Tag Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
Summer has ended. The sweet, colorful heirloom tomatoes we’ve been enjoying all season are dwindling at local farmer’s markets, slowly being replaced by staunch winter squash and hardy pumpkins. Definitely time to make a few last minute heirloom purchases, and showcase some in these lovely, summer-to-fall baked tartelettes.
Make your own pie crust for a real homemade treat, or substitute store-bought if you don’t have time to fuss. I like to make a very plain filling that adds body, but allows the lush, juicy summer heirloom flavors to shine through. Warm, light ricotta plays nicely with the crisp, autumnal bite of homemade crust. Fresh basil adds color and a snap of freshness after baking. Nice for a cozy, summer-to-fall breakfast in bed.
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water
1/3 cup butter
2 cups ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and white pepper, to taste
2 Heirloom tomatoes, varied colors
Fresh basil, for garnish
To make crust, sift together flour and salt. Remove half of the flour mixture and add to a separate small bowl. Add water to flour mixture and stir to make a paste. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into remaining flour mixture, using a pastry cutter or two forks. Mix all ingredients together until a smooth, uniform dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut in half. Gently roll out one piece of dough on a lightly floured board, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll dough to form a circle several inches larger than your pie pan, to accommodate sides and edges of pan. Fold circle of dough in half, gently lift, and place on top of pie pan. Trim, and form edges by making a fluted pattern, or you can press the dough down against the rim of the pie pan with a fork. Again using a fork, pierce bottom of dough in several places, which helps to keep dough flat as it bakes. If you like, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit pan, and weigh down with pie weights or dry beans. Repeat for second tartlette. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes, until crust is lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Make filling while pie crusts are cooling. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, eggs, rosemary, salt, and white pepper. Divide filling evenly among pie crusts. Slice heirloom tomatoes about ¼ inch thick. Cut and arrange tomatoes on top of ricotta filling, alternating colors and shapes as necessary. Reduce oven heat to 325° and bake filled tartlettes for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is set. Let cool at least one hour before serving. Garnish with fresh basil. Enjoy slightly warmed or at room temperature.
Makes 2 6-inch tartelettes.
Post by Erin Sears.
Fall is officially upon us. As the leaves change and the air grows crisp, I am sleeping more. The long days of summer have passed me by and I want to curl up and be cozy. When I read the Charles P. Rogers Bed Blog, I am frequently left drooling by Alison Hein’s delectable Breakfast in Bed blog posts. They make me believe that I can actually cook and have inspired me to go for it! However, if I’m going to actually eat in bed I need a way to do it that is stylish, affordable, and won’t ruin my sheets. This brings me to breakfast trays. It turns out that there is a breakfast tray available for every décor. Here are some of my favorites along with my personal fantasies to accompany them:
The I-want-to-pretend-that-I-live-in-a-cottage-by-the-sea tray.
The I-live-in-the-French-countryside tray. Handsome Frenchman not included.Source: www.thekitchn.com
The My-life-at-the-spa-Southern-California-I-can-hardly-be-bothered-to-take-off-my-terry-cloth-robe tray.
The I’m-having-a-bed-party-and-you’re-invited-heirloom tray.
The I-will-buy-this-immediately-as-soon-as-I-learn-Italian tray. Ti amo!
I hope that you find the breakfast tray of your dreams too. Enjoy fall, enjoy food, and let the nesting begin!
by Alison Hein.
My high school art teacher, Mrs. Norton, had a favorite phrase – “Simplicity is divinity.” We used to joke about it because she said it so frequently. We even worked it into a not-so-flattering poem about school in general, and our teachers in particular. But through the years, I’ve come to appreciate the sentiment behind the words. Take Champignon Toast, for example. Bread, cheese, mushrooms. Slice and add heat. And what do you get? A masterpiece! ☺
As a teenager visiting cousins in Germany, I experienced many firsts. This cheesy, melted delight was one of my favorites. Struggling through the German language, I was somewhat confused by the use of the French word champignon (until I learned that the word for mushrooms in Germany is Pilzen).
So I stuck with the French name and have been making Champignon Toast ever since. Richly satisfying for breakfast. Served with a fresh garden or cucumber salad, it also makes a wonderful light dinner. Many variations can be achieved by working with different types of breads, cheeses and mushrooms. Ham or bacon can be added for a sturdier open-faced melt. And perhaps best of all, this recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients almost always on hand.
I like my Champignon Toast pushed to the edge of burnt, where the bread is warm but still soft, and the cheese is melted until nearly crispy. You may prefer yours a little less done, so watch closely when broiling as it melts quickly. Try it, at any rate, for a simple, divine breakfast in bed that even Mrs. Norton would approve.
2 slices Ciabatta bread
2 slices Jarlsberg cheese
2 crimini mushrooms
Dash of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fruit, for garnish (optional)
Turn on broiler. Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil. Cut 2 ½-inch thick slices of Ciabatta bread (if not pre-sliced), and place on foil-covered tray. Cut two thin slices of Jarlsberg cheese, to evenly cover bread slices.
Clean mushrooms by brushing thoroughly with a paper towel. Trim ends, and slice into thin slices. Arrange evenly on top of cheese-covered bread. Drizzle a small amount of balsamic vinegar on top of mushroom slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Broil champignon toast slices 6 inches from flame, 1 to 2 minutes, until cheese is melted and mushrooms are soft. Serve hot.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Alison Hein.
Time to pack up the beach chairs, get sweaters out of storage, and go back-to-school shopping. It’s also time to say goodbye to fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables. But, in between the first frost and the last tomato, a harvest bounty of zucchini still thrives in neighborhood gardens. The fruits of this hardy, prolific vine have the tendency to ripen all at once, leaving us with the quandary of what to do with this over-abundance.
A quick look online yields a multitude of savory summer squash options – cut in rounds and served over pasta; sliced ribbon-thin and quickly sautéed with yellow squash, carrots, and lemon zest; or carved into little boats and stuffed with seasoned breadcrumbs and mozzarella cheese.
There are also many, many sweet zucchini bread and muffin recipes out there. I’m sure you all have your favorites. But what about pancakes? It might seem like an odd notion at first, but you may change your mind after digging into your first feathery light, green-specked flapjack.
Reminiscent of zucchini bread, these pancakes have an appealing, sweet hardiness – the tender squash providing both depth and moistness. I like to shred the zucchini finely enough to cook quickly, but large enough to retain texture and color. If you shred and freeze zucchini in small batches, you can enjoy harvest breakfasts in bed all year long.
Zucchini Harvest Pancakes
2 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup zucchini, finely shredded
4 ounces (one half stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled
Additional butter for frying
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. In separate bowl, stir together milk, egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually add milk mixture to dry ingredients. Fold in zucchini. Slowly add melted butter to batter. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into batter. Place pan or griddle on burner over medium to medium high heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan for the first pancake. Ladle batter by ½ cupfuls into pan and cook until small bubbles appear throughout pancake. Flip once with spatula and continue cooking until golden brown, one to two minutes, adding more butter and adjusting heat as necessary. Keep warm while making the remainder of pancakes. Serve hot with real maple syrup.
Makes 12 to 14 4-inch pancakes
Post by Alison Hein.
When new inspiration is needed in the fashion world, designers look to the past. Suddenly, “retro” means “in style,” hemlines swing dramatically up or down, and department stores are filled to the brim with tie-dyed or shoulder-padded outfits.
So, I thought, in our new gluten-free, paleo world, why not apply this concept to food? You may recall I very recently shared a recipe for Chestnut Pancakes, a gluten-free, earthy delight. Since that time, I have been doing a lot of research. You may not know that this country was once filled with mighty Chestnut trees, tall giants reaching as high as 150 feet, and as broad as 14 feet in diameter. Sadly, blight destroyed 3.5 billion American Chestnut trees during the first 40 years of the 20th century.
A lot of information, I know, but here’s where I get back to food – many older American pre-blight cookbooks contain recipes for chestnut dishes. I turned to one of my favorite old cookbooks by Sarah Tyson Rorer, published in 1912. Sure enough, I found (old) new inspiration and adapted this Chestnut Poached Eggs recipe from her original.
Roast chestnuts and purée them yourself, or take the easy route, and purchase canned. The purée quickly cooks to the consistency of hot cereal, like cream of wheat or rice. Topped with a steamy poached egg, a scant portion of rich, nutty chestnuts is surprisingly filling.
So why not give something “new” a try, for a retro, yet in-style breakfast in bed?
NOTE: Good news! Several foundations are working hard to develop blight-resistant varieties, and to restore the American Chestnut to its natural habitat in our Eastern forests. Many chestnut growers are popping up on the West coast as well. If you would like to read more about chestnuts, take a look at my chestnut article (http://mixerupper.com/2012/08/01/chestnuts/ ) .
1 ½ teaspoons butter
½ cup chestnut purée
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of white pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon dried parsley, finely crushed
Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add chestnut purée, milk, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth, and heat until warmed through. Mixture will be the consistency of hot cereal such as cream of wheat or rice. Reduce heat to low, cover and keep warm while poaching eggs.
Eggs should be as fresh as possible for perfect poaching. To poach eggs, fill a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover eggs (3 to 4 inches) and heat until very hot and simmering, but not boiling. Break eggs into individual small dishes. Or you can use an egg poacher. Carefully pour the first egg into the simmering water. Immediately use a wooden spoon to wrap the cooking white around the egg yolk to prevent the white from feathering. Repeat the process with the second egg, and cook for about four minutes, until the white is firm but the yolk is still soft. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain. Trim edges if necessary.
Spoon chestnut mixture evenly onto two small dishes. Top with poached eggs, dust with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.