Thanksgiving breakfast gets short shrift in our world but it doesn’t mean it should. I mean, people are hungry on Thanksgiving morning, aren’t they? Or is it just a sad human bean thing to hold on for hours on holidays with nothing but coffee sloshing around in our tummies until mid-afternoon feasting? Surely we don’t need huge egg and cheese casseroles or piles of pumpkin pancakes with butter, syrup, and pork sausages (or maybe we do), but a small something like a perfectly perfecto muffin would, I think, go over a treat. Ginger Cranberry-Blueberry Muffins, based on my best blueberry muffin, can be prepped the night before by kids (or adults) — see below MUFFIN TIPS — and quickly baked long before it’s time to slide the pies, rolls, and your sweet turkey bird into the hot oven. If you’re the planning sort, they could be baked and frozen this weekend and taken out to thaw on the counter next to the big butter dish and a pile of cute napkins on Wednesday night. A little Greek yogurt with a honey drizzle would round out such a simple meal and, I think, keep you from dreaded coffee tummy. I mean, who wants that?
Just in case you want choices, I’ll include a few other muffins for you.
When I told one of my besties, Sue Hall, about this recipe and sent her a first photo, she said, “And so where in the h-e-double hockey sticks are you getting wild goose?” I said, “I have someone shoot them for me.” “Of course you do,” said she.
There really is a song,“If I Knew You Were Coming, I’d Have Baked a Cake,” and somewhere in my stacks, I even have the music for it. This chocolate cheesecake, which can be made gluten-free (Double Chocolate with a nut crust) or not (Triple Chocolate with a chocolate wafer cookie crust), is without a doubt the cake you’d bake were someone ultra-special about to knock on your door. The wonderful original recipe by well-known baker and writer Abigail Johnson Dodge (author of the fun new book SHEET CAKE) is one I found in FINE COOKING magazine — or on its website–a number of years ago. (The famous site is no longer available, more’s the pity, though another site does have the recipe. See TIPS below.) I’d make it for one person’s birthday and someone else would say, “Can I have that cake for my birthday?!” Or I’d carry it to a dinner party only for the host to pull me to the side and whisper in my ear, “I’d really love that recipe!” It’s just that kind of cake. Everyone craves it, especially chocolate lovers. Even fine fruit folk (my apple and cherry pie people) have been known to ask for an extra slice to take home.
No matter how old you are, you probably have a memory of eating pizza for breakfast. While I no longer indulge in such juvenile adventures, I remember them vividly. They began during college (little pizza in my childhood as my parents thought it was junk food) when waking too late to make it to dining hall breakfast, we’d grab now-stiff slices out of a cardboard box and shove them down our throats as we ran or biked to class with little hope of making it on time. (Was there alcohol involved? Well. We’re talking college.) Years later, I won’t say I never repeated the scenario after getting my own kids off to school and running for the car to get to my own teaching or library job. My kids would not have been happy at my snarfing down their favorite leftovers with little thought. Somehow I don’t remember it ever coming up, but I’ll bet it did.
Today’s recipe and post does away with the need for such disgusting (ok, fun) breakfasts because I’m here to sell you on my newest morning recipe deal. And cold it ain’t. Casserole, strata, egg bake, brunch dish, whatever you want to call it. You might be like me and have a favorite egg casserole you’ve been making for years and, if you do, good on you. Keep making it; everyone loves it. But just once, give this new very pizza-ish oh-so-crispy version a chance. I promise you’ll be glad you did. It is the stuff of many pleasurable brunches to come.
Christmas breakfast should be, without a doubt, nearly carefree. That being said, it must also be delectable, desirable, and delightful all the while taking care of itself while you open gifts, listen to A CHRISTMAS CAROL, or zoom with the family or friends. Egg breakfast or brunch casseroles — also known as stratas — fit the bill perfectly and are endlessly adaptable to ingredients on hand. This bacon (ham? sausage? veggie crumbles? chorizo?) version topped with brightly colored chopped peppers (mushrooms? tomatoes? jalapeños? zucchini? fennel?) provides six or eight servings but is also perfect for a smaller group who also might enjoy leftovers. That would be us. Though we are rarely at home alone for Christmas, we are this year as are many people all over the world. We’ll make our brunch dish a day ahead, of course, bake it on Christmas morning, and enjoy it over the whole weekend. We might even freeze a couple of pieces for an easy weekend brunch in January.
Serving one? Halve the recipe, which works perfect in an 8 or 9-inch square casserole dish. Relish for a couple of days, share, or freeze.
When you invite someone to go to “The Nutcracker,” it goes without saying it’ll be one of the events of the season complete with everyone dressed in their best holiday duds and ready for a yummy tea or fancy dinner before or after. It’s a special occasion and worth every bit of the extra effort it takes to get little girls’ hair tied up with ribbons or talking the teenager into some shoes besides banged up sneakers or clunker boots — even if you’re watching from the comfort of your own couch this year:
Bright, briny, and brilliantly bolstered with happy heat, Pasta Puttanesca is a favorite amongst cooks short on time and big on hunger. Garlicky tomatoes, onions, salty anchovies, olives and capers, along with herbs and a little wine for good measure, all come together quickly in a hot pot and are typically ladled on top of a bowl of steaming pasta topped with grated cheese and fresh parsley or basil. If you’ve made the sauce and had a little leftover in the fridge, you know it’s also good next morning on grilled bread or scrambled eggs or even just cold in your spoon.
While Christmas seems so very far away now, it’s definitely not if you’re a traditional observer. Today is the 6th day of Christmas — as in 6 Geese A-Laying, right?
The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day). The four weeks preceding Christmas are collectively known as Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24.
Crud. I’ve had the crud. Dave, too. Days and days of nasty, head cold life–luckily not much else like sore throats or tummy troubles. Unable to navigate further than the kitchen, we summoned up pots of my easiest chicken soups, ordered pizza when the soup was gone, and watched as many Christmas movies as two people could handle in what ended up to be more than a week. In between, there was a snow storm that left us with several inches in the drive and on the walkways but with luckily no power outages. That meant a few gorgeous fires in the fireplace to cheer us up.