Tag Archives: family
Post Alison Hein.
We invited our good friends Michael and Luis for dinner shortly before Easter. When Luis offered to come a little early and help me prepare, I agreed whole-heartedly. Little did he know I intended to trick him into making tie-dyed Easter eggs! (You can now buy these kits in your local grocery store.) Anyway, they turned out beautifully. Luis’ artistry made for an impressive display, and I even let him take a couple home.
After the holiday, a handful of these beautiful eggs still remained, and I longed to use them purposefully. My first inclination was for some type of deviled eggs, but then I remembered an old favorite from Anna Thomas – parsleyed eggs on the half-shell. Eggs, hard-boiled and scooped out, their innards mixed with parsley and butter, then returned to their shells and cooked to a crisp, golden finish. What inspiration! Now I could showcase my lovely tie-dyed eggshells, and pay homage to Anna Thomas, famed for her 1972 book The Vegetarian Epicure, sometimes called “the vegetarian Bible of the 1970s.”
Slicing through the shells and removing the cooked egg is difficult work, so take your time. Don’t worry if the first couple don’t work out so well – you’ll soon get the hang of it. And, even if you don’t feel like tie-dying your parsleyed eggs, I’m sure you will still enjoy the artistry of Anna’s recipe, and a beautiful vegetarian, epicurean breakfast in bed.
2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus additional for cooking
½ cup fresh parsley, washed
Salt and pepper, to taste
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.
Using a sharp, serrated knife, carefully tap and score the eggshell in half lengthwise, then cut entire egg in half. Gently scoop out cooked yolks and white, retaining shell halves. Repeat with remaining eggs. Place cooked egg whites and yolks in blender or food processor. Add softened butter and parsley and blend to a smooth, thick paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Trim off any jagged edges, and fill shells with egg mixture, smoothing to a flat top.
When ready to serve, heat butter in heavy pan over medium low heat. Place egg halves in pan, stuffing side down, and cook over low heat until light brown and crisp on top and heated through, about ten minutes. Serve warm.
Makes 2 to 4 servings.
Post by Alison Hein.
Many of us cannot imagine facing the day without a tall cup of thick, strong coffee. It’s a ritual, a kick-start, and a requirement. But perhaps you can imagine infusing fluffy breakfast pancakes with the same deep, dark and mysterious flavors as your favorite cup of Joe.
Fiddling with this recipe is as easy as brewing up some hazelnut coffee, or vanilla, or mint… A dash of cocoa powder in the batter, or a sprinkle on top after griddling, and you’ve got café mocha. Instead of maple syrup, make a coffee-flavored simple syrup –simply swap out ½ cup of water for ½ cup of brewed coffee.
No need to beat the egg whites if you’re in a desperate hurry for your morning coffee pancakes – they will be slightly more dense but just as delicious. Don’t forget to freeze some for when you just can’t wait another minute to dive into what will soon become your favorite required ritual, a dark and mysterious breakfast in bed.
2½ cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, separated
4 ounces (one half stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus additional for cooking
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Gradually whisk in the cooled coffee, milk, vinegar and vanilla. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly add melted butter to batter. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and gently fold them into the batter. The batter should be thick, smooth and creamy.
Place a pan or griddle on the stove over medium to medium low heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan for the first pancake. Ladle batter into pan and cook until small bubbles appear throughout pancake, about 1 minute. Flip once with spatula and continue cooking until golden brown, another minute or so. Adjust heat as necessary while cooking. Serve hot with real maple syrup.
Makes 10 to 12 4-inch pancakes.
Post by Alison Hein.
Sometimes I’m in the mood for a sweet breakfast, but more often than not, I like to start the day with a savory meal. Crêpes are so wonderfully versatile that they adapt either way. You can make flavorful creamed spinach as a dinner side, then heat in the morning for an elegant meal. And get in the habit of freezing crêpes, which thaw in an instant and heat up nicely with a quick finish under the broiler – impressive and tasty for overnight or brunch guests; flavorful and elegant for a savory breakfast in bed.
1¼ cups buckwheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
¾ cup milk
1¼ cups water
Add buckwheat flour and salt to a large bowl. Add eggs, vegetable oil, milk and water and whisk until smooth batter forms. Add additional water for a thinner batter, if you like.
Heat a 10-inch-diameter nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan with oil. Add ¼ cup of batter to pan, tilting to coat bottom. Cook crêpe until golden on bottom, 30 to 45 seconds, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning.
Using a spatula or butter knife, flip crêpe and continue to cook until dark gold, about 1 minute longer. Keep warm, while continuing the process with the remainder of batter.
Makes 12 – 16 crêpes.
Creamy Spinach and Crêpe Assembly
16 ounces frozen chopped spinach
4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon grated Swiss cheese per crêpe
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Cook spinach in boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
To make white sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped shallot and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir cooked spinach into white sauce. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Place about ¼ cup on each crêpe, then delicately roll into a long cylinder and place on oven proof dish. Continue process for as many crêpes as you plan to assemble, then top each one with about 1 tablespoon of grated cheese. Place under broiler about 4 inches from heat, and cook until cheese starts to brown, about 30 seconds. Garnish with mint and serve immediately.
Makes about 4 cups of creamed spinach.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
I know we have all been waiting for so long, and the third installment in the Night at the Museum series has FINALLY been released for home viewing! One of those special evenings after too much activity in the day and everyone is worn out, what better way to wind the evening down than with a movie, all cuddled together on the couch? Or on the bed, which is even better because you can just drift right off.
Which you might do when you watch this movie unless you’re a kid. It’s a perfectly fine movie but has become something of a tired instrument by this point. I like the first one; I thought it was genuinely unique and funny and interesting. The premise, if you’ve missed the series, is Larry Daley is the new night watchman at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. What he doesn’t know is that everything in the museum comes to life at night. His posse includes Theodore Roosevelt, played by Robin Williams (rest in peace) along with Sacagawea, a tiny Wild West cowboy and his buddy a tiny Roman centurion. Plus a cheeky monkey and Genghis Khan. In this movie, the magic tablet that brings them to life is failing and they must bring it to the British Museum to speak with the Egyptian Pharaoh who made it to discover the secret of the tablet.
My son thought it was a great bit of fun. It wasn’t awful but as is the case with so many movies like this, the original remains the best. But if you’re looking for something harmless and funny, full of pratfalls and silly characters, you could do worse. Word of warning: there is a little bit of sad stuff that happens and there was a moment that my boy was in tears. But it all ends up okay in the end. Spoiler alert.
Post by Alison Hein.
Our niece came to visit recently, and I wanted to be sure I had something perfect ready for breakfast. KellyAnne is a healthy eater, so I knew it had to be lean, light and luscious. It also had to be easy, as Kevin and I wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to take KellyAnne and Rich out to see the sights during their stay.
My mind drifted immediately back to Baked Egg Cups – portion-sized eggy cupcakes nested in lean Canadian bacon, and filled with colorful vegetables. Also low in fat, high in nutrients, and highly freezable so I could make them in advance. I did, however, want to dress them up a little. So out went the onions, peppers and mushrooms, and in came fresh, green asparagus and tangy sun-dried tomatoes. Mozzarella became crumbly goat cheese, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme added a bit of savory elegance.
Served with a fresh fruit salad and home-baked bread, these little egg cups were a big hit. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, then headed out for an ambling day of wandering and photo snapping.
So next time you’re expecting company, pull out this recipe and give it a try. Or, freeze some just for yourself, then heat them up when you’re in the mood for a lean, light and luscious breakfast in bed.
12 pieces Canadian bacon (or substitute turkey or veggie bacon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces asparagus
7 large eggs
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Place one piece of bacon in each muffin cup, arranging to fit against sides as much as possible.
Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Clean and trim asparagus, then slice into ½-inch long pieces. Add asparagus to pan and sauté until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, steam or oven roast asparagus. Set aside to cool.
Crack eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly. Add sautéed asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, fresh thyme, salt and pepper to beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture evenly into muffin tins. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until cooked through (test with toothpick). Cool slightly before removing from tin.
Makes 12 egg cups.