Tag Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
Ever wake up late, hungry, but not quite wanting breakfast? Perhaps not quite wanting lunch as well, but not in the mood for a fussy brunch? That’s when you should break out the egg salad. Hard-boiled eggs, chopped and mixed with mayonnaise and fresh herbs, always hit the spot. Guaranteed to go fast, I strongly recommend cooking a few extra eggs. You can always use them for a quick snack, to top a Russian salad, or for a sixties-style deviled egg appetizer. Perhaps let your kids have a go at making egg salad (no cooking required), and let them serve you in style.
I like my egg salad sandwich on a crusty roll, but feel free to use soft brioche or lightly toasted white bread. Thick rich rye and pumpernickels are also wonderful – a nice contrast of thick, grainy bread against creamy, herbed eggs.
Ever versatile, try these egg salad change-ups:
- Spice it up – chop up some jalapeño peppers, add a splash of hot sauce, or a dash of cayenne. Serve on tortillas, if you like.
- Select various herbs – depending on your palate, parsley, rosemary, thyme and fennel are all good choices. A heavy hand of paprika (reminiscent of deviled eggs) is always pleasing.
- Serve open face – spread neatly on some mini-rye bread slices, and top with thin cucumber rounds and sprigs of fresh dill.
- Skip the bread altogether – delicately mound egg salad on baby greens, or Boston lettuce. Garnish with cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes.
Whatever your pleasure, I hope you enjoy and savor your late, not-so-breakfasty breakfast in bed!
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 roll, sliced
Handful of baby arugula
Place eggs in a small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and continue to cook eggs for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Cool and peel. Finely chop eggs and place in small bowl. Stir in mayonnaise and fresh dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread egg salad mixture on one half of roll. Top with baby arugula and serve.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Alison Hein.
While I was researching historical material for Milk Toast for last week’s post, I became engrossed in Maria Parloa’s The Appledore Cook Book. Leafing through an online copy, the recipe for Allie’s Cake intrigued me, as my husband and his family call me “Ali”. Who was Ms. Parloa? Who was Allie? As usual, one food mystery begets another, but here’s what little I learned:
Ms. Parloa was born in Massachusetts on September 25, 1843 and little is known about her early life. She became an orphan at a young age, and learned to cook in private homes and small hotels. She died at age 65, and during her lifetime accomplished many impressive feats, especially for a woman of her era. She:
- Wrote several cookbooks.
- Began two cooking schools and was associated with the Boston Cooking School.
- Is credited with the first published tomato soup recipe – Tomato Chowder – which appeared in The Appledore Cook Book.
- Was part owner of the Ladies Home Journal, and wrote regularly for it from 1891 on.
- Spent several years in France studying cooking techniques.
- Raised two orphaned girls in her home in her later years.
Of “Allie”, there was no further word. Setting out to modernize the recipe, I made several changes. First off, ingredients and preparation steps had to be separated. Next, I added a couple of eggs (who bakes a cake with no eggs?), swapped out saleratus (the predecessor of baking soda and baking powder) for baking powder, and reduced the amount of raisins (Allie wanted to use almost 4 cups!). I also determined that a “moderate oven” would be 350°, and specified a baking time.
The end result was a rich and dark, moist and fruity cake – an engaging cross between gingerbread and scones. Somewhere during this process I think “Allie’s” cake became “Ali’s” cake, and breakfast in bed became an ode to Maria Parloa and the mysterious Allie.
¼ pound (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups raisins
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until thick and creamy. Add eggs one at a time until well-blended. Mix in molasses and buttermilk.
Mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and salt) together in a separate small bowl. Stir dry ingredients into the batter, about one cupful at a time, until thoroughly blended. Stir in raisins.
Pour batter into a greased cake pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan. Let cool on rack for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and invert onto serving plate.
Makes 1 large cake, about 20 slices.
Post by Alison Hein.
Milk Toast is a dish that was popularized around the turn of the last century. In 1887, one of the first recipes appeared in print in Maria Parloa’s The Appledore Cook Book: Containing Practical Receipts for Plain and Rich Cooking:
Put one quart of milk in a tin or basin, and set into a kettle of boiling water. When it comes to a boil stir in two spoonfuls of flour, mixed with half a cup of milk, one spoonful of butter, and salt to taste; let this boil ten minutes, and then put in the bread, which must be toasted brown. Cook five minutes longer and serve.
Simply toasted bread, served in a warm, lightly sweetened milk bath, makes an easily digested meal. Some made it as a way to use up excess milk in the days before refrigeration. It soon became a popular breakfast for young children and the infirm.
In 1924, cartoonist H.T. Webster, inspired by the bland nature of milk toast, created the wimpy character Caspar Milquetoast. Mr. Milquetoast was featured in Webster’s comic strip The Timid Soul for nearly 30 years, until the early 1950s.
But don’t let all this ancient history and spineless connotation prevent you from trying milk toast. It turns out that milk toast is delicious! If you have a way to steam the milk (like a cappuccino machine) mix the sugar and vanilla into the milk first and use this method. You can also try adding some fresh berries or dried fruit. Experiment with different types of bread, if you like, or chop the toast into easily edible cubes before serving.
Pretty soon all the little Milquetoasts in the house will be crying out for a Milk Toast breakfast in bed.
2 slices thick bread
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of cinnamon
Place bread slices in toaster and toast to a golden brown. Spread each slice evenly with butter.
In the meantime, pour milk into a heavy saucepan. Stir in sugar and vanilla and heat over medium heat, without stirring, until milk begins to simmer around the edges, about 5 minutes.
Place toast on a serving plate. Pour steaming milk on top of toast, sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve immediately.
Makes one serving.
Post by: Alison Hein
Here’s another wondrous idea from my friend Iva – Fig n’Feta Toast. Who knew the flavors of fig and feta go together like peanut butter and jelly, like salt and pepper, like prosciutto and melon? It’s a perfect pairing, a delicate secret, an idea I wish I’d thought of. 😉
In Iva’s native Albania, breakfast can be as easy as toasting a thick slice of crusty bread, then schmearing with a swipe of butter, a dollop of fig marmalade, and a generous hunk of creamy feta cheese. It’s warm and toasty, sweet and salty. I gobbled mine up in seconds.
I was able to purchase a good fig spread in a local specialty grocery, but if you can’t find any, try ordering online. Dalmatia Imports makes a very nice fig spread (as well as other interesting fruit condiments and tapenades) which can be ordered from igourmet.com. There is hardly any sweetener added, so the spread has a rich, natural fruit flavor. Try it, and you will soon find yourself experimenting – fig spread adds sweetness and dimension to sandwiches, pastries, cheese dips, even ice cream!
But for now let’s stick with breakfast. Iva recommends a tall glass of steamed milk to go with the Fig n’Feta Toast. “No coffee. Just steamed milk,” she says. “I know it’s not a common drink in this country, but it perfectly complements the sweet and salty, fruity and cheesy toast.”
What have you got to lose? Try Iva’s perfect pairing of fig n’feta for a wondrous breakfast in bed!
4 slices thick bread
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fig marmalade, jam, or spread
4 slices feta cheese
Toast bread to a light golden brown. Spread butter evenly on toast slices. Top with fig spread and a slice of feta cheese. Serve while still warm, accompanied by fruit and a glass of steamed milk.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Years ago you could only find grits, or ground corn cooked porridge-like, in the southern United States. Luckily for us northerners, this delectable, creamy dish has become more prominent in our area. To me, grits tastes like a heavenly cross between polenta and popcorn. When cooked slowly with milk instead of water, it makes a perfect bed upon which to place your favorite breakfast food.
As with other grains, cooking grits takes a bit of patience. You must bring the milk (or water) to a boil, then find the perfect simmering temperature to bring your grits to a creamy (not burnt) finish. I strongly recommend looking for traditional stone-ground grits with no additives. It may take a few minutes longer to prepare, but the natural flavors are extraordinary. Try ordering online if you can’t find these locally. My favorite purveyor is Palmetto Farms, a family-owned South Carolina tradition since the 1930s.
Grits have long been considered a homey breakfast dish, but can be enjoyed for dinner, too – serve them as a simple side with a pat of butter, or spruce them up by stirring in chicken stock, cheese, fried onions, or bacon. Try the Carolina classic shrimp and grits – a mournful of creamy corn grits, topped with plump seasoned and sautéed shellfish – astoundingly easy to prepare, yet deep and rich in flavor.
In this breakfast recipe, I add spunky grated cheddar to the grits as they cease simmering. Then I fry up a couple of crispy eggs to place on top, and complete with some fresh, green parsley sprigs for color and punch in my heavenly breakfast in bed.
2 cups milk
½ cup grits
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh parsley, for garnish
Pour milk into a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in grits and a dash of salt. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until grits are thick and creamy. Stir in grated cheddar cheese and keep warm until ready to serve.
To make eggs, heat olive oil in large, heavy frying pan over medium low 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, edges are beginning to crisp and yolk is still soft, about 4 minutes.
Spoon cheese grits into two bowls. Top each serving with a fried egg. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings