Breakfast in Bed: Tuscan Kale Scrambled Eggs

Post by Alison Hein.

After all the Thanksgiving foofaraw and pumpkin pie overdoses, I craved a somewhat lighter breakfast. Deep in my fridge, behind the neatly-stacked containers of leftover turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and candied yams, I came across a forgotten bag of Tuscan kale. Perfect!

I had homemade dipping oil on hand and remnants of a hearty, rustic bread round. Some finely-chopped shallot sautéed in the seasoned oil and a handful of grated parmesan would give my dish a Tuscan-inspired flavor. Score! The kale turned out delightfully spiced and crispy – the perfect foil for rich, fluffy eggs. Little bits of near-caramelized shallots and peppery heat from the oil perked it all up. I used my rustic bread, shovel-like, to scoop and gobble it all up. Maybe not as light as I would have liked, but green and compelling nonetheless.
If you want to try the Homemade Dipping Oil, mix it up a couple of days in advance to allow the flavors to meld. Then you’ll be ready to fry up some shallots and kale for a (maybe-not-so-light) Tuscan-inspired breakfast in bed.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons seasoned olive oil or Homemade Dipping Oil (recipe below)
1 shallot
1 cup loosely packed fresh Tuscan kale (or other variety)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon milk or cream
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation:
Heat seasoned olive oil in small, heavy pan over medium heat. Finely chop shallot and sauté in hot oil until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Wash, chop and dry kale. Place kale in pan and cook until cooked through and starting to crisp, stirring occasionally, about 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Break eggs into small bowl and whisk well with milk or cream. Add eggs to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently, folding over around kale. Stir and lift frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Toward the end of cooking, fold the parmesan cheese into the eggs, if you like. Season with salt and pepper.

Slide eggs out onto plate. Serve immediately, with a thick slice of rustic bread.

Makes 1 serving.

Homemade Dipping Oil
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or mix of dried herbs such as basil, oregano and parsley)
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
Dash or 2 of cayenne
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together and store in airtight glass bottle. Shake before pouring, and add a drop of balsamic vinegar for dipping bread.

Posted in Breakfast in Bed | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Breakfast in Bed: Tuscan Kale Scrambled Eggs

Bedtime Stories: Time Travel for Kids

Oh No! Not Again! (or How I Built A Time Machine to save History) (or at Least My History Grade) by Mac Barnett.

How’s THAT for a mouthful of a title? Honestly, the plot is hardly less confusing. I rather enjoyed this book and my son did too, though I suspect he missed what was really happening in the story.

The main character (hardly a heroine) is miffed for having gotten one question wrong on her history test. Rather than just accept it, she uses her genius to build a time machine and change the past to fit her answer. The question was about which country has the earliest known cave paintings. Her wrong answer was “Belgium”. So, with a little trial and error—it is a homemade time machine after all—she finds herself in prehistoric Belgium. Armed with paints and brushes, she proceeds to paint a fantastic cave mural, since the inhabitants of the cave seem disinclined to do it themselves. However, while she is busy drawing robots on the cave wall, the cavemen discover her time machine and proceed to bring all manner of people from all points in history back to the prehistoric era.

Needless to say, history becomes a little more changed than she anticipated. One the bright side, she got that one question right on her test! On the other hand, all the rest of her questions were wrong due to her effect on history. Like I said, the finer plot points are lost on my son, but the book is funny and entertaining nevertheless.

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Bedtime Stories: Time Travel for Kids

Movies in Bed: Scrooged

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Well, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. We all know what THAT means: Four weeks of in-your-face Christmas fun! The least I can do is make a meager contribution by sharing some of those good old-fashioned holiday movies. Not that any of these will be a new discovery for you. Nevertheless: Happy Holidays! Let the fun begin!

We will start off with the 1988 Bill Murray reinterpretation of the classic Dickens story, “A Christmas Carol”. I’m talking about Scrooged. Bill Murray stars as Frank Cross. As befits the tale, he is successful and a terrible human being. As befits Bill Murray, he does it all in the most hilariously awful way. Stapling tiny antlers onto a little mouse? Ha ha! and No.

We all know how these stories play out: visits from the ghosts, a vision of what lies ahead if he continues to be a total jerk and then, of course, the possibility for redemption. I wonder which he’ll choose? Watch it this season and marvel at the fact that this is the 25th anniversary of the film. Yup. It’s one quarter of a century old.

Classic holiday fun for all!

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Movies in Bed: Scrooged

Breakfast in Bed: Indian Pudding

Post by Alison Hein.

Here’s an oldie but goodie – just in time for Thanksgiving. If you’re from New England, this may be familiar, old-fashioned holiday fare for you. If not, read on.

The first known recipe for Indian pudding appeared in what is considered America’s first cookbook – Amelia Simmons’ “American Cookery,” published in 1796. Amelia kindly provided three variants: one very eggy version with raisins which required less baking time, one simple and sweet, and one to be boiled in cloth for 12 hours! I used her sweet and simple version for inspiration:

A Nice Indian Pudding
3 pints scalded milk to one pint meal salted; cool, add 2 eggs, 4 ounces butter, sugar or molasses and spice q. f. it will require two and half hours baking.

Typically fuzzy food history opines that this dish was based on traditional English pudding, which is either baked or boiled, sweet or savory, and usually bread-like and custardy. Fine flour was not so easy to come by in the New World, so our ever inventive forefathers replaced it with “Indian” maize, or cornmeal, obtained from Native Americans. Sweetened simply, usually with molasses, this new “pudding” must have been a rare treat back in the day. Rumor has it that colonists contributed this dish to some of our earliest Thanksgiving celebrations with Native Americans.

I baked my Indian pudding slowly at a low temperature, and found it to be an inviting blend of custard, corn bread, and pudding. A subtle treat, and an old-fashioned and familiar breakfast in bed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ingredients
3 cups whole milk
4 ounces butter
1 cup corn meal
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
¼ cup maple syrup (or substitute molasses)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon mace
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Preparation
Preheat oven to 325°, and spray an 8×8-inch pan with cooking spray. Scald milk by heating in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, without stirring, until tiny ripples begin to form on the surface. Add butter and remove from heat. When butter is melted, slowly add corn meal, stirring rapidly to ensure no lumps form. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Stir eggs into corn meal mixture. Add sugar, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, ginger, mace and nutmeg and stir until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 2 to 2 ½ hours until pudding is set and a toothpick in center comes out clean.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Posted in Breakfast in Bed | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Breakfast in Bed: Indian Pudding

Bedtime Stories: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Post by Mark T. Locker.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Maybe it’s the darkening of the days that draws me towards darker reading. Maybe I’m just beginning to discover Holly Black who is, by and large, fairly dark in content. Black, who is probably best known for co-authoring The Spiderwick Chronicles, has aimed this at an older audience. This is a grown-up or teenage bedtime story, to be sure. But a very good read.

This is a vampire book. If you aren’t into vampires, then this book would probably annoy you. It’s also a love story, of sorts. An action/adventure story. A revenge story. I like it because it’s not like other vampire stories. In this story a whole unique culture has popped up due to the unchecked spread of vampirism. This new cultures is centered around Coldtowns. When you are bitten, you turn Cold. After which, you will probably become a vampire. If you are, you are sent to live in the closest Coldtown. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of humans who are obsessed with vampires and dream of becoming one. These people go to Coldtown, which is a one-way ticket, in the hopes of becoming vampires.

Tana doesn’t want to be a vampire but she may be infected. Her ex is definitely infected. And the guy in the trunk, tied in chains is a vampire. So, it looks like they’re off to Coldtown! Holly Black writes in an engaging and entertaining manner. It’s at times a little gory, but not so bad as to make it unbearable. Good read for Goth teens or ex-goth adults.

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Comments Off on Bedtime Stories: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown