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Kick start your day with a good breakfast

Winnie the Pooh on Breakfast

For a project I’m embarking on this New Year, I’m re-reading classic English children’s books. I forgot how perfect Winnie-the-Pooh is. A.A. Milne is so completely right in his depiction of how children think and act; so evocative of the unspoiled beauty of the English countryside; absolutely spot-on about English manners…. It’s no wonder this has cemented itself on the bookshelf of enduring children’s literature. The best always deliver as much pleasure to an adult re-reading them as they did “when we were very young.”

What does this have to do with breakfast? In the last chapter, as Pooh and Piglet are walking and talking, this gem of simple wisdom is exchanged:

“‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’

‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’

‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.”

As I devoured this exquisitely told story on Sunday, I got such a craving for honey!

I am never going to see Pooh any other way than as Ernest H. Shepard conceived him.

I am never going to see Pooh any other way than as Ernest H. Shepard conceived him.

I have always wanted to experiment with making one muffin at a time because I hate days-old muffins and yet I can’t bear to throw them out.

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This is a cornmeal-cheddar cheese muffin waiting for its rendezvous with G&T Farm honey. Hot, fresh, and delicious! I made the batter this morning and so the test really comes tomorrow when I make another singleton.

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Cook for Yourself

There’s a new restaurant in our neighborhood, The Trend Diner, which looks worth trying, though it’s certainly not inexpensive. I wish them the best; the odds of surviving the first year are not as bad as rumor has it, according to RestaurantOwner.com, but they’re pretty steep.

But what diner can top this?

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The best Atlantic salmon, cured to perfection, cooked in a fresh scrambled egg, served straight from the skillet on a toasted whole wheat bagel, seasoned to taste.

And I get to eat it while listening to the music of my choice, in my stocking feet, while I chat with Gracie, probably the most fun conversation I’ll have all day. DSC00018Of course, we’ll all be talking about what we did over Christmas vacation. I can say I saw “Inside Llewyn Davis,” but I can’t say I loved it. Llewyn, depressed for good reasons, is also mean and demanding. I think of Johnny Depp’s character in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” Depressed, hell yes, but also loving and thoughtful. Well, that’d never be a Coen brothers movie. I love “O Brother Where Are Thou?” which is so original and the music is gorgeous. This music is good, but not as rich. The supporting cast is, as usual with the Coens, just beyond perfect. Mike’s parents?! They added the kindness and compassion the younger characters hadn’t learned yet.

Llewyn did make a mean plate of scrambled eggs, though!

 

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Santa’s Leftovers

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What does the big man in the red suit eat for breakfast? Leftovers from Christmas Eve. He blows the pocket lint off the cookies children had put out for him, he pulls out of the vegetable drawer the apple slices he wrestled from his glistening, hard-working reindeer team, and he pours himself a cold glass of milk. And he settles down in his p.j.s to catch up with The New York Times.

ny times

Eva Grayson, who helps tend the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd in Aviemore, Scotland, attracted a hungry following Monday.

 

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A Pear CARE Package

It's like mining for gold! There's more under the top layer.

It’s like mining for gold! There’s more under the top layer.

Oh, baby! This is bounty like you wouldn’t believe. Harry & David packaged it, my godmother and aunt Nancy Brown gave two of these to Dad, and he came bearing one as a gift yesterday. Thanks all ’round!

Have you ever seen two more beautiful sisters?

Have you ever seen two more beautiful sisters?

Love you, Nancy–you’re as close to a mother as I have on this earth.

 

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Merry Morning

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Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas!

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Early Bird Score

It’s worth getting up early in the morning in NYC. You never know what you’ll find on the street. Something upholstered? Leave it! But almost anything else is worth looking over.

This morning, as I walked Grace at 6:45 before the sun had risen, I spotted a white wicker magazine holder in very good shape. I walked past and then scurried back. “Perfect!” I thought, “it’ll fit right into the corner of the kitchen.” The cookbook situation had become dire. No more room on the shelf for our best-loved, most-used, and now new cookbooks salvaged from my office move.

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So our favorite Cook’s Illustrated magazines, Patricia Wells’ new French Kitchen Cookbook, a beauty from Interlink called The German Kitchen by a Hamburg chef, Julia Merriman’s hostess gift of a mouthwatering Belgian cookbook, and more can wait their turn in comfort. And our wedding china, the Liberty pattern from Lenox, nestled on the shelves above the originals, can rest a little easier.

The score and my little partner in crime.

The score and my little partner in crime.

 

 

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Gifts to My Kitchen

smoked salmon and gingerbread--not perfect together, but lovely on their own!

smoked salmon and gingerbread–not perfect together, but lovely on their own!

‘Tis the season to gather goodies! At left, Cambridge House(R) Atlantic smoked salmon (thanks to a friend of my dad, Ed Arnold, whose taste in Christmas gifts is impeccable!). At right, handmade gingerbread animals. Sue Tamoney rolls sheets of gingerbread dough as thin as paper and cuts out 1,000 animals, using a toothpick to put on two drops of icing for eyes. Deliciously spicy! You’ve eaten about 35 before you know it which is why 1,000 is barely enough to satisfy Sue’s fans.

I don’t have a photo of the Leckerlee lebkuchen I got from a friend in publishing because I re-gifted it to my father-in-law, as German as J.S. Bach (but not nearly so talented!).

I’ve got to make this short; thinking of J.S. Bach, here’s the opening of this glorious Christmas Oratorio to help you, too, power through those last chores before we celebrate!


german xmas market

 

 

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Gifts From the Kitchen

The kitchen gives so many gifts; its warmth, the aromas of good food, the satisfaction when a recipe comes out right. Oh, those are gifts to me! Gifts from my kitchen…. Unlike my early days, when baking frazzled my nerves, I hope my treats convey some sense of the calm, well-balanced, harmonious environment they’re made in. And there’s a little nostalgia, too, particularly at Christmas when a certain vintage kitchen tool gets into the mix.

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Mom’s Sunbeam Mixmaster is still whirling, God only knows how (probably from the “gentle” [read minimal] use it gets!). There’s no time of the year when I miss Mom more.

Chappaqua, NY, c. 1980

Chappaqua, NY, c. 1980

These oatmeal-dried-cranberry-raisin cookies will go to the Christmas tree sellers on our corner.

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They’re also for the California Whittinghams I’m looking so forward to seeing tomorrow, as a little extra with their Christmas presents, and to the cook this morning for breakfast. Self-gifting’s all the rage!

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TGIF Treat–Hot, Buttered Toast

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“Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex.”–Oscar Wilde

I make no claim to be complex, but life can certainly get as demanding as a astrophysics textbook. So, I’m indulging in my favorite comfort food: hot, buttered toast while I wrap a couple of small gifts for the colleagues without whom I wouldn’t be able to survive at work.

How cute is this kitchen timer? Thank you, Fish’s Eddy, one of my favorite stores on the planet. I can’t wait for one of my friends to try it; I want to hear this chick ring them bells!

$12.95 and cheap at twice the price!

$12.95 and cheap at twice the price!

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Easy Quiche Breakfast

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These crustless quiches couldn’t be quicker to make…and eat (I put the camera down and devoured one of these on the spot, save a little dollop for Gracie). They come out of the oven puffed up like a soufflé; that doesn’t last but a minute. Still, they’re light and rich at the same time. Without a crust you can indulge a little with your side carb; I had a piece of buttered rye toast, but a brioche would be divine.

Butter two ramekins. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Divide one slice of cooked, crumbled bacon and 1/4 cup shredded cheese between the two ramekins.

Beat one egg with 3 1/8-cups of heavy cream (you can use any strength milk you like, but skim milk will make these pretty skimpy). Season to taste with s/p and any other herb or seasoning you like. Divide the egg mixture between the two ramekins; pour until each ramekin is 3/4 full.

Set the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until puffed and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Bon appétit!

french beret

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