Tag Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
Even though we like to stay in our PJs and lounge about in the bedroom all day, we recognize there are times when you need to stretch your legs and visit other parts of the house. That’s why we thought it might be fun to get you up and out once in awhile with a brunch recipe. J
If you are familiar with white asparagus, you will know it is exactly the same as green asparagus with one major exception – it is grown under mounded earth dams which prevents chlorophyll from developing and keeps the stalks white.
White asparagus also has a deep, mellow flavor and can be served in many forms. It’s delightful simply steamed and drizzled with butter or hollandaise. Delicious served cold in a niçoise-style salad, tucked neatly into a cheesy omelet, or puréed into a fragrant cream soup.
There is, however, one cardinal rule about this mysterious vegetable – you absolutely MUST peel the woody skins from the stalks for every preparation. This sounds tedious, I know, but once you get the hang of it the work goes fast. It takes a little patience, and a firm but delicate touch.
This soup is a favorite of ours and a surprise for guests. I always retain a few asparagus tips for garnish, and mix up a tangy Horseradish Cream Sauce for a little added kick.
3 pounds white asparagus
4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, chopped
⅓ cup flour
1 package (32 oz.) vegetable broth
½ cup white wine
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Dash nutmeg (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon creamy horseradish
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Cut off bottom inch of asparagus stems and discard. To peel skins, lay each spear on a flat surface. Peel one at a time using vegetable peeler. Gently hold asparagus tip, start about one inch below tip, peel off skin and discard. Coarsely chop asparagus spears and set aside. If desired, retain about 12 to 18 spear tips to be cooked separately and used as garnish.
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour. Gradually add broth, stirring into flour mixture until smooth. Add wine, asparagus, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.
In separate small saucepan, simmer reserved asparagus tips in lightly salted water until tender, or about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Stir in heavy cream. Lightly puree in blender or food processor.
To make Horseradish Cream, mix sour cream and creamy horseradish together in a small bowl.
Serve soup warm, garnished with Horseradish Cream, reserved asparagus tips and chopped parsley.
Makes approximately 6 1-cup servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Just last week, I had a long, fascinating conversation with my friend Tim who works for Charles P. Rogers – all about oatmeal!
“You need to do more with savory oatmeal dishes,” Tim said.
“Hmmm,” I stalled. “But I don’t really care for savory oatmeal.”
“That’s okay, but I want to get my kids to eat more oatmeal. It’s good for your health – you know, blood pressure, cholesterol – all that good stuff.”
“Well,” I said. “You’ve got to use the slow cook oats. Steel cut oats are very good. How about with a little cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg? And, have you tried cooking your oatmeal overnight in a crock pot?”
“Oh,” Tim replied. “I like the sound of nutmeg. I’ll try it. You can cook oatmeal in a crock pot?”
“Yup. Start the night before, and in the morning, your oatmeal will be thick and creamy, with all the rough edges cooked out. I like to cook oatmeal with apples, maybe a touch of cider. But if you really like savory flavors, how about toss in a little cheese? Or a fried or poached egg on top?”
“This is a lot of oatmeal information,” Tim responded.
Oops. Sorry Tim! You know how excited I get about breakfast foods. How about something we can both enjoy? Savory oatmeal cakes, baked with just enough honey to keep them flaky and moist. You can top yours with a slice of cheese, Canadian bacon, or smoked salmon, and I’ll smear mine, hot from the oven, with fresh creamery butter and sweet raspberry jam.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (one half stick) cold butter
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In large bowl, mix together oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into dry ingredients until mixed in and crumbly. Add milk and honey to dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed in.
Turn batter out onto lightly floured board. With floured hands, divide into two equal pieces and shape into large balls. Press each ball into a flat round and cut into quarters. Place scones on baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until tops begin to lightly brown. Serve warm, with your choice of sweet or savory toppings.
Makes 8 oatmeal cakes.
by: Alison Hein
Several years ago I purchased a set of six mini-tart pans. Since then, whenever I make a pie, I’ve gotten into the habit of rolling out any extra dough, plopping it into one of these mini-pans, and storing it in the freezer until I’m ready to use it. This process enables me to impress people with On the Fly Mini Quiches. The frozen shells take mere minutes to thaw, and the small number of ingredients required can usually be found in your cupboards and fridge.
It’s this simple – use the “mother” recipe as a guide – then fool around with fillings, cheeses and spices as you desire. This is a wonderful way to utilize small amounts of extra vegetables or meats.
Earlier this week I received an “on the fly” invitation to visit my daughter-in-law who is home with our brand new granddaughter! She’s tired and busy, so I decided to whip up a few mini quiches that she could use or freeze. I settled on Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato, and Mushroom Swiss (see ingredients below).
To further simplify, purchase pre-made pie dough, or try this easy recipe for pie crust. You can even make crustless mini quiche – just be sure to grease the pan well before baking.
They are so cute! You might want to admire them before tucking into your on the fly breakfast in bed!
On the Fly Mini Quiche
1 4-inch pie crust in pan, unbaked
¼ cup main filling
2 tablespoons cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped herb (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon cream or half & half
Preheat oven to 350°. (Thaw mini-pie crusts if frozen.) Place mini-pie crust on baking tray. Spread filling evenly across the bottom of the dough. Cover with cheese and herbs.
Whisk egg and cream together in a small bowl. Pour egg mixture over pie filling until covered and egg mixture reaches just below the rim of pie dough. Do not pour egg mixture above the pie dough rim – extra can be used for the next mini-quiche.
Bake quiche for around 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and quiche is puffed up and golden.
Makes 1 serving.
Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Mini Quiche
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh mozzarella, shredded or sliced thin
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley or basil
Mushroom and Swiss Mini Quiche
¼ cup sliced mushrooms, sautéed in butter with salt and pepper
2 tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Breakfast in Bed – Vasilopita
by Alison Hein.
In Greek, the word “pita” can mean pie, cake or scone, in addition to the popular flatbread we know and love. In this case let’s go with “cake”. When you add the term “Vasil” to its front, our cake becomes St. Basil’s Cake, traditionally served at the Greek New Year. There’s a story that goes along with the cake:
The city of Caesarea was under siege. St. Basil, the archbishop, called upon the townspeople to contribute their valuables to stop the siege. The people freely gave all their gold, silver, jewelry and coins, and when the enemy learned of this, he was so embarrassed he called off the siege. St. Basil wanted to return the unpaid ransom, but with no way of knowing the rightful owners, he baked everything into loaves of bread and distributed these evenly around the city. Miraculously, each resident was returned exactly what he or she had contributed.
The story changes with the region, as does the cake. Sometimes it is sweeter, or made with yeast. It may incorporate lemons, oranges, or apples. Usually it calls for “makhlepi”, crushed sour cherry pits that are difficult to find in these parts. The numeric year may be written on the top of the cake with nuts, cloves or icing. Almost always, a coin is wrapped in foil and inserted in the batter before baking – an extra blessing in the new year for the lucky recipient.
On New Year’s Day, the cake is cut and servings distributed, starting with the eldest member of the family down to the youngest. A slice may be cut for St. Basil, the church, the poor, etc. Or, a slice may be cut for a Greek New Year’s breakfast in bed.
Ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος!
½ cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butte
½ cup sugar
1 orange (zested and juiced)
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sesame seeds
Coin wrapped in foil
Preheat oven to 350°. Generously grease a large spring-form pan with the tablespoon of butter and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in two eggs, one at a time, until mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the rind and juice of the orange and lemon.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into cake batter, a little at a time, until batter is thick and smooth. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Insert coin wrapped in foil, if using. Use a spatula to smooth top. Lightly beat the remaining egg with one tablespoon of water and brush on top of cake. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of cake.
Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, until cake is golden brown and cooked through when tested with a toothpick.
Allow cake to cool completely before removing from pan and slicing.
Makes 1 small cake, about 8 to 10 slices
Post by Alison Hein.
Congratulations to Kathy Cassel Marino and Bonny Shampang Zalewski, the two winners of our Charles P. Rogers cookbook giveaway! We hope you both enjoy the book, and would love to hear your impressions after you receive your copies!
Now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging…
Our good friends Nick and Vicky came to our home for dinner last weekend. We hadn’t seen them for a while, so I wanted to do something simple (so we would have more time to visit) but special (because we love them and it’s a festive time of year). We put together a cheerful cheeseboard and Nick’s favorite artichoke dip for appetizers.
Our first course was creamy vegetable soup, followed by a crisp, palate-cleansing tri-color salad. Kevin then prepared an elegant entrée of steamed lobster (growing up in New Hampshire has its benefits J) which we served with drawn butter and lots of cracking implements.
After much eating, drinking and gabbing, we settled in to enjoy our dessert of Apples en Croute. The French term “en croute” refers to a food that has been wrapped in pastry dough and baked in the oven. When you do this with apples, you get a homey, seasonal dessert – fresh-baked and warm and fragrant. Your friends and family will enjoy eating their own individual, pie-like creation.
Use pre-made pie dough to simplify the process even further. Fiddle around with the types of apples. Experiment with a variety of fillings. Make Apples en Croute after dinner as a homey, seasonal dessert; or first thing in the morning, for a simple, special breakfast in bed.
Pie crust (recipe below)
3 small, tart apples (about 4 ounces each)
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 325°.
Roll out pie crust and cut into 6 6-inch circles. Place on ungreased baking tray.
Peel and core apples. Cut each apple in half horizontally, so circled core remains intact. Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Roll each apple half in sugar mixture, and place on prepared pie crust circles.
Mix together pecans and golden raisins, and stuff into apple cores. Dot each apple with butter. Bring dough up around apples and pinch together. (You may also tie with baking twine, just be sure to remove before serving.)
Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush egg mixture all over the dough-wrapped apple. Sprinkle each apple with any remaining cinnamon sugar. Place apples in oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream on the side, if you like.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1/3 cup water
Crust – sift together flour and salt. Remove 1/3 cup flour mixture and add 1/3 cup water to make paste. Cut better into small cubes and cut into remaining flour mixture. Mix all ingredients together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes. Cut dough in half. Roll out each half. Makes enough for one covered 9” pie.