Breakfast in Maine

by Brenda Athanus
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bakedeggs.jpgMy ideal breakfast is baked eggs, a nice thick ham steak and wondrously high popovers, this is the food that makes Sunday mornings so special and different from the other 6 days. Sundays are the time to slowdown and reflect on your week and your loved ones in your non formal pajamas for hours.A nice and slow day...
When we were kids my Mother always made baked eggs, that is what she called them. The English like to call them shirred eggs, but the concept is exactly the same. Because it is a dish based in the 60’s we start with a Pyrex custard cup, you know the clear glass cups that hold 7 or 8 ounces, cups that were basic kitchen equipment before we all got so sophisticated.
Start by breaking two eggs into each of four heavily buttered custard cups, add heavy cream just shy of the rim, a knob of butter and salt and pepper. No stirring and don’t break the yolks, please!  Bake in a preheated 350°F oven, on a baking sheet, because they will overflow while cooking and Sundays are for relaxing not cleaning the oven. Bake for 20 minutes then let them relax for 5 minutes.
Here is a little trick that I do with ham steak, and don’t let anyone talk you out of one with a bone. Remember, meat always taste better with a bone, and that includes even ham steak! I melt a little butter in a heavy skillet, get it good and warm and pop my ham steak to heat gently and get some brown color. Just 5 or 10 minutes from the end of cooking add a good glug of maple syrup, I am talking about 1/3 to 1/2 cup and start turning the steak until it is gorgeously glazed and you can’t stand not eating it  immediately.
Now for the recipe for those fab popovers.  One more thing, off course you haven’t forgotten to take out your homemade  magical apricot jam, which by now is just screaming from your larder with the smells that are filling your Sunday kitchen. Open me, slather me on those popovers, please...
popover.jpgOkay, okay, the popovers are best made in a blender not a food processor, but it can be done just not as successfully (meaning they will not be as tall and we are aiming for real tall). Into the blender jar goes 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of ice cold milk, I prefer whole milk from a “good” farm, 2 fresh eggs, also from a “good” farm and 1/2 teaspoon salt, also from a “good” farm. Whiz mixture at high speed briefly and then take a spoon or spatula and push the unblended flour into the wet batter so it doesn’t lump and whiz again briefly. Pour into four heavily butter Pyrex dishes, fill the cups 3/4 full, put on baking tray, place in a COLD oven that is set to 400°F. Bake for 25 ish minutes until they look like they are the centerfold from Betty Crocker’s best cookbook. 
Set the table, get the flowers and candles, pour the juice, cut up some fruit and put on a platter, make coffee and tea, relax, put on some good music, and be thankful that Sara Palin didn’t barge into this special breakfast with her field dressed moose sausage that she made with a sausage attachment on her chain saw....


Brenda Athanus runs a small gourmet food shop in Belgrade Lakes, Maine with her sister Tanya called the Green Spot.

The Green Spot
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#1 laura grace 2008-09-22 06:58
We always had popovers on Christmas morning, with scrambled eggs and bacon. After present opening, of course! I like them with butter and honey.

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