Tag Archives: breakfast

A Box Full of Sunshine for Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! My gift came a day early, from California. My amazing Auntie Tina, who knows how much I covet her Meyer Lemon tree, sent a surprise care package straight from her tree and her kitchen.  It was the very best thing in the world to open on a snowy, windy May morning in New Hampshire. Money may not buy you happiness, but fresh lemon marmalade on toast sure will.

Tina makes me think of great moms and of the way they make you feel special on every day. My Nina was all that, and I’m really happy and excited that she’s getting some airtime in today’s New York Times. I hope you get a chance to read this, and that it brings a little peace to people who need it on Mother’s Day, or any day.

For kids out there, of any age, wondering if you can pull off making breakfast for your Mom, you CAN! And you can probably do it with what you have on hand. Might I suggest Dutch Bunny, Blueberry Dutch Bunny, Popovers or 3-3/2-2 crepes, all of which benefit from a squeeze of fresh lemon. Whatever you come up with, you know she’ll appreciate the effort, so here’s the only part of the recipe you truly need to follow: Serve it up with a whole lotta love!

Whether or not cooking is happening, let’s give it up for our mom’s today. And when life gives you lemons, say “Thank you!” 

 Thank you for the sunshine Tina!

Italian Breakfast Biscotti

Well hello! What say we spend a quiet weekend at home with family? I know, bad joke. But really, at any other point in time that probably sounded like a comforting luxury, so let’s enjoy it. And, how better to enjoy it than with cookies? But, wait, it gets better. How about breakfast cookies? NOW we’re talking.

This recipe come from “A Blissful Feast” the book I mentioned a couple of posts ago, after going to a reading at the Norwich Book Store. The author, the supremely talented Teresa Lust, is my neighbor in bustling Hanover Center, and the reading happened to be that last social event before we all scurried into our holes for the duration. Teresa’s first book, Pass the Polenta got a shout-out from none other than Julia Child, so I knew this chronicle of her culinary journey—through Italian culture, history and family—would be entertaining, informative and well written. As a bonus, it’s full of unfussy recipes that I wanted to try pronto!

Part history, part story and all great recipes

This was the first recipe I wanted to make, and it did not disappoint. I love that these call for olive oil instead of butter, which helps when cooking with heart health in mind, and means you don’t have to soften butter. I also love that they use lemon zest because the only things I have hoarded are Meyer lemons. And I love that I now have a new creation that impresses my kids and makes everyone happy at any time of day. When Teresa graciously encouraged me to share the recipe here, she warned me that it was possible to eat half the batch in one sitting. She was not wrong.

As I prepare to make them again, I need to time production so I have some left for tomorrow’s Easter festivities which include…cookies for breakfast and not much else. I’m saving A Blissful Feast for bedtime reading, going through it slowly, imagining a trip to Italy and enjoying it like a long family meal. 

A few notes: This is the recipe exactly as it is written in the book, but with a few *notes where Teresa provided some extra guidance and assurance for the baking impaired (like me). I suspected these would be great with other fruit/nut combos, and Teresa gives that a big thumbs up, especially dried cherries or cranberries and almonds, pistachios. or hazelnuts. I say any combo that speaks to you (ideally from your pantry).

Cantucci: Breakfast Biscotti

Makes about 4 dozen

These twice baked cookies are traditionally served with a sweet dessert wine at the end of the meal. The addition of dried apricots, almonds and oats gives them all the ingredients you need for breakfast, too, served with an espresso or steaming cup of caffelatte.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour, plus 1 Tbsp for tossing with apricot pieces
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, (whole or slivered)
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats (not instant)

Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Place sugar, eggs and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until smooth. Add lemon zest, vanilla and almond extract, and continue mixing, until combined.

In a small bowl, toss remaining tablespoon of flour with dried apricots to keep the pieces from sticking and set aside.

Add flour mixture to wet ingredients, stirring just until blended and make sure to scrape bottom and sides of bowl with a spatula to thoroughly incorporate dough.

Stir in chopped apricots, almonds, and oats. Covered though and refrigerate 30 minutes (or up to several hours or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a baking sheet or lined with parchment paper. Divide dough in half, roll into logs (about 12 x 2 inches) and place on baking sheet a few inches apart.*

Flatten the logs into loaves about 1 inch high. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Let loaves cool slightly, then cut into 1/2 inch slices.** Arrange cut side down on baking sheet and return to oven until biscotti start to harden and turn golden (they’ll still feel a bit soft, but will continue to harden as they cool), 15 to 20 minutes.

Teresa’s guidance:

*I roll them out on the counter—I don’t dust the counter with flour, but if they are sticky you could do that. (There’s a lot of variation in different types/brands of flour, also humidity and freshness of flour can affect things.) Then I transfer them  to a baking sheet.

**I cut them on a cutting board, while they are still warm, but cool enough to handle, I’ve used both a chef’s knife and a serrated bread knife, which works better if you’ve forgotten about them and let them cool down all the way.

Partially baked, sliced and ready for the final act.

and then there’s this option

Strangely Awesome Buckwheat Granola

Buckwheat granola is a roasty toasty taste of fall

Buckwheat granola is a roasty toasty taste of fall

So here it is mid October, and where’s the apple post? Apples rule my life in the fall. They beg to be picked. Their fermented scent spikes the air when I step outside. They pile up on the ground until they are weaponized by the lawnmower. I can’t pick them, eat them or cook them up fast enough. So I was feeling badly about not doing an apple post…until I realized we did a pretty complete one last year. In case you missed it, here it is. It’s got you covered on apple scones, pie, soup, cake, sangria, sauce and a few more apple inspired extravaganzas.

That frees us up for something different, even weird, on this Columbus Day. It involves buckwheat groats, which sound sufficiently scary. I’ve always loved their rustic, earthy taste, even though I never really knew what to do with them. Now I know!

I fully admit that I have weird food tastes (my sister even advised I seek medical advice on the particular quirk at one point), so before posting this granola I tried it on many people. Even those with mainstream tastes either loved it right away or quickly warmed up to its sneaky, crunchy addictiveness. It’s good, it’s good for you, it’s super easy, it’s different and it’s indestructible. All that makes it wayyyyy Bring It worthy.

And here’s the October bonus: you can substitute applesauce for the mashed banana. So you get to try something new while staying seasonal and plugging away on that apple stash.

Buckwheat Granola

Very slightly adapted from Food52

Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed seeds and nuts (I use sunflower seeds and either almonds or pecans, roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ripe banana, or ½ cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut oil or almond butter)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Method:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a bowl, stir the buckwheat groats together with seeds, nuts, coconut, and spices.

In a separate small bowl, smash the banana with a fork and add it (or the applesauce) to the groats mixture, along with olive oil and maple syrup. Stir until everything is nicely coated. Spread across a baking sheet (lining it makes for easier clean-up) and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until fragrant and golden. Let cool before storing in a glass container.

Some for you and some for a friend. Granola is always the right thing to bring.

Some for you and some for a friend. Granola is always the right thing to bring.

apples

Apple Cheddar Scones

Summer is skipping out and it’s just plain sad every year. But on the bright side, it’s apple season! We’ve only got a row of apple trees—six or so, with two pear trees thrown in—but darned if that doesn’t serve up more fruit than I can handle. It hasn’t even gotten chilly yet and already the apple fest has begun. We’ve made applesauce, apple cider, apple cider syrup (yum!), apple muffins, apple pie, apple compote and just now the first batch of apple cheddar scones. Oooh baby–they are the ultimate in apple goodness. Sadly, they don’t use many apples (get into cider and sauce for that), and they have a few more steps than my favorite slacker scones. They even require eggs fergawdssake, which is so un scone-y. But they’re worth it, and they work any time of day for any type of occasion, from picnic to shmancy party.  This recipe, slightly tweaked at every stop, came via The Bitten Word and they got it from a book called The Perfect Finish. So there’s the provenance. If you need apples come on over.

Ingredients

Makes 6 generous scones (at least 8 normal sized ones).

2 firm tart apples (1 pound. I used about 5 small ones)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt plus additional for egg wash
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes plus additional for baking sheet if not lining it with parchment
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded (white is recommended, rogue westerners.)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs

Method

Position a rack at the center of oven and preheat oven to 375 °F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and core apples, then cut them into chunks. Placed them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them until they take on a little color and feel dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. They will be about half-baked. Let them cool completely (in the fridge if you are eager). Leave oven on.

roasted-apples

roasted-apples

Sift or whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer or by hand, but it is more work), along with cooled apple chunks, cheese, cream and one egg. Sprinkle flour mixture over the top and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Do not overmix.

Generously flour your counter top and place the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle with flour. Use a rolling pin to gently roll (or use your hands to pat) the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick, 6-inch circle. Cut circle into 6 wedges. Transfer them to a baking sheet that has either been buttered or lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Leave at least 2 inches between each scone.

scones pre baking

Ready to bake

Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Brush the scones with egg wash and sprinkle them with remaining tablespoon of sugar. (I have blown off the egg wash on occasion, which is just fine, but it actually does make it better.) Bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. With a spatula, lift them to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.

Bring It!

Baked apple cheddar scones

Fully baked and ready to be demolished

Scones can be made ahead of time and stored unbaked in the freezer until you need them. Just take them on their baking sheet and at your destination brush them with the egg wash, sprinkle them with sugar, and bake them still frozen for just a couple extra minutes. Full disclosure, I have never done this, but it seems like a good idea. I hear these are not so awesome the next day, but ours have never lasted long enough to test that.