Breakfast

coffee.jpgIt’s 4 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, and like any well-adjusted twentysomething, I’m eating breakfast.  More specifically, I’m having brioche french toast and cappuccino at the Little Next Door on 3rd with my friend Gloria.  After living in LA for six months, I have determined that breakfast in the afternoon is exactly the sort of reckless behavior Sundays demand.

Typically in New York, Sundays amounted to consumption of greasy brunch complemented by mimosas and black coffee.  Following brunch was an inevitable headache, followed by more consumption in the form of excessive window-shopping, followed by an indulgent nap upon what appeared to be a laundry pile, but was in fact my bed.

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I read “Look Homeward, Angel” by Thomas Wolfe the summer I worked as a busboy in a Catskill Hotel. His hero Eugene Gant was a lover of the morning meal but I had to help serve it.

blintzes2.jpgGetting up at six in the morning for the breakfast shift was hell made worse by sharing a room with medical student waiters who were all too willing to roll you out of your bunk and drag you into a cold shower. If you were lucky enough to escape you took a ‘waiter’s bath’: generous helpings of Old Spice; like French nobility at Versailles we stunk under a layer of perfume.

Breakfast in the Catskills was bountiful. If the hotel was kosher it combined the menu of a Second Avenue dairy restaurant with the display case of a King’s Highway Brooklyn bakery. Juices, fruits, sour cream, cottage pot and farmer cheese, blintzes, all manner of eggs, cereals hot and cold, lox, herring in cream or wine sauce, smoked whitefish, cod and kippers. Fresh baked onion rolls, poppy seed rolls, caraway crescents, fruit Danishes, coffee cakes, and last night’s left over strudel.  If the hotel wasn’t Kosher – and the one I worked in wasn’t – then there was the gift of the forbidden animal; bacon and ham.

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From the LA Times

dutchbabyI could tell you I love them because they're so easy to make — who doesn't love a dish that comes together in less than half an hour? Or I could say it's because of their delicate texture and flavor — light and airy, but rich and almost nutty to the taste, it's like biting into a delicious cloud.

But honestly? The reason I love these pancakes is because of the way they puff in the oven. They're downright fun to watch.

Call them what you will — Dutch babies, German pancakes, Dutch puffs — they're all about the souffle factor. They're kind of like Yorkshire puddings or popovers, but supersized. Mix together a few ingredients and pour the batter into a hot buttered skillet, then put it in the oven and watch it swell. In minutes, these babies may puff to more than five times their original size.

It's magical. Serve them quickly; like a souffle, the magic begins to deflate once they're out of the oven.

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pancake-stack.jpg Once upon a time, when my future husband and I had just started dating, he called me one Saturday morning to see what I was up to. I was in the car with my friend Phoebe and a trunk full of laundry.

“We’re going to Michael Green’s for breakfast,” I said. I had him on my Reagan-era car phone, which had a curly cord and a speakerphone, which may as well have been a tin can attached to a length of string.

Peter thought about this for a moment. “Is that a restaurant or a person’s house?” he asked.

 

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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.

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