Kick start your day with a good breakfast

Roasted Potato Hash in Brown Butter–and more to be grateful for

I’ll be at the farm in upstate NY for the next few days, surrounded by out-laws but grateful to be in beautiful countryside, around well-loved farm animals, and in a fabulous kitchen with a fireplace.



So what am I grateful for this year? It spans centuries.

First, as always for Johannes Gutenberg and his moveable type. I can’t go a day (a day? An hour) without opening a book. I’m re-reading The House of Mirth (while amusing it’s not, it’s certainly compelling) and getting ready to read the bound galley of Pig Tales, new from Barry Estabrook, the author of Tomatoland.

pig tales


The most recent tech invention I’m thankful for is the digital camera. I’ve gotten more joy out of the one my sister gave me years ago for my birthday than any video game, DVD player, Wii, ATM machine, or smart phone could ever have provided.

I’m grateful for a dog who’s taught me to live in the moment. If she’s got a free minute or two, she’s going to take advantage of it.


I’m thankful for my elderly dad who has so generously removed any guilt I was feeling for going away this Thanksgiving. I know it won’t be easy, but he’s reassured me time and again he’d rather be at home watching football!

I’m grateful to Chuck for about a billion things.


Appropriate to a blog about food, I’ll give him this: he can sure sniff out a great recipe. We’ve made this twice and it only gets better. Thanks really go to Jessica Koslow, chef at Squirl in Los Angeles, who shared this with the Slow Food Fast column in the weekend Wall Street Journal.

Brown Butter Roasted Potato Hash

2 pounds small potatoes (such as baby whites or reds)

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

4 large eggs

6 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons lemon juice

4 scallions, thinly sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Bring a large pot, filled halfway with salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add potatoes and cook until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Strain potatoes, halve them and place on a baking sheet.
  2. Toss potatoes with olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, then spread them out in a single later. Place in oven and roast, flipping potatoes once halfway through, until browned and crisp, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, fill a medium lidded pot of water with cold water. Add eggs to pot, place over high heat and bring to a full boil. Cover pot, remove from heat and let sit 12 minutes. Strain eggs. Once cool enough to handle, peel warm eggs and roughly chop. Set aside.
  4. Make brown butter: in a medium sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat and cook gently until it turns brown and aromatic, about 5 minute. (Monitor butter carefully to prevent it from blackening.)
  5. In a large bowl, toss roasted potatoes with brown butter, lemon juice, and scallions. Season with extra salt and pepper to taste. Scatter crumbled egg over potatoes and serve immediately.

This covers only an iota of what I feel grateful for: trusted women who are helping me find a new job, friends who keep up my spirits, family who make me laugh, neighbors who enrich my world, readers who like these blog posts. Thank you all, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

live turkeys



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Bring Back Home Ec!

Having learned the joy of cooking rather late in life, I’m like an ex-smoker. I can’t stop talking about the benefits and haranguing people to be more like me. Please visit my other blog Bring Back Home Ec for photos and instructions on making a bacon-and-egg croissant-wich in your own kitchen.


Why go out for this? Nobody wants to see us in the morning before we’ve taken a shower. Only our families should have to put up with that.

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Saturday Morning Biscuits



May I admit something sacreligeous? I think Southerners are close to ruining biscuits. They’re easy, people! Our friends from Down South want us to believe they’ve got the special touch, the secret, the last word on the subject. But Yankees know biscuit-baking, too! Just see how simple this recipe from The Yankee Magazine Cookbook is and you’ll never despair that you weren’t born with a box of White Lily flour in one hand and a bottle of buttermilk in the other.

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons butter

¼ to 1 cup cold milk or water

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives. Stir in liquid to form a stiff dough. Turn out on floured board and knead briefly. Pat out to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with floured biscuit cutter. Place close together on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes in 400° oven, until tops are lightly browned. Serve piping hot with lots of butter.

Makes about 12.

Copyright © 1981 by Yankee Magazine. Harper & Row Publishers, New York

I made mine with half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose white and it took 3/4 of a cup of milk to get the right consistency. A wine glass works perfectly well for a biscuit cutter–and that’s a real Yankee touch!





TGIF Treat–Burrito With Scrambled Egg and Red Sauce

Last night, I squirreled away a couple of tablespoons of an easy, delicious red sauce I made for enchiladas so I could have a spicy, scrambled egg in a whole wheat tortilla this morning. Here’s the sauce recipe, courtesy of Betty Crocker’s Southwest Cooking:

1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ cup chicken broth

4 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 4 cups)

1 tablespoon ground red chiles

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

⅛ teaspoon pepper

Cook and stir onion and garlic in oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until onion is tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Copyright © 1989 by General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota

And here’s the burrito, served with a side of peace on earth. Happy Friday!



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Ew–and so delicious

DSC02096 It’s a banana muffin morning (and will be all week!). My husband loves bananas, so they don’t usually last long enough to go all black and mushy, but I snagged one of these ugly-wuglies for myself. Last night, I mixed one cup of all-purpose flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in one container. I put a half-stick of butter and a little more than one-quarter cup of sugar in another. I measured out a half-cup of chopped walnuts. This morning, I whizzed up the butter (nicely softened) and sugar and added one egg, my mashed-up banana, and a half a teaspoon of vanilla. In went the flour and the nuts, in went the batter into my greased six-cup muffin pan, and after 22 minutes at 350° F, out came breakfast. Yes, we have no bananas…we have six moist, fresh-from-the-oven, oh-so-tasty banana muffins today.

What a transformation!

What a transformation!

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The Bread of Life

Yesterday’s New York Times Dining section was devoted to bread: how to make your own flavored bread crumbs, tips for perfect toast, the edgier bakers and their exquisite loaves, and so much more. A keeper because of the recipe for whole wheat English muffins, something I’ve been dying to bake since we sold The Model Bakery Cookbook at The Good Cook.

model bakery cookbook

Since I’ve met and enjoyed Melissa Clark who wrote the recipe for the Times, I’ll give hers a try soon.

My history with bread is probably the model of anyone born in the mid-twentieth century. It starts with Wonder Bread, in my case, two puffy slices with Underwood deviled ham inside. Loved the stuff!

underwood deviled hame Every Sunday, we had Thomas’ English muffins with our scrambled eggs and bacon.

I finally had a decent slice of bread when I went to Paris during my junior year abroad. Even the low-rent B&B I stayed in served a nice baguette with butter and jam. The tuna niçoise sandwich I had every night for dinner from a cart on the street put all American versions to shame.

french boy with bread

Photograph by Willy Ronis

I’m still learning to bake yeast breads; it’ll be a totally enjoyable lifelong pursuit. And think of all the slices I’ll have to sample to learn about crumb, crust, and taste–gosh, what an ordeal!

array of breads

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One Green Apple

I didn’t know how many little puff pastry tarts I wanted to make yesterday morning and ended up with a green apple left over. I had baked a memorably mouth-watering brown-sugar glazed apple bread from Sally McKenney’s new book, Sally’s Baking Addiction, when I handsold the book for The Good Cook, so an encore performance was just the thing. The glaze is just heavenly. The more the better!


Brown Sugar Glazed Apple Bread

“If you only make one apple bread in your lifetime, this is the recipe you need. One taste and you’ll be sold, I promise! Quite a bold statement for apples, right? But this is the kind of soft, dense bread you’ll want to have around for coffee, snack time, and unexpected guests. Sweet enough to fit the dessert category but humble enough for breakfast. The yogurt and eggs leave it fabulously moist, and the thick brown-sugar glaze smothers the bread and knocks it out of the park!”

Prep time: 25 minutes  Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes, plus cooling      Makes 1 loaf

Apple Bread

¼ cup (60g) butter, softened to room temperature

¾ cup (180g) plain yogurt, Greek or regular

¼ cup (65g) dark brown sugar

⅔ cup (130g) granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

¾ tsp salt

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced

1 cup (140g) chopped pecans

Brown Sugar Glaze

1 cup (170g) dark brown sugar

¼ cup (60g) butter

⅓ cup (80ml) heavy cream

½ cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar sifted

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x5in loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. MAKE THE BREAD: In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, yogurt, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer if using a stand mixer. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Slowly stir everything together until no more flour pockets remain. The batter will be thick, but do not overmix it. Fold in the chopped apple and ⅔ cup of the pecans.
  4. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the loaf with aluminum foil halfway through cooking to prevent the top from getting too brown. The loaf is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  5. MAKE THE GLAZE: Combine the brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring the mixture often. Allow to boil for 1 minute, then turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar. Add the remaining ⅓ cup of pecans. Allow to cool for 3 minutes then spoon over bread while it is still warm. The bread stays fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days and in the refrigerator for up to 7. Serve warm or cold.

☺Sally Says: I love using this brown-sugar glaze on top of muffins, cakes, and even pumpkin bread. Add a dash of salt, and you’ll have a glaze that tastes just like salted caramel. The best part? This glaze can be made in advance, so once you’re ready to use it, simply warm it on the stove for 3 minutes then spoon it over the bread.

Copyright © 2014 Sally McKenney

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Bs for Breakfast

No, that headline is not an abbreviation of a bad word! This morning, I’m celebrating my favorite letter in the alphabet.


To music lovers, the three Bs may be Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. To me, the three Bs are blueberries, butter, and buttermilk, key ingredients in Lauren Chattman’s recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins (read on for the recipe).


I used whole-wheat flour and that’s butter, not honey, but I slapped that on before I re-read the post! Either way, these muffins will satisfy.

Spread with organic honey from busy bees, these muffins are pure bliss. 

Read the rest of this entry »

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A Breakfast Surprise

Who’d have thought you could get breakfast from a cookbook like this?

by Rick Marzullo O'Connell; (c) Copyright 1991; HarperCollins Publishers;

 (c) Copyright 1991; HarperCollins Publishers

I usually use this for serving company a delicious recipe for Chicken Breasts With Artichokes, Cream, and Tomatoes. Chuck loves it for the White Beans With Tuna. Yesterday, I got a craving for rosemary focaccia for a savory breakfast. I had coincidentally just bought a freezer-ful of frozen fruit: blueberries, peaches, and strawberries. What should my eye fall on in this book but Blueberry Focaccia: “this combination is not as untraditional as it may seem. It is inspired by Italian flat breads baked with wine grapes and rosemary, called schiacciate con l’uva. Serve with a dab of sour cream or mascarpone cheese.” Well, there’s the answer for that last bit of crème fraîche I bought last week for a lemon tea bread.

I halved the recipe and used an 8x8 pan. Savory rosemary and garlic focaccia tomorrow!

I halved the recipe and used an 8×8 pan. Savory rosemary and garlic focaccia tomorrow!

Now that I’ve tasted this, a sweet whipped cream would better complement the tartness of the berries (I used a light, light hand with the sugar).

It starts with a traditional pizza dough:

1 cup warm water (about 100°)

¼ teaspoon sugar

1 envelope (¼ ounce) active dry yeast

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup water with sugar and yeast. Let stand in a warm place for 10 to 12 minutes. The yeast will become bubbly and give off a yeasty odor.

2. In another bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in flour, add proofed yeast, remaining ¾ cup warm water, and olive oil. Begin mixing flour and liquid together with your hand; mix until you form a dough that cleans sides of bowl.

3. Clean off your hands.  Lightly flour a work surface. Place dough on surface and begin to knead with heel of your hand, turning and folding dough as you knead it. Knead 5 to 8 minutes, or until dough becomes smooth and elastic. Put dough into a clean bowl and let rise, covered with a kitchen towel, in a warm place (75° to 80°) 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in bulk.

4. At this point, punch dough down with fist. Knead 1 minute. You are now ready to shape dough according to recipe.

Then we move onto the focaccia:

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 recipe traditional pizza dough

1 cup blueberries

¾ cup sugar

1. Preheat over to 350°. Brush a 10 x 8-inch pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Pat or roll dough to fit pan. Brush surface with remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Indent surface of dough by pressing all over with your fingertips. Top with blueberries and sugar, pressing gently into dough.

2. Let dough rise, covered with a kitchen towel, in a warm place 45 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.

3. Bake focaccia 30 minutes, or until puffy and lightly golden.


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Let the Sun Shine–Please!

God. Six more weeks of winter. That damn groundhog is a wuss!

To ameliorate the situation, I’ll dedicate this week to citrus.


Today’s breakfast is a piece of Lemon Tea Bread, the rest of which I’ll bring to work to brighten the mood of our first day without my oldest and best loved colleague, Sharon.

We can thank Christopher Columbus for introducing the lemon to the Caribbean. It made its way from Asia to Jerusalem to Ancient Rome to Genoa.

Today, I can’t open a cookbook–Mediterranean, North African, or any book on reviving the “lost skills” of preserving, etc.–without finding a recipe for preserved lemons and lemon curd. I’m eyeing a wealth of tempting recipes for lemon, pasta, and shrimp. Chuck loves his lemons “zesty,” in limoncello.

I’m sure everyone knows that lemons are a terrific source of vitamin C which works to neutralize free radicals and work against infections like colds. A glass of warm lemon water in the morning is recommended to get your bowels working. Honey and lemon, with or without hot tea, will soothe an irritated throat.

Six more weeks of winter? Makes the days of BBQ and lemonade all the sweeter.

lemonade stand

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