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Breakfast in Bed – Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits with Brisket Gravy

Jlapeno Cheddar Biscuits 13

Post by Alison Hein.

At a recent McCafferty Family Reunion, we had the pleasure of having creative and talented Chef Michael Panza prepare a few meals for us. When asked if he would be willing to help with a breakfast post, Chef Michael readily complied, creating his spicy, southern-style take on biscuits and gravy.

Jlapeno Cheddar Biscuits 3Jlapeno Cheddar Biscuits 7Jlapeno Cheddar Biscuits 4

Chef Michael started preparing the night before, when he slow-cooked some extra barbecued beef brisket during our Friday night barbecue. Then, on Saturday morning, he used the smoky brisket as a base for the rich and creamy gravy. To balance out the dish, he decided to spice up some humble biscuits with some fiery jalapeños and a touch of garlic. A little extra kick from some sharp cheddar filled out the biscuits and turned them a deep golden hue.

Hot, tangy biscuits, covered with rich, smoky gravy and colored with sliced green onions were a sight to behold. We all tucked into our meal, relishing the southern, spicy and special flavors; relishing the gift of Chef Michael’s breakfast.

Jlapeno Cheddar Biscuits 2

Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits

1 jalapeño pepper (or about 1 tablespoon chopped)
2 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
⅓ cup butter, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for butter biscuit tops
1¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup grated cheddar cheese

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Preparation

Wash, trim and seed jalapeño pepper. Dice finely and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly grease baking sheet and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and mix with flour, using your hands, a pastry cutter, or two forks, until mixture resembles coarse sand. Pour buttermilk all at once into flour mixture, and stir until just mixed. Lightly stir in jalapeño pepper and cheddar cheese.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat, and continue to cook until lightly browned. Set aside.

Drop batter onto prepared baking sheet using a greased ¼-cup measure. Bake until crispy and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Brush with browned butter.

Makes approximately 8 biscuits.

Jlapeno Cheddar Biscuits 6

Brisket Gravy

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ yellow onion, diced
1 pound cooked beef brisket, chopped into ¼-inch pieces (or substitute corned beef or sausage)
3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 green onions, sliced into thin rounds, for garnish

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Preparation

Add vegetable oil to a medium, heavy pan and heat over high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until onion is softened. Add chopped brisket, and stir on high for another minute or two. Pour in heavy cream, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer gravy for about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix corn starch with water to make a slurry. Pour corn starch slurry into gravy, whisking constantly, until gravy is thickened. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, arrange biscuits on plates and top with brisket gravy. Garnish with green onion and serve immediately.

Makes about 3 cups of gravy.

Jlapeno Cheddar Biscuits 10

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Breakfast in Bed – Egg Salad Sandwich

Egg Salad Sandwich 10

Post by Alison Hein.

Ever wake up late, hungry, but not quite wanting breakfast? Perhaps not quite wanting lunch as well, but not in the mood for a fussy brunch? That’s when you should break out the egg salad. Hard-boiled eggs, chopped and mixed with mayonnaise and fresh herbs, always hit the spot. Guaranteed to go fast, I strongly recommend cooking a few extra eggs. You can always use them for a quick snack, to top a Russian salad, or for a sixties-style deviled egg appetizer. Perhaps let your kids have a go at making egg salad (no cooking required), and let them serve you in style.

Egg Salad Sandwich 1

I like my egg salad sandwich on a crusty roll, but feel free to use soft brioche or lightly toasted white bread. Thick rich rye and pumpernickels are also wonderful – a nice contrast of thick, grainy bread against creamy, herbed eggs.

Ever versatile, try these egg salad change-ups:

  • Spice it up – chop up some jalapeño peppers, add a splash of hot sauce, or a dash of cayenne. Serve on tortillas, if you like.

  • Select various herbs – depending on your palate, parsley, rosemary, thyme and fennel are all good choices. A heavy hand of paprika (reminiscent of deviled eggs) is always pleasing.

  • Serve open face – spread neatly on some mini-rye bread slices, and top with thin cucumber rounds and sprigs of fresh dill.

  • Skip the bread altogether – delicately mound egg salad on baby greens, or Boston lettuce. Garnish with cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes.

Whatever your pleasure, I hope you enjoy and savor your late, not-so-breakfasty breakfast in bed!

Egg Salad Sandwich 2

Ingredients

2 eggs
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 roll, sliced
Handful of baby arugula

Egg Salad Sandwich 3

Preparation

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 and peel. Finely chop eggs and place in small bowl. Stir in mayonnaise and fresh dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Spread egg salad mixture on one half of roll. Top with baby arugula and serve.

Makes 1 serving.

Egg Salad Sandwich 8

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Breakfast in Bed – Allie’s Cake

Allie's Cake 10

Post by Alison Hein.

While I was researching historical material for Milk Toast for last week’s post, I became engrossed in Maria Parloa’s The Appledore Cook Book. Leafing through an online copy, the recipe for Allie’s Cake intrigued me, as my husband and his family call me “Ali”. Who was Ms. Parloa? Who was Allie? As usual, one food mystery begets another, but here’s what little I learned:

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Ms. Parloa was born in Massachusetts on September 25, 1843 and little is known about her early life. She became an orphan at a young age, and learned to cook in private homes and small hotels. She died at age 65, and during her lifetime accomplished many impressive feats, especially for a woman of her era. She:

  • Wrote several cookbooks.

  • Began two cooking schools and was associated with the Boston Cooking School.

  • Is credited with the first published tomato soup recipe – Tomato Chowder – which appeared in The Appledore Cook Book.

  • Was part owner of the Ladies Home Journal, and wrote regularly for it from 1891 on.

  • Spent several years in France studying cooking techniques.

  • Raised two orphaned girls in her home in her later years.

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Of “Allie”, there was no further word. Setting out to modernize the recipe, I made several changes. First off, ingredients and preparation steps had to be separated. Next, I added a couple of eggs (who bakes a cake with no eggs?), swapped out saleratus (the predecessor of baking soda and baking powder) for baking powder, and reduced the amount of raisins (Allie wanted to use almost 4 cups!). I also determined that a “moderate oven” would be 350°, and specified a baking time.

The end result was a rich and dark, moist and fruity cake – an engaging cross between gingerbread and scones. Somewhere during this process I think “Allie’s” cake became “Ali’s” cake, and breakfast in bed became an ode to Maria Parloa and the mysterious Allie.

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Ingredients

¼ pound (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups raisins

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Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until thick and creamy. Add eggs one at a time until well-blended. Mix in molasses and buttermilk.

Mix all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and salt) together in a separate small bowl. Stir dry ingredients into the batter, about one cupful at a time, until thoroughly blended. Stir in raisins.

Pour batter into a greased cake pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan. Let cool on rack for 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and invert onto serving plate.

Makes 1 large cake, about 20 slices.

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Breakfast in Bed – Pistachio Biscotti

Pistachio Biscotti 1

Post by Alison Hein.

We had some friends over for a barbecue last week, so I bought some pistachio nuts for people to pick on while dinner was being grilled. The pistachios were already roasted, salted and shelled – my kind of nut! Sadly, they weren’t very good. The flavor was there, but the nuts were mushy. Almost as if they needed more roasting. Thinking about roasting, then re-roasting the pistachios made me think of biscotti – the traditional Italian twice-baked cookie. Could a twice-roasted pistachio be revitalized in a twice-baked cookie?

Biscotti, literally “twice-baked” in Latin, were first made centuries ago, and are said to have been a staple food of the Roman Legions. Very dry bread products can be stored and last a long time – good for travel and war. Antonio Mattei, a pastry chef from Prato, “rediscovered” biscotti in the latter part of the nineteenth century. His variation, now considered the traditional biscotti recipe, is still made today. Ingredients include only flour, sugar, eggs, almonds and pine nuts.

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Unlike the traditional version, my recipe includes butter, baking powder, and of course, pistachio nuts. Your version, if you feel like experimenting, can include anything from lemon peel to chocolate chips.

It took some time to make the biscotti, baking them twice with a cool down period in between. The end result? A crisp, sweetish cookie with a hint of pistachio flavor and a satisfying nutty crunch. Eureka! Yet another biscotti rediscovery and an accidental poem:

Brew some coffee,


Steep some tea,


Then feel free


To dip your (breakfast in bed) biscotti!

Pistachio Biscotti 2

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pistachio nuts

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly each time. Mix in vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and pistachio nuts. Dough should be thick and moldable.

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Wet or flour hands, split dough in half, and shape into two long, mounded loaves (approximately 8 inches long by 3½ inches wide). Place loaves on prepared baking sheets and bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to wire racks and let cool at least 15 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, slice loaves into roughly ¾-inch slices. Place slices cut-side down on parchment paper and bake for another 30 minutes or so, turning biscotti once during baking, until golden brown. Remove to wire rack and cool.

Makes about 20 to 25 biscotti.

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Movies in Bed: Labyrinth

MV5BMTczNTkyOTIzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjY3MjQxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_Post by Mark T. Locker.

Pardon me while I pull myself together. I just went to see what year Labyrinth was released, which gave me palpitations. Next year, the iconic movie, starring David Bowie and a bunch of Muppet-esque creatures, turns THIRTY YEARS OLD. Ouch.

Well, let’s just put that aside until next year.

I don’t know about where you live, but in Portland, summer marks another Movies in the Park series, with a different city park hosting a viewing of a movie. They range from new blockbusters to classics such as Wizard of Oz and everything in between. I’m pretty sure that Labyrinth is on the docket every year.

Starring David Bowie as the Goblin King Jareth, and Jennifer Connelly as discontented 15-year-old Sarah, the rest of the cast is made up of dozens of whimsical, weird, and sometimes creepy creatures from mind of Jim Henson, who pretty much single-handedly created my childhood. When Sarah has to watch her half-brother Toby, she is deeply resentful. So much so that she takes a page from the play she is studying a part for, Labyrinth. She tells the Goblin King to come and take him away. And he does.

Suddenly remorseful (who would have thought it would actually WORK?) Sarah now must find her way through an insane Muppet-laden labyrinth to get to Toby, in the goblin city at the center. On the way she meets friends, strange strangers, and a few who are out to get her.

If you haven’t seen this 80’s classic, or haven’t seen it in a while, it’s great movie to watch on a picnic blanket with a spread of snacks, or in bed with a bowl of popcorn.

Happy watching!

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