Breakfast in Bed: Heirloom Tomato Tartelettes

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.

Ingredients

Pie Crust
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water
1/3 cup butter

Pie Filling
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and white pepper, to taste
2 Heirloom tomatoes, varied colors
Fresh basil, for garnish

Preparation

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.

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Bedroom Design: Breakfast in Bed

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.

Source:  www.alsohome.com

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.


Source:  www.dwr.com/product/fiona-teak-tray.do?sortby=ourPicks

The I’m-having-a-bed-party-and-you’re-invited-heirloom tray.


Source:  http://www.cupcakesforparty.com/2010/03/no-cook-breakfast-in-bed-for-two.html

The I-will-buy-this-immediately-as-soon-as-I-learn-Italian tray. Ti amo!


Source:  http://www.mrless-mrsmore.com/project/products/vassoio_battista.html

I hope that you find the breakfast tray of your dreams too.  Enjoy fall, enjoy food, and let the nesting begin!

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Bedtime Stories: You Read To Me, I’ll Read To You

Post by Mark T. Locker.

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You/Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman.

We grabbed this off the shelf at the library because it was about zombies, ghouls, and monsters. Turns out it’s a pretty good book, too! So as the title suggests, it is designed to be read by two people. Or two zombies, werewolves, whatever. So be prepared to have a helper if your kid can’t read, or be prepared to put your mad acting skills to the test. I read it with my wife. It was fun and a bit challenging.

Now, they call the stories “scary” but I think “not scary” would be a more apt term. They are, however, actually pretty funny. Two zombies trying to figure out how to look beautiful. An ogre and a giant discussing how delicious cake-filled babies taste. There are a bunch of books in this series, but if it doesn’t have zombies in pretty makeup, I’m personally not interested. I’m sure they are lovely, I’m just partial to monsters.

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Movies in Bed: The Vampire Diaries

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Listen, I know what you’re thinking: this show is on the CW. I know. I KNOW. But seriously, if you haven’t already squandered three years of your life watching this show, it’s never too late to start! Plus, Netflix just added the third season so if you hurry, you can catch up before the new season begins on October 11.

Here’s where I usually write the summary but where to begin?? Oh, there is so much that happens in this teenage monster drama! So, Elena Gilbert lives with her really annoying brother in Mystic Falls, Virginia. The new boy is mysterious, brooding. Guess what? He’s a vampire! He’s got a bad-boy brother too. Their names are Stefan and Damon Salvatore. They don’t eat her annoying brother, but I wish they would. This town is rife with monsters! Witches and werewolves! Doppelgängers and douchebags!

It’s got all the high school drama and beautiful people of a CW show the supernatural witchiness of the other CW shows. But somehow, once one gets past the sensitive music overlaying melodramatic moments, it’s very difficult to stop watching. Even if Stefan is a little too self-righteous, and Bonnie and Jeremy both stubbornly refuse to be killed off, and the kids seem to often forget to go to school, The Vampire Diaries is fun for all! After all, we are approaching Halloween, so what better time to immerse oneself in monsters!

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Things We Like: Silk Pillowcases!


Post by Kyle St. Romain.

My girlfriend came back from her hairdresser a couple weeks ago with a new mission: silk pillowcases. She had just gotten some fancy hair treatment and was told that silk pillowcases are not only the pinnacle of luxury, but they will also help her treatment last longer. I was skeptical, and was sure that if you talked to the right person they’d also tell you silk pillowcases will do the dishes, mow the yard, and file your taxes… In any event, she was sold on the idea and the pillowcases arrived in the mail a couple days later. Let’s discuss.

Silk Pillowcase Benefits

In my research, I actually discovered that many people tout the benefits of silk pillowcases for hair. Apparently, the amino acids that are naturally found in silk help promote hair growth. The smooth texture of silk doesn’t pull on your hair like cotton pillowcases might, which helps keep more of your hair where it belongs: on your head.

One of the other popular benefits associated with silk pillowcases is for wrinkles. Evidently, dermatologists and plastic surgeons can tell what side you sleep on because your face gets creased and wrinkled from lying against a cotton pillow for one-third of your life. Silk is supposed to help reduce these creases. *Food for thought – most people will have slept for 20 years by the time they reach 60.

Silk pillowcases are also good for your skin for other reasons. Silk is hypoallergenic, doesn’t retain moisture, and contains some of the same amino acids that you’ll find in skin moisturizers. Silk pillowcases are also considered cleaner than cotton pillowcases, and are more resistant to mites. I guess I was overly skeptical of silk.

Drawbacks of Silk Pillowcases

If you like everything to match, you may have a problem with silk pillowcases if you’re just buying the pillowcase separately. An easy fix would be to buy the entire set of silk bedding, but not everyone likes to sleep in silk sheets because they can feel slippery. Silk bedding can also get expensive, but I guess that’s a potential drawback of any quality sheet set.


The Verdict: Silk Pillowcases Feel Great! Regardless of their health benefits.

The jury is still out as to whether face wrinkles are the result of the “harshness” of cotton. I think there are other factors at play like the type of pillow you sleep on, and it may just be that wrinkles are an unavoidable fact of life. However, I like to think that something as simple (and comfortable) as switching to silk pillowcases will help keep me looking sharp in my old age. Silk pillowcases put a whole new meaning to beauty sleep.

In any case, in the aftermath of the recent heat waves in California (it got to 100 degrees on the coast, with no A/C), I’ve been thinking silk is the way to go next summer. Silk is better at regulating temperature than other fabrics like cotton, and it gives us an excuse to try something new.

What do you think? Have you tried silk pillowcases before? Are they for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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