Breakfast in Bed – Potato Farls

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Post by Alison Hein.

You never know just how important St. Patrick’s Day is until you marry an Irishman. J With Kevin’s encouragement (um, nagging?), I’ve had fun posting an array of Irish recipes suitable for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations during the past few years: St. Patrick’s Day Soda Bread, Irish Wheaten Bread, and Mrs. O’Callaghan’s Irish Scones. Oh my, I almost forgot Aunt Frannie’s Irish Coffee! (Just proves how un-Irish I am.)

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I love Irish cooking for its deep simplicity, and for the focus that captures a food’s essence. Take potatoes, for instance. In this easy (and simply devourable!) Potato Farl Recipe, only four ingredients are used – potatoes, butter, flour and salt. Mashed potatoes are mixed with a little butter and just enough flour to make them pliable. Add an egg, or a little baking soda, for an extra lift if you like, or remain pure and traditional without.

A “farl” is anything that is cut into a quarter round. Potato farls are often called potato cakes or potato bread. If you like them savory, top them with fresh chives or ground black pepper. If you like them sweet, sprinkle a little cinnamon and brown sugar on them. If you’re like me, pick them up directly from the hot pan, douse with salt, and eat them immediately while trying not to burn your tongue.

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I used golden potatoes because I love their sweet, mellow flavor and their sunny hue. But any kind of potato that is mashable (uh, I think that’s all of them) – reds, russets, fingerlings – will work well here for a devourable St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in bed.

Ingredients

1½ pounds potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, plus an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons for frying
1 cup flour
Salt, to taste

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Preparation

Peel, wash and dice potatoes. Place in a heavy pot and add water to cover and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, return to pot along with 2 tablespoons of butter. Mash, ensuring potatoes are smooth and without lumps. Allow potatoes to cool.

When cool, add flour and salt to the potatoes and mix well. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for a minute or so, until mixture is smooth and somewhat elastic. Split dough in half and shape each half into a round, approximately 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick.

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Melt a tablespoon of the remaining butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Cook the potato cakes until golden brown, turning once, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm.

NOTE: If you like, make the potato farls the day before and refrigerate until ready to use. Reheat them in a 350°oven for 15 minutes before assembling and serving.

Makes 8 potato farls.

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Movies in Bed: Drive Me Crazy

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Post by Mark T. Locker.

It seems my best friend and I have developed a new tradition: whenever we find ourselves alone with a couple hours to kill we find a new high school movie to watch. Most of the time these are absolutely terrible movies. To be honest, I’m not sure we have watched any good movies together, save for the ones I’ve dragged him to (but to be fair, the bad ones are usually better). We have seen all the Resident Evil movies together, each exponentially worse and more confusing than the last. Yet they keep making them and we keep looking forward to them. Last summer I saw Sixteen Candles for the first time and She’s the Man for the first and last time, both with him. A couple weeks ago he came to visit and while everyone else was in bed, we found a movie called Drive Me Crazy, buried deep within Netflix.

I was delighted. It stars Melissa Joan Hart who I had grown to love during adolescence as the star of Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains it All. I guess she did Sabrina the Teenage Witch too. Either way, this movie shows us in glaring clarity why she could never break into the big screen scene. She’s not bad; she’s just not terribly charismatic. ANYWAYS. The most surprising part about this movie turned out to be the fact that it was written by Rob Thomas, best known for Veronica Mars and iZombie. Both my friend and I are huge fans so suddenly this got a lot more interesting.

The plot is way less interesting than the writer. Classic story: popular girl and “bad boy” make an agreement to couple up, each for their own particular end. Naturally, their selfish reasons for fake dating all fall away when they let their prejudices go and see each other for who they really are. I won’t say this was a good movie. But it was deeply enjoyable. There’s something comforting about high school dramas. It’s why The Breakfast Club and the other Brat Pack movies were so fantastic. I’m not sure these 90s versions have the same je ne sais quoi but that will never stop me from watching every last one of them.

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Bedroom Design: Is My Bedroom Too Small?

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Good design knows no size. If this statement is indeed true, then a small bedroom can be a well-designed bedroom. But how small is too small? Unbelievably, if a room is well thought out, size isn’t an issue. Let’s take a look at some tiny albeit creative spaces used for sleep.

This teeny New York bedroom manages to have the necessities as well as a dose of panache. The chandelier and window shade add style to the simple, understated space.

This London bedroom goes industrial and sneaks in two tiny nightstands alongside the full-size bed. What more does a bedroom need?

A rustic New Orleans guest bedroom boasts two Dutch beds tucked into the walls. A single window allows just enough light into the space.

With old and new elements, this straightforward bedroom contains enough space for a single bed, lounge chair, and of course, a house kitty.

A movie lover’s dream, this compact Scandanavian bedroom offers plenty of CD storage as well as a little bed.

Talk about an efficient design! A teen bedroom fits a work station as well as a spot for a guest to sleep in a trundle bed.

A Scotland treehouse bedroom is beautifully designed with its comfy storage bed, side table and chairs, and even a small seating area.

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Breakfast in Bed – Eggs à la Luis

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Post by Alison Hein.

Google “Eggs à la Luis” and here’s what you’ll get:

Eggs Louis Armstrong (sounds intriguing!);

Huevos con Jamón (sounds delish!); and even

Dinosaur Egg Fossil (yikes! please don’t make me eat that!).

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Well, the real Luis is my friend Luis Acevedo of Luis Acevedo Interior Design, and the real Eggs à la Luis is a healthy breakfast recipe I concocted just this morning. You see, I was having a bit of a design crisis, so I persuaded Luis to come over and help me out. He good-naturedly agreed to come first thing the next day. To me, this means breakfast must be served.

Only trouble is, my usual impressive fanfare of crêpes, pancakes and waffles was not going to cut it, as Luis recently put himself on a strict diet. Thus, I decided to do some simple scrambled eggs jazzed up with lightly sautéed vegetables still with a bit of crunch. I chose asparagus for bright, fresh flavor and a wild mushroom assortment for texture and depth. A dusting of salt, fresh ground black pepper, and a pinch of spicy chives finished the eggs.

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Crisped, whole wheat pita triangles served as cute, bite-sized shovels, just right for scooping up tiny gobs of savory eggs. Sweet, juicy grapefruit became a healthy mini-dessert.

We enjoyed our Eggs à la Luis while working through my design solution. But you should have yours as a solution for breakfast in bed. Perhaps next time we google this will be on the top of the list!

Ingredients:

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup fresh asparagus, chopped
½ cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
4 eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped chives, for garnish
1 whole wheat pita
1 ruby grapefruit

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Preparation:

Heat olive oil in small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Add chopped asparagus and mushrooms to the pan and cook until gently cooked, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Break eggs into a small bowl and whisk well. Add egg mixture to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently. Stir and lift frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking. Continue to cook until eggs are to your liking, another 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Slice the pita bread into eight triangles. Place in toaster and toast until crispy. Peel and segment the grapefruit. If you like, peel off the grapefruit’s inner skin as well.

To serve, place four toasted pita triangles onto each plate. Divide the eggs equally onto each plate and top with fresh chives. Add a few grapefruit segments to each plate and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

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Bedtime Stories: Charlotte’s Web

Charlottes-WebPost by Mark T. Locker.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Sometimes it’s good to go back and revisit some of the classics from the annals of children’s literature. Everyone knows Charlotte’s Web. I grew up with the animated movie with the pig who excels at both whining and singing. Then they made the live-action version with Dakota Fanning, which I never saw and don’t plan to see. But recently my son and I went back to the original book, published over 60 years ago. Not every children’s book has the kind of staying power that Charlotte’s Web has. Heck, I even considered Charlotte as a name if I had a daughter. Even E.B. White’s other novels are notably less known, though Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan are well-loved, neither has captured the hearts of children quite like Charlotte’s Web. Interesting side note: the “White” in Strunk and White’s Elements of Style is E.B. White. Thanks, Wikipedia!

As you know, this book tells the story of a girl named Fern who saves a runt pig from the chopping block. She names him Wilbur and keeps him as a pet until he is sold to the Zuckermans. As Wilbur begins adjusting to life in the barnyard he makes a number of friends but none as remarkable as Charlotte, a clever little spider who lives in his barn. Her incredible ornate webs, celebrating the singularity of the pig, help to spare him once more from slaughter. As he grows older he befriends the sheep and geese and even, to an extent the greedy little rat Templeton (who happens to be my favorite character).

Filled with hope, magic, and of course sadness, they just don’t make children’s books like this anymore. There are thousands of children’s books out there and more being released all the time but it’s great to go back and rediscover the gems of generations past. This one should definitely be on your bedtime stories list.

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