Tag Archives: Breakfast in Bed
Post by Alison Hein.
The origin of Mint Juleps is clouded with the mist of the past. We know that the drink emanated from the southern United States most likely sometime in the 18th century. The word “julep” itself is quite unusual, and is thought to have been derived from the Persian word “golâb”, meaning rose water. Made by diffusing rose petals in water, rose water has historically been used for flavoring food, scenting perfumes, supporting religious rites, and enhancing medicinal concoctions.
A traditional Mint Julep is made with just four ingredients: fresh mint, sugar, bourbon and water. What began as a medical tonic to aid with “sickness at the stomach” has since morphed into a southern tradition and the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. Approximately 120,000 Mint Juleps are sold during the race each year. The frosty thirst-quenching drinks are a surefire winner.
There are as many recipes for Mint Juleps as there are drinks sold at the Derby. Some make a mint-infused simple syrup while others prefer to muddle the fresh sprigs; some use blender-crushed ice and others like large, crystal cubes; and some add the traditional bourbon, though others favor whiskey, gin, or rum. Mine is a virgin version (unless we’re having a weekend champagne brunch) which calls for fresh mango purée to be added to the mix. A very refreshing option for a sticky summer morning.
Island mango and aromatic mint go together in every way – sweet counters spunky, herbal offsets fruity. Even the colors work! Rosy golden mango blush blurs and swirls with deep forest green for a winner of a breakfast in bed and a cure for what ails ya.
3 sprigs fresh mint, plus additional for garnish
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup mango purée
½ cup crushed ice
½ cup sparkling water, ginger ale, or champagne
Clean mint and trim leaves from stem. Add to a tall glass. Add sugar, and muddle together until the sugar and mint take on a pasty texture. Add mango puree and stir. Fill the glass with crushed ice, then finish with sparkling water, ginger ale, or champagne, Add a tall spoon and straw to the glass. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve icy chilled.
Makes 1 drink
Note: You can purchase mango purée, or make your own by peeling, chopping, and puréeing a fresh mango in a blender until thick and smooth. To make a traditional Mint Julep, replace the mango purée with bourbon, then add the crushed ice and fill the glass with water.
Post by Alison Hein.
Sometimes I write articles for the Skylands Visitor Magazine, an online and print publication with wonderful stories about the history, geography, and cultural activities in the five most Northwest counties of New Jersey – Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren, and Sussex. If you feel like taking a scenic drive, want to pick strawberries, are looking for a great new hike, or are interested in learning about new recipes, Skylands Visitor Magazine is a great resource.
I’ve been interviewing farmers, growers, and restaurateurs in the Skylands region, then begging for, preparing, and photographing their original recipes. Most recently, we decided to do a story on edible flowers. I quickly learned that I don’t know much about blooming edibles.
You may often cook with fresh herbs, but did you ever eat a thyme flower? Or sage, oregano, or chive flower? Herbal blooms have the taste of their parents, but with a concentrated, piquant flair. These tiny delicacies are available only when plants are in bloom, so use them. They are fragile and fleeting, uncommon and unique, luscious and lovely.
In this easy recipe, I chose to incorporate a touch of fresh thyme and chives into a fluff of creamy scrambled eggs, then seasoned the eggs simply with only salt, ground pepper, and tiny pink thyme flowers – an uncommon, flowery breakfast in bed.
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon cream or milk
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon fresh thyme flowers, for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat butter in small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Break eggs into small bowl and whisk well with cream or milk. Stir in chopped thyme and chives. Add egg mixture to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently. Stir and lift frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking.
Spoon eggs out onto plate. Garnish with thyme flowers and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with thick, buttered toast.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Alison Hein.
From the depths of my ancient recipe box, buried beneath layers of tattered newspaper clippings and scribbled notes, I found the remnants of an old family favorite – cheesecake! Trouble was, this recipe was jotted down in an abbreviated fashion – omitting minor details such as oven temperature settings, baking time, and order of mixing ingredients.
Trial, tribulation, and a faint stirring of memories finally resulted in a successful product. I altered it a bit, increasing the amount of fresh lemon juice, and topping with fresh cherries instead of additional graham cracker crumbs.
It takes time to bake this cake, and some babysitting during the process. The top may crack a little, and a natural depression will form after cooling. Never fear – this is the perfect spot for piling on a bunch of ruby ripe fruit. Add a spot of whipped cream, if you like, and cherish the details of this family favorite breakfast in bed.
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 4 ounces graham crackers
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 dry pint fresh fruit, such as cherries or strawberries, for topping
Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°. Place graham crackers in a sealable plastic bag. Break into crumbs using a tool (rolling pin, pan, etc.) to crush crackers. Generously grease a large spring-form pan with the tablespoon of butter. Cover butter with graham cracker crumbs and set aside.
To make cake, add cream cheese, sugar, eggs, sour cream, lemon juice and salt to a food processor. Cream together until smooth and light. Slowly pour cake batter into prepared pan. Use a spatula to smooth top. Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until cake is still slightly wobbly, but set.
To make topping, mix together remaining sour cream, sugar, egg and lemon juice until smooth. Remove cake from oven and pour topping over cake. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until cake and topping are set. Remove from oven, let cool, then refrigerate at least 12 hours before serving. Top with fresh fruit, and garnish with whipped cream, if you like.
Makes 1 large cake, about 10 to 12 slices
Post by Alison Hein.
Here are the two most difficult steps of baking a quiche: 1) making pastry dough; and 2) waiting for the quiche to be done while trying to ignore the tantalizing aromas emanating from the oven.
The first step is easily overcome by purchasing a pre-made pie shell, or making your own in advance (try this easy recipe for pie crust) and placing in the freezer until ready to use. For the second step, sadly, there is no known solution…
Quiches of all varieties are enticing, but I’m particularly fond of Quiche Lorraine – salty, smoky slab bacon baked with sultry Swiss cheeses. Slab bacon is quite easy to find these days. I picked some up at my local grocer, but you can just as easily ask your butcher for some. As far as the cheese goes, I recommend Gruyere or Swiss, but what I really like to do is blend the two together for even greater intensity.
Hope you have enough patience to bake and wait for this tantalizing breakfast in bed!
1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
4 to 6 ounces slab bacon
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1 cup half and half
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Dash of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350°. Place pie crust into glass or ceramic pie dish. Cover bottom with parchment paper and set pie weights (or dried beans) on top of paper. Bake for about 10 t0 12 minutes, just to set. Remove from oven, discard paper, and set aside.
Chop bacon into small cubes. Cook in a heavy pan over medium heat until lightly cooked and fat is rendered, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels for a few minutes. Spread cooked bacon evenly in bottom of pie crust. Layer cheese evenly on top of bacon.
Break eggs into large bowl. Add cream and whisk until frothy, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture on top of bacon and cheese, filling to the top so that just the pie crust rim remains visible.
Place quiche on a baking tray and then in oven. Bake for around 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and quiche is puffed up and golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve hot, with fresh fruit or a salad on the side.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
If you’re a fan of the grilled cheese sandwich / tomato soup combo, you will love this old-fashioned treat straight out of the annals of Grandma’s recipe book. As children, my sister and I were amazed by the first bite of shockingly sweet pudding-like tomato bread, followed by the verge to savory with a finish of glorious melted cheese. Our grandma would make us each an individual dish, which we would gobble down for breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in between.
Merriam-Webster has this to say about the transitive verb “scallop”:
[from the use of a scallop shell as a baking dish] : to bake in a sauce usually covered with seasoned bread or cracker crumbs <scalloped potatoes>
I like to make my own croutons for this recipe. Make extra for salads or stuffing. Drop the herbs and garlic for a more puddingly sweet version, or skip the sugar for an old-fashioned breakfast in bed even Grandma would approve.
2 thick slices of stale crusty bread (about 1 cup)
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried parsley
2 large tomatoes (about 1½ – 2 cups, or 1 14.4-ounce can diced or stewed tomatoes)
1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup grated mozzarella (or other) cheese
Fresh chives, for garnish
To make croutons, preheat oven to 350°. Cut bread into ½-inch cubes. Toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir in basil, oregano and parsley. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake until crisped, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Spray 2 small ramekins or baking dishes and set aside.
Fill a heavy pot with enough water to cover tomatoes and bring to a boil. Blanch tomatoes for less than one minute. Remove tomatoes from water, cool, and peel off skins. Chop tomatoes into small cubes, and allow to drain, reserving tomato juice.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until lightly bubbling, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, adding reserved tomato juice if sauce becomes too thick. Remove from heat.
Toss croutons into tomato mixture, stir in cheese, then scoop into prepared ramekins. Bake in the oven until hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh chives and serve hot.
Makes 2 servings.