Tag Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
Short, dreary January days are perfectly suited to bread baking. Homemade bread is easier to make than you may think, especially if you own a food processor. All that’s required is a little flour and yeast, and a little larger commitment of time and patience.
Allocate several hours for the process, and don’t be dismayed if your first attempt is less than perfect – you will get better with practice. And, once you bite into your first fresh-from-the-oven steamy slice of homemade bread, there’s no going back. Three lovely. wheaty baguettes will scent your home with bakery aromas, and fill your heart with great accomplishment.
Try a cozy winter meal that calls for no more than a thick slice of sweet, salty homemade bread beside a piping hot seasonal soup. Better yet, slather a warm hunk of baguette with creamery butter, maybe some strawberry jam too. Pour a cup of dark-roast coffee, and reward yourself with the perfect cure for those short, dreary January days – breakfast in bed!
2 cups tepid water
1 tablespoon (2 packets) dry yeast
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
Oil for rising
Flour for kneading, shaping and dusting loaves
Add water to large food processor, or large bowl. Gently sprinkle yeast on top to cover surface. Set aside until yeast begins to activate, about 10 minutes.
Add oil, honey, salt and wheat flour to food processor or bowl. Gently pulse on food processor dough setting or stir until mixed in. Add white flour, about a cup at a time, until mixed in. If using food processor, gently pulse until dough is compressed and begins to pull away from side of bowl. Be careful not to over mix or dough will become tough. If making bread by hand, turn out onto floured board and knead gently for about five minutes. Add about ½ teaspoon oil to large bowl. Place dough in bowl. Turn and flip so oiled side faces up. Cover with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let dough rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.
Punch down dough. Turn onto floured board and shape into 3 equal-sized baguettes. Sprinkle large baking tray with cornmeal. Place loaves on tray, cover with light tea towel and set in warm, non-drafty place to rise. Let loaves rise for about one hour, until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425° about 15 minutes before dough is finished rising. Lightly sprinkle loaves with flour (use a sifter or sieve). Carefully make a few diagonal slashes on each loaf, using a razor blade or very sharp knife (I keep a craft knife on hand for this purpose).
Place loaves in oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Makes 3 baguettes.
Post by Alison Hein
We recently invited my cousin Vin and his girlfriend Michele to our home for dinner. We are just getting to know Michele, yet she seems to know me pretty well. She gave me the perfect gift. It was wrapped in dark brown paper, tied up with a jaunty ribbon, and adorned with a silver star cookie cutter.
Inside the wrappings I found A Jug of Wine, a cookbook written by Morrison Wood in 1949. Well- thumbed and lovingly stained, the binding was bulging from personal recipes tucked inside – Fresh Tomato Pudding, Chrissie’s Oven-Fried Chicken and Zucchini Soup. Michele had no idea that some of my favorite cookbooks are garage sale finds with hand-written notes in the margins advising me to “use less sugar”, “stir longer than suggested”, or even “awful. Skip this.”
A Jug of Wine calls for wine in every recipe, but I figured, what the heck. The alcohol cooks out and just leaves the flavor, right? Hard-boiled eggs filled with a mixture of sweet Madeira-flavored mushrooms, tangy green onions and fresh parsley sounded intriguing. Morrison suggests placing the filled eggs on toast rounds, but I decided to use Michele’s cookie cutter for an amazing, star-studded breakfast in bed.
2 mushrooms (about ½ cup chopped)
½ green onion (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Madeira wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons butter
½ teaspoon breadcrumbs
4 thin slices of bread, toasted and cut into stars, rounds, or other shape
Place eggs in small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and cook for one minute or so. Turn off heat, and let eggs remain in hot water for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Immerse in cold water and carefully peel eggs.
Slice eggs in half at the center, so yolk openings are round, rather than oblong. Carefully slice a little bit off the end of each egg half, just enough so the egg white can rest flat on a plate. Scoop out yolks, chop finely, and place in small bowl. Set yolk and prepared egg whites aside. Clean and finely chop mushrooms and onion. Add to chopped eggs. Add parsley, Madeira, salt and pepper to eggs as well, stirring in gently.
Melt 1½ teaspoons butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add egg mixture to pan and sauté over medium to medium-low until mushrooms and onion are soft, about 5 minutes. Stuff prepared egg whites with mushroom mixture, sprinkle them with breadcrumbs and dot with remaining butter. Place one stuffed egg on each toast round and put on baking tray. Broil 6 inches from heat until gently browned, about 30 seconds. Garnish with parsley and fresh fruit, if you like. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Eggs can also be served cold. Simply chill the eggs after stuffing and omit the breadcrumbs, butter and toast.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe adapted from Morrison Wood’s Mushroom Stuffed Eggs
Post by Alison Hein
Götterspeise – quite a mouthful, whether you’re saying it or eating it. “Food of the Gods” is so decadently delicious, it’s a decidedly rare indulgence. Here’s my story:
Location: Straubing, Germany, Uncle Franz and Aunt Irmgard’s kitchen
Time: Just after New Year’s, late evening, after a long day of over-eating and over-drinking
Cast: Tante Irmgard and me
Irmgard: “Have you ever tried Götterspeise?”
Irmgard: “Never mind. Watch me.”
Irmgard pulls out a few cookie tins and removes a variety of sugared, nut and cinnamon-filled delights. She breaks these into pieces and places them in a large bowl. She runs quickly to the other room for the brandy decanter, returns and sloshes a generous portion over the whole cookie mess.
Irmgard: “Good night.”
Me: “Huh? What about the Götterspeise?”
Irmgard: “That? We’re having it for breakfast!”
Morning arrives. Irmgard and I are back in the kitchen. Irmgard whips out a heavy pot and places it on the stove. She heats some milk, adds some eggs and some other ingredients to make pudding. Then she pours this on top of the brandy-soaked cookies. She scoops some Götterspeise into a couple of bowls, and tops them off with whipped cream. She hands me one.
Irmgard: “Guten Appetit!”
I dig deep into the Götterspeise. My spoon comes up a gooey mass of culinary dimensions – dense, brandied pastry; rich, golden pudding; sweet, airy cream. I close my eyes. I taste. I sigh. I understand the name. This is indeed Godly food.
Me: “Danke schön!”
Moral of the story: When having an indulgent breakfast in bed, be sure to eat decadently delicious food.
2 cups broken assorted Christmas cookies (substitute a mix of any firm, stale cookies)
1½ cups rum (substitute brandy or liqueur)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
Place broken cookies into large glass dish. Pour rum evenly over cookies and let sit for at least one hour, or as long as overnight. When ready to prepare, give the cookie mixture a good stir, and divide evenly into two serving dishes (cocktail glasses work well for this).
Combine sugar and flour in a heavy saucepan. Add milk, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk about one half of the milk mixture into the beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Return egg mixture to the saucepan. Bring again to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and cook for a few minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and salt.
Gently pour pudding mixture over cookies, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm.
If you like, whip heavy cream, sweeten, and place on top of Götterspeise when ready to serve.
Post by Alison Hein.
Throughout the course of the year, you won’t find much jam in my pantry. Maybe a jar of strawberry in the fridge, perhaps a blueberry variety in the cabinet. But that all changes at Christmas time, when I purchase every flavor and color I can find: blackberry, raspberry, peach, orange….even lemon and lime… in order to satisfy everyone’s favorite cookie craving and my pursuit of a colorful holiday platter.
So just about now, I find myself with a refrigerator full of jam, each jar missing only a spoonful or two. What to do? Bake Jammer Biscuits – simple drop biscuits dressed up and shiny with pretty fruit filling. Lightly sweetened and quick to prepare, Jammers are tasty either hot or cold. Let your kids help you bake – they’ll love making little biscuit craters and filling them to the brim with gooey jam.
Then, in a mere 12 minutes, they’ll be feasting on the fruits (ha,ha) of their labor. Crispy outside, melt-in-your-mouth soft middle, just begging for a tall glass of ice cold milk or a mug of hot, hot coffee. Jammers are just right for a grab and go bite or a mid-morning snack; better yet for a jammy breakfast in bed.
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
¼ cup to ½ cup jam
Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly grease baking sheet and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, 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. (You can also use buttermilk in place of the milk and vinegar, if you like.) Pour all at once into flour mixture, and stir until just mixed.
Drop batter onto prepared baking sheet using a greased ¼-cup measure. Grease the back of a spoon, and use to make crater-like indentations in tops of biscuits. Fill each biscuit with approximately 2 teaspoons of jam. Bake until crispy and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 8 biscuits.
Post by Alison Hein.
My husband and I were just leaving our favorite local Italian restaurant recently when the owner stopped us. “Merry Christmas!”, Antoinette said, as she raced after us and thrust a jaunty red-packaged Panettone in our direction. I happily accepted the gift, as the holiday season would be incomplete without at least one of these airy, fruit-filled sweet breads added to my holiday larder.
Sadly, the abundance of homemade temptations during this season – from cookies to chocolate to cheesecake – is often so overwhelming that the poor panettone may be overlooked. In this case, I will make French toast, or what I like to call Italian PaneToast.
Panettone is tall (6 to 7 inches) and is typically shaped like a chef’s toque. Its airy, angel food cake-like consistency comes from the long and slow rising process of the dough which can last several days. Traditional varieties include both dark and golden raisins, candied orange, citron and lemon zest. Less common types may include chocolate, chestnuts, or other types of fruit.
Open the package and a spicy citrus-vanilla scent is released. The panettone is so flavor-filled that only egg and milk are needed for the toast. (Well, maybe just a drop of alcohol, too, as it’s traditional to serve panettone with a sweet cordial. ;-)) Cut the bread in thick wedges – the sweet bread’s dough is so light and airy that the custardy toast browns to perfection in mere minutes.
There are many intriguing legends about the origin of panettone, from a nobleman posing as a pastry chef for love of a baker’s daughter, to a young kitchen assistant inventing the sweet bread when the chief cook had no Christmas dessert to offer. Start your own intriguing legend, with a new holiday tradition of Italian PaneToast breakfast in bed.
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Frangelico or Amaretto (optional)
8 wedge-slices Panettone
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish
In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add Frangelico or Amaretto if using. Dip panettone slices into the egg mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add panettone and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, adding more butter as needed. Place two slices of Panetonne on each of 4 plates, sprinkle lightly with confectioner’s sugar if you like. Serve warm with maple syrup.
Makes 4 servings.