Nog me

I was pretty young the first time I had eggnog, and since the grownups didn’t want to deal with a bunch of inebriated preschoolers (kindergarteners can be ugly drunks), my glass came from the kids’ hooch-free punch bowl.The flavor reminded me of when Dad would make a vanilla instant breakfast shake and add vanilla extract.  Only the nog had a strong egg flavor, and it was very milky.  I had given up milk after getting a carton of malodorous, lumpy moo juice during snack time at school.  Yeah, no, egg nog really didn’t move me.

Then a million years later, I was working as a bartender at a country club in Raleigh.  This is actually where my culinary fire was sparked.  I was friends with the kitchen staff, and they were my patient, generous tutors.

It definitely wasn’t Bushwood.  I never saw Bill Murray, not once.

I began to learn the traditions, unwritten rules, and rhythm of a professional kitchen.  I picked up how to observe without getting in the way.  I became familiar with, and learned to appreciate, the black humor that is woven through the very fiber of the denizens of the cook house.

And I learned that one of the very best places in the world to be is on the chef’s good side; especially when he or she develops new recipes and recreates old ones.

One night in early fall, Chef Wes came into the bar office bearing gifts.  It was a tall frosty glass full of what looked like a vanilla milkshake.  I got excited.  He told me it was eggnog.I got bummed.He then informed me it was made using the recipe of George Washington.  Yeah, the father of our country, and evidently, enthusiastic imbiber of spirituous beverages, George Washington.

I got intrigued.

He handed me the glass and I could immediately smell the hooch.  It wasn’t teased by some lightweight eggnog-flavored liqueur, it was chockful of multiple types of hangover-inducing hard liquors.

So, practicing enlightened self-protection, I took a small cautious sip.

First of all, it was boozy.  But not the throat burn-y thing that takes your breath away boozy.  It was mellow.  The alcohol flavor kind of reminded me of one of those fat, hearty gentlemen from a Dickens novel like Mr. Fezziwig; boozy, but jovial and refined.  Does that make any sense?The texture of this egg nog was very different.  It was thick and creamy, like the milkshake I’d mistaken it for.  And it wasn’t too milky or too eggy.  This cold creamy glass of good cheer made me understand what the whole eggnog fuss was about.  When made right, it was really good.

So, below is what scholars and cooks believe was served at our first president’s table.  And since recipes from that era are notoriously skimpy when it comes to details, the directions are from both me, and Chef Wes (Thanks, Chef).

George Washington’s EggnogeggnogOne quart heavy cream

One quart whole milk

One dozen tablespoons sugar (that’s 3/4 cup for you and me)

One pint brandy

½ pint rye whiskey (bourbon works just fine)

½ pint Jamaica rum (Debbie here-no disrespect to the prez, but I’m partial to rum from Puerto Rico)

¼ pint sherry

12 eggs, separated

Mix the alcohol and set aside.  Place egg whites into mixer and beat until they’re glossy and stiff peaks appear.  Remove from bowl and set aside.  Make sure you do the whites first because if there’s any yolk in the whites, they won’t beat into stiff peaks. 

Place yolks and sugar into the mixer bowl and beat on high until it’s the color of butter and runs from the beater in ribbons.  Stir in alcohols, milk and cream.

Then very gently, fold the whites into yolk mixture.

George recommends at this point to let the egg nog rest in a cool place (fridge) for two days before serving. 

Makes one honking punch bowl’s worth.  Enjoy.I hope you enjoy this Colonial nog.  And I hope you get every gift on your list.

But more, I really hope that you, Gentle Reader, and all of your loved ones can spend a few relaxed hours together having fun, and remembering why these are the people that populate your world.

And to all, a good night.

Thanks for your time.

Hot Cha-cha-colate

I told Petey the other day it doesn’t matter who you are, or how much experience you’ve had, making marshmallows is a messy, sticky, sticky business.  Did I mention it’s sticky?All you can do is try to minimize damage.

Because I have more time than money, I make many gifts in my kitchen.

Our cocoa mix is easy and delicious.  Stirring in a small handful of chopped chocolate will make it crazy rich.

Special Dark Cocoa

In a food processor, mix until texture is powdery and homogeneous:cocoa

¾ cup powdered milk

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¾ cup sugar

½ cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder

Then add:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Store in airtight container.  To make a cup, mix ½ cup cocoa mix into 1 cup milk.  Makes 4 cups.And here are the marshmallows that go with the cocoa.  It’s a recipe adapted from Alton Brown. The response you get from people is worth all the heat and mess.  Most people don’t even realize they can be made at home.

Homemade marshmallowsmarshmallows-2

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup ice cold water, divided

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 vanilla bean, scraped, reserving pod

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

Nonstick spray

Place gelatin into bowl of stand mixer with ½ cup water.

Prepare pan:

Put confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cover it with a piece of oiled foil.  Add the sugar and swirl to coat bottom and sides.  Save remaining sugar for later use.

In small saucepan combine remaining water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and empty vanilla pod. Place over medium-high heat, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto side of pan and continue to cook until mixture reaches 240 degrees. Immediately remove from heat and take out vanilla pod.Using whisk attachment, turn mixer on low speed and slowly pour all the sugar syrup down side of the bowl into gelatin mixture. Once added, increase speed to high. Continue to whip until mixture becomes fluffy, white, and increases in volume approximately 500%; approximately 10 to 13 minutes. Add the vanilla bean caviar during last minute of whipping.

When ready, pour mixture into prepared pan, using oiled spatula for even spreading. Dust top with enough of the remaining sugar to lightly cover. Reserve the rest again.  Allow marshmallows to sit uncovered for a few hours before cutting.Once the candy is set, place a piece of parchment onto large cutting board.  Turn the marshmallows out and peel off foil.  Dust bottom and sides with more powdered sugar.  Using powder sugar dusted pizza cutter, cut the candy; 6 pieces wide and 8 long.  As you cut, place into a zip top bag that has some confectioners’ sugar in it.  Gently shake to coat, and place onto parchment to fully set.

Make sure you have everything out and organized.  Once the candy is ready to go from mixer to the prepared pan you have waiting, don’t fool around.  Move deliberately, but with a sense of controlled urgency.

Even if you do everything right, there will still be a mess.  During both the cooking and mixing stages you’ve got time room to load the dish washer and wipe down the stove, the counters, your dog, and mischievous family members.

I leave you with three simple words: Hot.Soapy.Water.

But then hand the out marshmallows and bask in the praise that will fall upon your genius shoulders like warm summer rain.Thanks for your time.

A Christmas Miracle

Half the family thinks she puts crack in them.cookie-dustThe other half, a wide-eyed, innocent, ‘Happily ever after’ bunch if there ever was one, thinks it’s probably fairy dust.

I’m talking about my mother’s Christmas cookies.  They’re a simple sugar cookie, generously slathered with the frosting she learned to make when she took a cake decorating class in Puerto Rico, back in the 1970’s.

Each year she makes 8-10 dozen.  Then one day, a week or so before Christmas, she invites/conscripts a confectionary army to frost them.  After icing, each cookie is sprinkled with holiday-hued sugar, or jimmies, or nonpareils from her vast collection.  As each cookie is festively decked out it’s laid on the dining room table for the frosting to set.But the thing is; these are stealth cookies.

On the surface, they are the same boring sugar cookie everybody on the planet has eaten.

But take just one bite, and you get it.  Forget Helen, this cookie is so good it could launch ten thousand ships.  Both flavor and texture are perfectly balanced.  They are insanely delicious.

One of my favorite things is to watch a neophyte take their very first bite.  I’ll explain how awesome they are, and the newbie will smile politely, all the while thinking I need to get out more and taste a cookie or two.Then, they sink their teeth in and taste it.  Their eyes get real big and their faces light up.  “Oh my Gosh!  I get it.  What’s in these things?  They’re the best cookie I’ve ever eaten.  What the heck?”

Mom’s Christmas Cookies

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Ingredients:moms-cookies1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup sugar

½ cup butter flavored Crisco

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk (whole or 2%)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift dry ingredients into bowl.  With mixer, cut in shortening until it resembles coarse meal.  Blend in egg, milk, and vanilla.

Roll out to 1/8 inch, and cut into shapes. 

Bake on parchment lined cookie sheet for 6-8 minutes or until golden.  Remove to cooling rack.

Frost cookies when they are completely cooled.  Makes about 1 ½ dozen.

Mom’s Frostingmoms-frosting

1 pound box powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 scant teaspoon cream of tartar

1/3 cup butter-flavored Crisco

1 egg white

1/4 cup of water (or less)

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For decorating: colored sugars and jimmies

Dump all ingredients, except water, into mixer. Beat ingredients at low until it starts to come together.  Put the water in at this point, so you can judge just how much to use. Beat until it is creamy and fluffy. We usually dye it festive colors.

A few notes about the recipes:

You might want to fanci-fy the ingredients or procedure.  Don’t do it!  The recipe is some kind of alchemy that only works if made as written.  I’ve tried, and was rewarded with mediocre cookies and regret.  If you have to change things, just make a different cookie.frosting-faceThe frosting is really good, and works on anything that needs frosting, and stuff that doesn’t.  My dad and I have been known to eat a bowl of it, on nothing more than a spoon.

And about the disagreement of what she puts in the cookies?

I’m pretty sure it’s not crack because mom herself is firmly in the wide-eyed camp.  She’s so sheltered she thinks crack is the thing you see when the plumber bends over too far.

So, it must be fairy dust.Thanks for your time.

Strata Symbol

Since Halloween is coming I thought I’d give you, gentle reader, a voyage through one of the most spine-tingling, terrifying places that I know.

My mind.

I developed this week’s recipe well before I could cook, but it’s one we still all enjoy.

It’s a savory Mexican torte.  But that’s not how it began life.  And the mental journey on which I’m taking you is how and why I made changes, from the discovery of the original incarnation’s recipe to dinner last night, when we ate slices leftover from the torte I made a few days ago.

Even before I had any cooking skills, I was fascinated by cookbooks.  They were books about food—with pictures.  I might not have been much of a cook, but I’ve always been a champ at eating.I especially loved going to garage sales and the library sale to snag those little cookbook magazines from the checkout line at the supermarket.  The older the issue better, with a special interest in the Pillsbury Bake-Off editions.

In one from the 70s, was a Mexican pie built in a pie crust and layered with hamburger, sliced tomatoes, lots of cheese and sour cream.  I decided to make it.

It was tasty, but it was also so full of fat that after a few bites one felt the need to go for a run, followed by a few hours of calisthenics.  I needed to lighten it up.To make for a dramatic, attractive presentation, I make it in a spring form pan.  I layer it with flour tortillas which I dredge in a sauce.  Between the tortillas I’d put a couple different Mexican ingredients.

For the sauce, I mixed a mild green salsa, some chicken stock, and sour cream.  I put it in a pie tin and coated both sides of the tortillas before I laid them in the spring form.

I took the topping from the original recipe but lightened it.  After the torte had cooked (covered in a parchment round and foil) at 350 to an internal temp of 165, I uncovered it, spread 2 tablespoons of low-fat sour cream on top, and sprinkled ½ cup or so of cheddar.  I then put it under the low broiler until browned.mexi-torta-1After experimenting, I settled on filling.  The center layer was 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken mixed with ½ cup of store-bought queso, like what you eat with chips.  The layers above and below the meat would be my deluxe homemade cantina-style rice.

Super Lucky Happy Fun-time Mexican Rice


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ yellow onion, chopped

1 ½ cups Jasmine rice rinsed under water until water runs clear, then drained

2-4 ounce cans chopped green chiles, undrained

1-10.75 ounce can low-sodium tomato soup

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons dry thyme

2 teaspoons Goya adobo powder

2 packets Goya Sazon with achiote

½ cup white wine

2 ½ cups chicken stock

1 cup frozen shoepeg corn

Heat oil in large, heavy pot with lid.  Sautee onions until they start to caramelize. Add the next seven ingredients and cook, stirring frequently until the rice is very lightly toasted.

Add wine and let cook out.  Pour in chicken stock and corn.  When it comes to a boil, lower to medium-low and cover.

Cook, covered, approx. 17 minutes or until liquid has just cooked in.  Take off heat, leave covered, for 15 minutes or so.  Serve, or use as layers in torte.

I hope this trip through my thoughts hasn’t been too traumatizing. I have one last thing to say.Boo!

Thanks for your time.

To each his herb

Last week I talked about spices, and warm flavors.This week it’s herbs, and cooler flavors.

Fresh herbs are always best, but sometimes you don’t have the luxury.  There’s some dried thyme, as well as oregano and dill in my spice cabinet in case of emergencies.   But because those dried herbs can quickly lose their mojo, keep dried herbs no more than six months (label the bottle with date you brought it home).  rolled-herbs

To keep the fresh herbs longer, you’ve got two choices.  Either lay out about 6 pieces of paper towel on the counter.  Spritz the paper with cold water.  Then set a bunch down, and roll.  After that bunch is covered, lay down another bunch.  Roll, then lay another bunch, and so on.  When all the herbs are wrapped up, spritz the paper bundle, and place in a large zip top bag.  Refrigerate.

You second choice is easier but you don’t get quite as long a shelf life.  Trim the ends off the herbs.  Fill a tall glass with water, and place in the trimmed herbs like flowers in a vase.  Change water daily.

“Rosemary for remembrance”.  I’ve grown rosemary since Uncle Will, my honorary grandfather, died when The Kid was two.  I bought one very hardy, low maintenance Mediterranean variety which is now a large shrub outside my front doors.  It’s both fragrant and ornamental—many places use it for landscaping. rosemary-basilBasil is a soft leafy herb with that distinctive, fennel/licorice flavor.  It’s a staple in Italian foods.

I like to heat two cups of extra virgin olive oil and add a big handful of each herb.  Before adding the herbs I roll them between my hands to bring out the oils.  I then let the herbs steep until it cools.  I strain it and store it, covered, in the fridge.  This oil is great for dipping bread into.  It’s also good brushed on meat before grilling.  And if you’re not big on red sauce on pizza, brush a little of this aromatic oil on it, then arrange your toppings.

I make a paste of fresh thyme, lemon zest, Parmesano Reggiano, smashed fresh garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  I either crust a pork tenderloin with it or smear some under chicken or turkey skin. lemon-thyme-pasteQuite a few years ago my mom developed an allergy to eggs, and from then on, left them out of the potato salad.

I discovered I liked it better without eggs, so I made it that way, as well.  Only I added fresh dill and flat-leaf parsley.

I made it one night when we were visiting family friend Chef Chrissy.  When I served it, Chrissy mentioned that it was a little ‘passive’.  I think that was a nice way of saying boring.  Then Chrissy’s dad, Bear tried it.  He informed me that it was the best tater salad he’d ever eaten.  So from then on it was called…

Passive-aggressive potato saladpassive-potato-salad

8 medium-size red or Yukon gold potatoes, boiled to fork tender, cooled, peeled and cubed

½ yellow onion, diced

3 tablespoons each parsley and dill, chopped finely

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1-1½ cups Hellmann’s mayo

Salt and pepper to taste

Place cooked, cubed potatoes in large bowl.  Add onions and herbs, drizzle in 2 tablespoons oil and toss.

Starting with 1 cup, stir in mayo.  If you need more, add more.  Season, taste, and re-season if necessary. Cover and let sit at room temp for 1 hour.

Right before service, stir in last 2 tablespoons oil.Serves 4-6.

When using fresh herbs in cooking, the later you add them, the fresher the flavor will be.  And always hold a little back, to sprinkle on the finished dish.  If only you could perk up your own life the same way…Thanks for your time.

Sliding Into Home

Pretty much everything is adorable when it is smaller.  Think about it.


Babies, ponies, Simone Biles, and Laurie Hernandez: you just want to stick ‘em in your pocket and take them home.  Show The Kid a puppy, and you’ll see my grown, responsible adult child babble like a drunken toddler and swoon like a professional Southern Belle.

Food is the same way.  Those little tiny ears of corn, could they be more precious?  On pancake night, my mom used to always make me a small stack of the baby version—and they always tasted better.

Sliders; the miniature version of burgers are everywhere, from burger joints to fine dining.  The burgers were popularized by the White Castle restaurant chain.  The name came from the Navy, where the burgers were small, greasy, and slid down easy.

Last week I was wandering the interwebs and saw a great variation on hamburger sliders.  Pork, sliced from a cooked tenderloin.  What a great idea; with an approximately 2 ½-inch diameter they are the absolute perfect size for sliders.

I didn’t even stick around long enough to look at the recipe or see how they dressed the sliders.  I had opened up my computer notepad, and was coming up with sandwich variations.  I ended up with eleven different sandwiches.

But first, let’s cook our tenderloin.

Oven-roasted pork tenderloin


1 pork tenderloin, approx. 1 pound

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425.  Get a cast iron skillet almost smoking hot.  While it’s heating, brush the oil all over the tenderloin.  Liberally season the pork.

Insert a probe thermometer set to 145 for medium-rare up to 160 for medium.  Place meat in skillet and sear, turning with tongs to brown the entire surface.

When the outside is caramelized, place the skillet with the pork into the oven, and cook until desired temp is reached.  Remove, and let rest, lightly covered for 5-10 minutes.

With a very sharp knife slice into about 10-12 thin-ish slices (you’ll use two slices for each sandwich) Makes 5-6 sliders.

Variations on a Porky Theme:

*Unless another type of bread is noted use any kind of slider bun.

Autumn in Paris-Cut pieces of French bread cut to about 3 inches.  Cut in half horizontally and give the bottom schmear of Dijonaise (50/50 ratio of mayo/Dijon), layer pork, thinly sliced apple slices, and Brie.

The Buckeroo-Place sharp cheddar on top of 2 slices tenderloin.  Melt under broiler.  Spread thin layer of mayo on the bottom and a mild barbecue sauce on cut side of the top of a Hawaiian roll.  Add crispy bacon and tomato.

The Croque-Mix strawberry jam with a little Balsamic vinegar.  Spread on the bottom bun.  Lay on meat, then arugula and shaved red onion.

The Petey (it’s how he likes his ham sandwiches)-Spread mayonnaise on bottom bun.  Layer pork, white American cheese, and kettle potato chips.

Hey Mack-Diced onion, dill pickle slices, American cheese, and 1000 Island dressing.

The Kid-Mix lemon juice into Duke’s mayo to taste.  Spread on bottom bun, then layer pork, crispy pancetta, kale shoots, and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The What?-Spread Miracle Whip on bun.  Add pork, fried green tomato, and pea shoots.

The Bayless-Green salsa on bottom bun.  Melt Queso fresco or Oaxaca on the pork, then add thinly sliced avocado.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have space for all of my ideas.  You are welcome to email me and I’ll send you the rest, or…have some fun with the family coming up with some ideas of your own.

Thanks for your time.

The five people you’ll meet in the kitchen (and the one you should be)

No matter what, everybody’s gotta eat.

I don’t care who you are, if you want to keep walking around on this rock, you need to eat.  No exceptions.

But everybody’s different and the kitchen is where these differences come into stark relief.

I have identified the five main types you may run into:

1.)There’s the cook I call “Persnickety Pierre”.This guy can do no cooking unless he is working from a recipe that is practically Byzantine in its complexity.  Every step must be related in intricate, painstaking direction.  Food that should take 30 minutes takes an hour and a half because Pierre can’t keep himself from repeatedly opening the oven to check on the proceedings.

His kitchen is so sparkling clean you have to wear sunglasses in it.  There are enough cleaning chemicals in the cabinets to hold chemistry class.  He has a diverse wardrobe of Hazmat suits.

If he cooks for you, the food probably won’t taste terribly good, but you can be confident of never contracting a food-borne illness at his table.

2.)At the polar-opposite is Lady Laissez-faire.This self-taught, self-proclaimed chef cooks constantly.  There are only two problems.

She can’t be bothered to actually read through a recipe.  Her favorite expression is, “Don’t worry; I got the gist of it.”

No dish is ever truly finished, she never knows how many it will serve, and doesn’t have a clue how to save her leftovers, of which she always has many.

Her other characteristic is a lackadaisical attitude toward substitutions.  Honey for maple syrup is perfectly acceptable.  But Lady L has run amuck.  She will blithely sub out cayenne pepper for paprika, fish sticks for fresh shrimp, and once, in a pinch, gummy bears for mushrooms.  It may rarely be edible, but it’s always original.

3.) And there’s “Can-do Man”.

This is what happens when you consume too many chemicals.

If it doesn’t come in a can, box or bag, he’s not interested.  Kits are where it’s at.  Our guy eats so many preservatives in his food that he will be dead ten years before he starts to decompose.


4.) There is also the cook I call, “Finger-on-the-pulse-diet chef”.This miss eats no gluten, carbs, animal fat, refined sugar, or dairy.  If there’s a new diet out there, she has done just enough research on it to be misinformed.  She generously imparts her knowledge with everyone, whether they want it or not.  Priscilla firmly believes that bad diets are the root of all society’s ills.

High cholesterol?  White food’s off limits.

Insomnia?  Go paleo.

Color blind?  Eat capers and licorice, together.

Flat feet? No food with the letter “R” in it.

The funny thing is, our girl has acid reflux, eczema, and could stand to lose 15 pounds.

5.)Our final cook is called “The Frat Boy”.There are two kitchen tools upon which Biff relies.  One’s his microwave; he can heat up Spaghetti-o’s and pop popcorn like a champ.  The other is his telephone.  He’s on a first-name basis with every take-out place in town.  He built a tool shed from pizza boxes.  His fridge contains only beer and duck sauce.  He named his dog “Raman”.

And lastly I hope, you.

Know your recipes, and keep your kitchen clean.  But don’t be too uptight, and feel free to get creative.  Short cuts are ok if used sparingly.  Learn something about nutrition and try to eat right.  And once in a while, take the night off and order in something yummy and a little naughty. Above all, keep cooking, and have fun.

Thanks for your time.

Your Toast

In almost every facet of life there are fads.

Don’t believe me?  When’s the last time you sat at a harvest gold-colored kitchen counter while eating fondue, listening to Milli Vanilli and wearing acid wash denim and a Member’s Only jacket?



Because of the interwebs, the fads move faster than ever today.  Also, local dishes can go viral and become huge in a matter of days (hello, cronut).

I like to tell myself that I’m above fads and that I am not so easily swayed.

But to be perfectly honest, there have been times when the presence of a food on somebody’s list has persuaded me to at least try it.  I never ate kale until it was everywhere.  And you know what?  I’m glad I did; I like it creamed, in certain salads, and made into chips.   I love salted caramel, I don’t care who knows it, and I don’t think it can be over-exposed.

Last year, avocado toast was the shiny new thing.  But, I adore avocados, bread, and have eaten many sandwiches adorned with my squishy green friend.

My favorite foods are breakfast foods.  But, most of them are fatty, carby, fiber-less indulgences.  Toasts can easily be so nutritious that it redeems the whole plate.  Of course, it can also be just pure yum.  It all depends on the toast.

That’s the stuff. Arteries be damned!

Below are a few ideas for easy, quick, toast breakfasts that will fill your belly and quickly get you and the kids out the door in the AM.  Everything is completely adjustable—don’t like my bread recommendation?  Use a different type.

Classic Avocado- Mash a ripe avocado with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.  Add a bit of red pepper flake if you’re so inclined.  Smoosh on 2 pieces of toasted 9th St Bakery Omega 3 Seed.

And this is where Lavender and Honey’s toasts come in…

Lavender Goat Cheese-On two pieces of sunflower toast, spread goat cheese.  Sprinkle with a tiny bit of fresh lavender.  Top with freshly cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of honey.

Sourdough horseradish-Put some baby arugula on as a base.  Cover with a couple slices of crispy bacon, then top with horseradish jack cheese.  Put under a broiler to get nice and melty.

Child’s Play- Toast up a whole grain English muffin.  Top with Nutella and sliced bananas. 

Molto Bene-Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on toasted baguette. Place on top slices of the ripest, reddest tomato you can get your hands on.  Put under the broiler until it’s hot and a little bubbly.  Top with poached eggs and a bit of shaved Parmesan cheese or melted mozzerella.

Cherry Almond-On brioche or Challah toast, spread almond butter.  Warm a bit of cherry jam until it’s a little runny.  Drizzle onto almond butter, and sprinkle with toasted almond slivers, and a tiny bit of sea salt.

Greek Breakfast- Toast a pita.  Layer on a couple of thick slices of roasted chicken.  Top with Kalamata olives, feta, a spritz of lemon juice, and a little bit of fresh oregano.

Onion jam-Smear a couple tablespoons of herb Neufchâtel cheese onto a toasted rustic white.  On top spread some amber-colored caramelized onion.  Top with 1 piece crumbled bacon, and toasted sunflower seeds.

These ideas are just jumping off places.  Listen to your cravings and see what’s in your fridge.  No pressure.

Unless you’re dining with Oprah, breakfast should not make you break out into a cold sweat.


Please pass the jelly, Your Majesty.

Thanks for your time.