Mom's the Word
Surprise that Special Someone with Breakfast in Bed
When it’s a special day for someone in our family—Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or a birthday—the rest of us like to get up early and prepare breakfast. After a few tense moments attempting to stay quiet while banging around in the kitchen, we all parade upstairs. The honoree graciously pretends to be asleep, stifling a giggle while we enter the bedroom with a tray of treats and a handful of butter-stained greeting cards. Sometimes, school schedules and work demands cut short our tasty wake-up calls, but the recipient always starts the day feeling loved and appreciated.
If you’re daunted by the thought of anything trickier than cold cereal, relax. Breakfast in bed doesn’t have to be a production that requires you to wake before sunrise. With a little planning, you can do most of the preparation the night before, with excellent results (the flavor of a finely diced fruit salad, for example, actually improves when it sits overnight). By using the freshest ingredients available, you get maximum flavor and effect—witness an ordinary omelet turned elegant when paired with slender asparagus spears and Brie cheese.
Simple touches can spruce up the tray. Sprigs of fresh herbs or flowers add a finished look or, for a memorable centerpiece, tape bamboo skewers or chopsticks to the backs of family photos and place in a vase. Although no study has proved it, china plates and stemware do make food taste better.
Hint: Accompany with a glass of champagne or sparkling cider.
¼ cup water
6 ounces asparagus
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons nonfat milk or water
¼ pound Brie cheese (rind removed), cut into pieces
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh dill or chives, chopped
1. In a nonstick skillet, heat water until boiling and blanch asparagus until barely tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside. (This step may be done ahead.)
2. In the same nonstick skillet, heat ½ tablespoon butter over medium-low heat. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and milk or water. Pour half the eggs into the skillet. Rotate the pan to cover the bottom evenly with eggs. When eggs are half set, add half the asparagus and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with half the herbs. Fold eggs over the asparagus and cheese and slide onto a serving plate. Keep warm.
3. Repeat step two with remaining ingredients to make a second omelet, and serve.
Festive Fruit Salad
Makes 2½ cups / Use any combination of fruit.
Hint: Finely dicing the fruit allows for the sauce to coat each tidbit.
¼ cup lime juice
1 short tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1-2 cups skinned, seeded and diced papaya
1 mango, skinned, seeded and diced
½ cup diced pineapple, fresh or canned
1 kiwi, skinned and diced
1 cup diced strawberries
1 starfruit, thinly sliced, for garnish
1. In a medium bowl, mix lime juice, sugar and vanilla until sugar dissolves. Add diced fruit and stir gently.
2. Chill overnight, if desired.
3. Serve in individual dishes, garnished with star fruit.
Apple-Butter Raised Waffles
Serves 8 / A lighter adaptation of the famous recipe from Fannie Farmer’s original cookbook of the 1800s.
Hint: To simplify your morning, make the batter the night before. Top waffles with warm applesauce or maple syrup.
½ cup warm water (100-115°)
2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) dry yeast (regular, not rapid-rise)
2 cups warm low-fat milk (100-115°)
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup apple butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup organic all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Canola oil for waffle iron
1. Pour warm water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Allow to dissolve for about 10 minutes.
2. Add warm milk, oil, apple butter, salt, honey and flours to yeast mixture. Blend with a whisk or a hand-held mixer until lumps are gone. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in the refrigerator overnight.
3. In the morning, beat in eggs and baking soda. Batter will be thin.
4. Pour ½ to ¾ cup batter into a preheated, oiled waffle iron. Bake until crisp and golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serves 2 / A nontraditional breakfast treat.
Hint: Use crusty artisan bread for a hearty sandwich that holds up in the waffle iron.
4 slices prosciutto (about 1 ounce)
4 slices fresh tomato
4 slices fontina cheese (about 3 ounces)
4 thick slices whole grain bread
Salt and pepper
Herbes de Provence
1. Preheat a waffle iron. Place prosciutto, tomato and cheese on two bread slices. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with herbes de Provence. Top with remaining bread.
2. Brush waffle iron liberally with olive oil and cook sandwiches until brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Vegan Mocha-Almond Muffins
Makes 10 / A candle on top makes this a birthday morning mini-cake.
Hint: For extra flavor and fiber, add a cup of grated carrots, mashed banana or whole raspberries.
1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup strong coffee, lukewarm
1/3 cup brown rice syrup or pure maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons almond extract
½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)
½ cup slivered almonds
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Prepare muffin tins with pump cooking spray or paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, mix coffee, syrup, oil, vinegar and almond extract. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until completely blended. Add chocolate chips, if desired.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Top with almonds. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops are raised and spring back when touched. Let cool 10 minutes, remove from pan, and sprinkle with powdered sugar.