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Kick start your day with a good breakfast

A Tale of Two Cities

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” begins Charles Dickens’ novel of a fateful trip from London to Revolutionary Paris, A Tale of Two Cities–as any high school English student used to be able to tell you. And almost 250 years later, we’ve got another battle raging!

croissant

“Vive le croissant!”

Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, will be making their croissants straight, not curved, because, as its croissant buyer says, ““With the crescent-shaped croissants, it’s more fiddly, and most people can take up to three attempts to achieve perfect coverage, which increases the potential for accidents involving sticky fingers and tables.” Thank God, someone has addressed the conflict of the age, Everyman’s stress at breakfast time–Brexit, be damned!

What next? I think the French should propose vegan Yorkshire pudding or hedgehog in mustard sauce (kidding! I’m with the Brits on the preciousness and protection of the hedgehog).

hedgehog

“I like my croissants with beetle-snail butter and jellied worms.”

There should be no fiddling with tradition, as far as I’m concerned. Would the Brits want a digital face on Big Ben?! It’d be so much easier and faster to read!

 

 

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There’s coffee…and then there’s…

that cup of perfection you once had and can still remember in minute detail. The best cup of coffee I ever tasted was in Baton Rouge, LA. Community coffee  is a local institution and their coffee and chicory is the smoothest, sweetest shot of caffeine any soul could ever pray for. The second best is much stronger and sharper and you have to travel some to get it, but it’s worth the trip! Tazza D’Oro Coffee Shop in Rome.

And now, back to the swill our office coffee urn spews out. Because when it’s 3pm and the boring bits on your to-do are staring you in the face, at least there’s coffee.

coffee

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Life in Carl Larsson Land

larsson breakfast table

If the Scandinavians can build Legoland, why don’t they create Carl Larssonland? I’d be there in an instant! Isn’t his world absolutely gorgeous?

another carl larsson room

What brought this on, you might ask? It’s another in a long slog of gray, freezing, snowy mornings. I’m trying to warm it up with Finnish Rye Scones for breakfast and I couldn’t help but dream of his uniquely cheerful interiors. If anyone knew how to make the winter warmer, it was Larsson.

I’m recipe-testing for Luane Kohnke again. She’s the author of Sassy Cookies and an absolutely terrific recipe developer. I had to buy rye flour for my first recipe (some heavenly pecan-rye sablés) and I wondered if it would make a nice scone. I found this recipe from Finnish Food Girl. Healthy, hearty, and highly recommended!

Hard to tear myself away from my own warm kitchen and my corgi Grace, but the prospect of another scone for lunch with homemade mushroom-barley soup makes the commute seem less daunting. DSC01823

 

 

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Kalamata on the Hudson

This morning, I’m conjuring up the relaxed, all-natural lifestyle of the  Mediterranean with an Omeletta Me Domates from a cookbook I salvaged from the giveaway table downstairs.

greek food

“…for Greeks food and cooking and eating are, at least on occasion, things of excitement, exuberance, and just possibly, magic.”

The magic I’m looking for this morning is the ability to hold back time. I don’t want summer to end, so I’ll stop and smell the fresh basil, taste the sweet ripe tomato, and bask in the sunny yellow of the eggs. Kaliméra!

Not beautiful intact curds, but delicious all the same!

Not beautiful intact curds, but delicious all the same!

(I halved this for just myself and cooked it in a small cast-iron skillet; it’s actually enough for two)

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced or shredded

salt and black pepper

pinch sugar

1/2 teaspoon oregano, or thyme or fresh basil

4 eggs, beaten a little with a fork

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the prepared tomatoes with the herbs. Stir a little and let them cook gently for 5-8 minutes until all the liquid evaporates. Stir in some seasoning and the sugar and add the seasoned beaten eggs, pouring them evenly all over the tomatoes. Stir gently with a fork and cook slowly for 2-3 minutes until the eggs are cooked but not too solid. Take it to the table in the frying pan and let people dip in it or serve themselves. The consistency of the dish should resemble scrambled eggs.

Copyright (c) Renata Salaman 1983

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Buenos Dias!

 

 

 

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My dream come true! Whole wheat tortilla heated for a few minutes in the microwave; refried black beans; fried egg; tomatillo salsa; Monterey Jack cheese melted on top in the toaster oven. Es delicioso! 

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Dreaming of…

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bones? Kibble? Her next meal, absolutely…whatever it will be. Me, too!

Tonight, I made refried black beans from scratch for the first time. Not authentic by any means, but they were delicious. I put a couple of spoonfuls aside for huevos rancheros tomorrow. I’ll be dreaming of horses, high grass, and a beautiful sunrise tonight.

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

2 cloved garlic (finely chopped)

1 heaping tablespoon chopped green chiles

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, undrained

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook and stir, onion, garlic, and chiles in oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until onion is tender. Stir in remaining ingredients; mash beans.

Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 15 minutes.

 

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Around the World on a Loaf of Bread–Day Five

After this whirlwind trip, I’m coming back home to chopped liver. What can I say? It’s so right! So humble, so ubiquitous that it’s made its way into a classic NY retort, “And what am I? Chopped liv-ah?”

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The New York Times columnist and ex-restaurant reviewer Sam Sifton wormed a recipe for chicken liver pâté out of a line cook at a Red Hook, Brooklyn tavern he likes called Fort Defiance: it’s cheap, fast, and absolutely delicious.

fort defiance

This line cook’s talented. The meek shall inherit the tocque.

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Around the World on a Loaf of Bread–Day Four

man of la mancha

I know that tapas are meant to be served with wine or sherry, but a cup of good coffee will have to do here at home first thing this morning.

I adapted a recipe for Deviled Eggs With Tuna (Huevos Rellenos De Atun) to pile the egg filling on toast (I’ll save the egg whites to add protein to a salad later.)

And what are we signing in choir this morning? "His Yoke is Easy" from Handel's Messiah--haha!

And what are we signing in choir this morning? “His Yoke is Easy” from Handel’s Messiah–haha!

What is cooking if not “To run … where the brave dare not go ….”

 

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Around the World on a Loaf of Bread–Day Three

above rome

Bruschetta is a terrific breakfast on a freezing midwinter morning: fresh tomatoes, a whiff of balsamic vinegar and basil, gooey, hot melted mozzarella. I used this recipe for Double Tomato Bruschetta (with its fresh and sun-dried tomatoes) as a guide, omitting the garlic–not a good choice on a morning full of meetings.

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I’m always stumped by “ch” in Italian.  This is pronounced “broo-skett-a,” just as porchetta is pronounced “pour-kett-a.” I have ample opportunities to humiliate myself in NYC, with its abundance of Italian restaurants, so I’d better find some trick to remember this!

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Around the World on a Loaf of Bread–Day Two

Have no fear, bunny...sticks and stones may break your bones, but recipe names will never hurt you.

Have no fear, bunny…sticks and stones may break your bones, but recipe names won’t hurt you.

When I looked up Welsh rarebit in The Joy of Cooking, Ethan Becker brought up the “rarebit/rabbit,” “you say tomato and I say tomahto” question. Ditching his recipe which called for an egg, I turned to Jean Anderson’s Doubleday Cookbook. No egg and she calls it Welsh rabbit.

My mother used to make  this when I was really little–oh, the anticipation! Here’s Jean Anderson’s recipe, cut down from four servings to one.

1 pat butter

1/8 cup milk (ale or beer, if you’re making this for brunch)

1/8 teaspoon powdered mustard

tiny pinch cayenne pepper

1/4 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

a scant 1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Heat butter, milk, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce in the top of a double boiler over just simmering water 5 minutes. Add cheese, a little at a time, stirring constantly until smooth and quite thick. Remove from heat immediately and serve over hot buttered toast.

DSC01990My favorite breakfast yet! Jean Anderson, I love you.

 

 

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