 teaspoons finely diced yellow onion; and 2 teaspoons finely diced Cubanelle, Bell or Chili pepper.
Post by Alison Hein.
Albert Einstein once said, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.” Take bacon and eggs, for example. If you’ve ever eaten undercrisped bacon and overcooked eggs you’ll know what I mean.
My husband, Kevin, makes the best bacon and eggs I’ve ever eaten. Turns out he once worked as a short order cook. So I asked him to make breakfast for me and watched carefully as he chopped, fried, and flipped. Here are the culinary secrets I uncovered:
-Timing is everything.
-Cook the bacon low and slow.
-Don’t crowd the eggs.
On the evening prior, Kevin baked a Russet potato tossed with olive oil and sea salt. In the morning, he got his hash browns going, then started slow-cooking the applewood bacon. Kevin made sure to turn the thick slices several times, keeping them nicely coated with bacon fat as they edged toward a crisped brown. Finally, he cracked the eggs right on the rim of the oversized cast iron frying pan, quickly, then dropped them in one at a time leaving plenty of space between them. After frying the eggs for a minute or two, he gave them a final flip, then cooked them a few seconds longer to over-easy perfection.
I helped him out by making some toast, and by savoring the absolute best kind of breakfast in bed imaginable – one made to order with love and care.
1 Russet potato, baked
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon paprika
4 to 6 slices bacon
For the hash browns, lightly spray a medium-sized heavy frying pan with cooking spray and place on stove over medium heat. Coarsely chop baked potato, skin on, and place in pan. Add a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally and adding additional oil as necessary, until potatoes are golden and crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes. When done, turn heat to very low and keep warm.
Start the bacon right after the potatoes are seasoned. Spray a very large heavy frying pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add bacon and cook steadily over medium heat, turning each slice several times, until bacon is browned and crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Monitor heat as necessary to keep bacon cooking evenly. Let bacon drain on paper towels, and keep warm until eggs are cooked.
To make eggs, carefully remove excess bacon fat from frying pan, and place back over medium heat. Crack eggs into pan one at a time, making sure to leave enough space between the eggs so the whites don’t run together. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook each egg until white is solid, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip egg and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Transfer eggs to plates and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
by Alison Hein
My husband and I are back from our extended Caribbean stay – back home (good) and back to the cold (not so much). Wintry weather calls for homey comfort food, so when Kevin requested chili for dinner, I was quick to comply. In my world, a bowl of mouth-burning, spicy chili is not complete without a fresh-from-the-oven batch of buttery corn bread. It’s so easy to make your own, with multitudes of personalization options. Sometimes I make it unsweetened, or zest it up and make Lime-Cilantro Corn Bread with Honey Butter. This time, though, I just made straight up old-fashioned corn bread – the perfect foil for our fiery stew.
In the morning, I decided to use some of the corn bread for our morning meal. But what? Then it came to me: a play on Hot Browns, the legendary late-night breakfast dish from The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. I switched it up a little, omitting the turkey and using Irish bacon. Just wait for that hot, bubbly, bacony dish to come out of the oven. Just wait for a legendary Hot Brown breakfast in bed.
Learn more about the historic Brown Hotel and see the original Hot Brown Recipe here:
2 thick pieces of corn bread
1 Roma tomato
2 – 4 slices Irish (or Canadian) Bacon
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
Paprika, for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley
Slice corn bread pieces in half, and place two each into two oven-proof dishes. Cut Roma tomato into four thick slices, and place one tomato slice on top of each piece of corn bread. In the meantime, fry bacon over medium low heat to a crispy brown. Drain on paper towels. Set aside and keep warm.
To make cheese sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add grated cheese and stir until just melted. Pour half of the cheese mixture over each dish of corn bread, covering bread and tomatoes completely.
Broil Hot Browns 6 inches from heat, until cheese sauce is bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 1 minute. Top each dish with a slice or two of crispy Irish bacon, sprinkle with paprika, garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Alison Hein
For the first time in my life, I have ended up on the right side of a flight cancellation. My husband, Kevin, and I usually get stranded in a busy airport, or never even leave home. Now, because of winter storm Nemo, we are trapped in paradise – the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Martin. We love this amazing place, and can never soak up enough sunshine before returning home. A four-day delay feels like the snow day to end all snow days!
We were fortunate with our accommodations as well. The aptly named Casa del Sol was available, and our gracious hostess kindly extended our stay. Veronique provides little surprises for us before our arrival in St. Martin. This visit was no different, with some rich Arabica beans tucked next to the espresso maker, an overflowing bowl of lush, tropical fruit, and an icy chilled bottle of champagne in the fridge.
What better way to spend my exta time than experimenting with new recipes? (Last time we were in St. Martin I made Piña Colada French Toast . Poking around the charming Provençal kitchen, I was delighted to find a copy of the colorful, island recipe-packed Creole Recipes and Cocktails from the Caribbean.
Flipping through the little cookbook, Exotic Fruit Crumble popped out. The name was perfect, and we also had mangoes and bananas in our fruit bowl. I skipped the coconut (Kevin doesn’t like it) and added some vanilla rum (hey, we’re in the Caribbean). A few other little changes, converting everything from grams to US measures, and my little tropical crumble was ready for baking. After the dish baked for 40 minutes in a hot oven, Kevin and I were enjoying an exotic, Caribbean delight.
If you’ve never tried cooked mangoes, you’re in for a delightful discovery – flavors sweeten and meld with baking, become reminiscent of peach pie, yet still remain startlingly light and bright. So, if you can’t be trapped in paradise, pick up some luscious mangoes and ripe bananas, and make yourself an exotic breakfast in bed for two. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Exotic Fruit Crumble
1 tablespoon vanilla rum (or substitute vanilla)
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°. Hold mango lengthwise, and with a sharp knife, slice through just to one side of the pit. Turn mango, and carefully slice through on the other side of the pit. Chop off the sides remaining around the pit. Score each sliced piece lenghtwise into several long, thin slices, but do not cut through the skin. Score again crosswise to create small cubes. Repeat with other mango section. Scoop scored pieces out with a spoon and place in small oven-proof dish. Skin and slice banana. Add to dish containing mango pieces. Pour vanilla rum over fruit and stir to mix. Set aside.
In a separate small bowl, mix together flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon until crumbly. Spread evenly over fruit mixture. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until topping is lightly browned and fruit is cooked through.
Serve hot with a dollop of whipped cream, if you like.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe adapted from Creole Recipes and Cocktails from the Caribbean, Volume 2
Post by Alison Hein
Facebook. That’s how I got reacquainted with my good friend Danny. We live miles apart and haven’t seen each other for years. In my mind, Danny is still that tall, gangly teenager with the easy smile and friendly style. Except that he’s not. Well, I’m pretty sure he’s still friendly, and I hope that he smiles often, but he’s certainly not gangly anymore.
Dan recently messaged me: “In 2012, a health coach friend helped me take control of my dietary habits, and now I feel better than I have in years. So, I am starting 2013 with a new commitment to help others make more healthful decisions about food and exercise.”
After a further exchange of messages, Dan shared the following: “For two decades, I worked first in retail, then in radio. Then, an awful thing happened – I got my first desk job. I sat, and sat, and sat some more. I also gained, and gained, and gained until I was 75 pounds overweight.”
Dan is committed to his weight loss journey, and has lost 25 pounds so far. It’s enough to allow him to walk a mile or two without losing his breath, and enough that his self-esteem has returned from exile.
You go, Danny! Kudos for your hard work and commitment to helping others! Here’s a light and healthy Egg White Omelet named in your honor. Fresh vegetables and nature’s pure flavors make this an enjoyable, healthy breakfast in bed. So relax, fuel up, then go out and do something exciting to post to Facebook. ☺
Olive oil cooking spray
1 ripe but firm tomato
1 cup loosely packed fresh baby spinach
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and heat on high. Cut tomato into thick slices. Place on hot pan and cook until tomato is softened (and grill-marked) but still firm, about 1 minute on each side. Set aside and keep warm.
Liberally spray a small, heavy pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place baby spinach leaves in pan and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Whisk egg whites with water until frothy. Add eggs to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently, folding over around wilted spinach. Push back edges and let uncooked egg whites flow underneath. Cook until egg whites are set, but still glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Fold in half and gently slide onto serving plate. Top with grilled tomato slices and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving.
See Dan’s facebook page if you are interested in learning more about his journey and commitment to helping others – http://www.facebook.com/Coach.Rudt