birdie in the basket

April 28, 2014 § 107 Comments


We all have rituals in our lives we love and by nature make them happen.  Without a thought or plan these moments naturally fall into place.  It is a recurring event permanently marked on our minds daily calendar.  My dearest ritual is dinnertime.  Every evening we gather around our table to sit down, share a meal together and nourish ourselves.   This tradition has become such a valued part of our lives. The conversation flows naturally and we are able to slow down and breathe.  And gathering around the table on the weekends for breakfast, unhurried and fresh, is a different sort of gathering altogether.  A perfect start to a day of chores, leisure and a nice bike ride.


Here is a lovely way to turn an ordinary hash brown and egg breakfast into impressive single serving entrée.  The hash browns are first cooked in a skillet until browned and crisp then divided between the muffin cups.  After a sprinkling of cheese an egg is cracked on top and finished off with a a sliced cherry tomato, a dollop of pesto and baked for 20 – 30 minutes.


Recipe from Better Homes and Garden.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 2 russet potatoes, washed peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite cheese to pair with baked eggs – I used a balsamic Bellavitano cheese
  • handful of basil or cilantro
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper

M e t h o d

Hash Brown Potatoes

Peel and coarsely shred potatoes. Place potatoes in a large bowl; add enough water to cover potatoes. Stir well. Drain in a colander set over the sink. Repeat rinsing and draining two or three times until water runs clear. Drain again, pressing out as much water as you can with a rubber spatula. Line a salad spinner with paper towels; add potatoes and spin. Repeat, if necessary, until potatoes are dry. If you do not own a salad spinner you may use a kitchen towel and wring out your potatoes.  You want your potatoes to be as dry as possible.  The hash browns will steam rather than brown if too much water is on them.  Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to combine.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter foams. Add potatoes to the skillet, spreading into an even layer. Gently press with the back of a spatula to form a cake. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, without stirring, about 12 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown and crisp.
Invert a plate over the top of the skillet. Carefully turn the skillet over to transfer the potatoes onto the plate. If needed, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Using the plate, slide the potatoes back into the skillet, uncooked side down. Cook about 8 minutes more or until the bottom is golden brown.  Let hash browns stand about 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

While the hash browns are cooking prepare your pesto.

Since it is morning time I chose not to use garlic in our pesto.  If you would like the flavor of garlic add one small clove to this mix.

Place a large handful of your choice of herbs (cilantro or pesto) into your food processor or blender with 1/4 cup olive oil, walnuts and parmesan cheese and whizz until well blended.  Set aside.

Assembling the birdie baskets

Once you are able to handle the hash brown…

Divide hash browns between muffin cups, pressing hash browns into the bottoms and up the sides of the cups.  Add a sprinkling cheese among hash-brown-lined cups. Crack an egg into each cup.  Top each cup with 1 teaspoon of the pesto and two of the tomato halves. Bake for 20 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are thickened. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. Carefully remove from the muffin cups.



asparagus and potato frittata

November 19, 2013 § 57 Comments

With only two breakfast posts on this blog (dutch baby! and finnish strawberry pancake) I decided to post some of our favorite weekend morning meals.  I had asparagus in the refrigerator, however,  as you can imagine just about any vegetable may be used.  Keep in mind this recipe is for a very large frittata, enough to serve six people.   Good choice if you are expecting guests for breakfast during the holidays…


  • 3 russet potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups stock of your choice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bundle of asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1 inch length
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the potatoes and broth in a large ovenproof skillet. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until almost all of the stock has evaporated and the potatoes are tender.

Add olive oil, asparagus and onion to the potatoes and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, turning to to coat well with oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan, cook for 3 to 4 more minutes, or until the asparagus has become tender.

Turn on your broiler…

Beat eggs with half the parmesan, a little salt and pepper and pour it over the vegetables. Cover and cook over medium until the eggs stiffen on the bottom.  Sprinkle remaining parmesan over frittata and place under the broiler.  Keep an eye on it and remove when the top is golden and the eggs are set throughout, approximately 5 minutes.

Let cool slightly before slicing.

cherry yogurt cake

August 28, 2013 § 68 Comments

Here is a lovely breakfast cake which could be made with just about any fruit.  I happen to have a nice bunch of cherries in the refrigerator and thought of making either a bread or cake for breakfast.  When it comes to sweets I tend to keep it very simple.  And in my usual “less ingredients is best” here’s what I came up with.


c h e r r y    y o g u r t    c a k e

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 1 cup fresh cherries,  pitted and halved


M e t h o d

Preheat oven to 350°F  Prepare a cake pan.

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs,  mix well.   Mix in flour and yogurt.  Spread mixture into your greased cake pan.  Sprinkle cherries on the top and then pat them down gently with your hand.   Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

dutch baby!

August 21, 2013 § 76 Comments


Several months ago a friend of mine introduced me to the idea of dutch babies and by her description I knew I had to seek out a recipe and make one.   Dutch baby also known as a German pancake, a Bismarck, or a Dutch puff is a pillowy crispy edged baked custard delight.  The first time I made one I gasped in sheer delight when I opened the oven and found a wonderfully brown puffy cake so beautiful and aromatic.  After reading this post from Sarah’s blog holdsworthandwalter I was inspired to not only make her triple berry oven pancakes (using peaches) that morning, but to make my dutch baby the following morning.


In my wiki search I discovered “Dutch babies were introduced in the first half of the 1900s at Manca’s Cafe, a family-run restaurant that was located in Seattle, Washington and that was owned by Victor Manca.  While these pancakes are derived from the German pancake dish, it is said that the name Dutch baby was coined by one of Victor Manca’s daughters. In 1942, Manca’s Cafe owned the trademark for Dutch babies, although the cafe later closed in the 1950s”.   A nice bit of “local” Seattle food history.


Served with fresh fruit and a dusting of confectioners sugar.  Also delightful with warm maple syrup or a drizzle of fresh lemon juice and dusting of confectioners sugar.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 tablespoon is for the baking dish)
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • warm pure maple syrup
  • sprinkling of confectioners sugar
  • fresh fruit, if desired

M e t h o d
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place 1 tablespoon butter in your baking dish and set aside.  Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and using a hand mixer beat on medium speed until mixed.  Add the milk and combine.  Slowly add the flour, vanilla, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and the salt and mix just until smooth.

Place your baking dish in the oven for a couple of minutes, until the butter is hot and bubbly. Make sure the butter covers the bottom of each dish.  Pour in your batter and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned.

Serves 2.

crispy sage

August 5, 2013 § 48 Comments

The herbal, salty crunch of crispy sage is a perfect accompaniment to creamy soups, risottos, eggs, pan fried potatoes and polenta.  It is a good idea to make extra because you will be eating them right off the paper towel.  And they only take a few minutes to prepare.


m e t h o d

Gather as many large fresh sage leaves as you can.  Rinse and pat them dry.  Pour enough olive oil to cover  the bottom of non stick skillet and turn the heat to medium high.  Drop the leaves in and allow to sizzle until brown, turn them over with wooden tongs, sizzle and brown the other side.  When crispy remove them from the skillet onto paper towels and lightly salt each one.


pan fried potatoes with crispy sage

finnish strawberry pancake

July 3, 2013 § 45 Comments

After rising early last week I sat down with a cup of coffee and started reading the latest posts on my favorite blogs.  I found this marvelous breakfast recipe from thethankfulheart.  Having all the ingredients on hand I stood up and made Rhonda’s finnish pancakes. Right then and there, I made it and it was out of this world.  Rhonda used raspberries in her pancake and I only had strawberries.  However, I am certain these finnish pancakes are wonderful whatever fruit is used.  I imagine peaches a little later in the season.


You know this is good when you leave it on the stove with one piece missing only to come back an hour later and it was gone!  Yes, the 15 year old of the house got ahold of it!  He said he couldn’t stop eating it after pouring pure maple syrup on top.

Here is the recipe exactly how Rhonda posted it.  However, I know you would enjoy a visit to her blog.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tab. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 oz. box of raspberries [or in this case, strawberries](about a cup)
  • 1/4 cup sugar

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar and salt.  Then whisk in the milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla.  Pour is it all into a 10″ baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the raspberries and sugar on top and pop it into a 400 even for 45 minutes until it’s puffy and nicely browned.

company eggs for dinner

May 1, 2013 § 22 Comments

When I was a little girl I remember having a good laugh with my mom over our neighbor’s salad spinning technique.  After washing her lettuce she would put it in a pillow case, take it outside and spin it around and around like a propellor.  The water would spin off brilliantly!  She would spin a few times, stop, shake the lettuce a little, then spin again until she had perfectly clean, dry lettuce.   It was a comical site to see.  When I grew up I purchased a really spiffy salad spinner.  I used it, however, it took up an enormous amount of space in my small kitchen.  One day, by accident, I dropped the spinner and the bowl cracked in half.  Left without a choice that evening I turned to the pillow case spinning.  I was stunned.  It worked beautifully.  I was laughing as I spun and spun.  Needless to say, I did not replace my salad spinner.  I have a pillow case in my kitchen towel drawer specifically for my greens.  You may want to try it for the swiss chard in this recipe…

The other day I opened up the latest issue of Bon Appetite magazine and saw a beautifully photographed baked swiss chard and egg recipe.   I have been seeing a lot of gloriously baked dinners with eggs on top.  Loving eggs as we do in our family, I have been cracking them on top of thick creamy soups, baking them on pizzas and now….casseroles.   This is not your usual company egg recipe.  The company egg recipes I have read are more like a frittata; scrambled eggs combined with cheese and  mixed with other ingredients, then baked until firm.   Swiss chard is abundantly in season right now and suddenly I knew what we were going to have for dinner that night.


When I stopped at the market to buy the swiss chard,  I picked up a delightful aged white cheddar.  I imagine a typical cheddar would be fine in this recipe, however, the flavor of this mature cheddar was extraordinary.   When I make this recipe again I will use 4 bunches of swiss chard.  I felt the “bed” the eggs laid on was a little thin.  The original recipe used 12 eggs.  With three of us around our table I only used 4 eggs.  Add more according to your appetite and number of gathered guests.   I used half and half instead of heavy cream, only because that is what I had in the refrigerator.  I served our company eggs with warm naan and roasted beets topped with garden fresh chives.



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • sprinkling of sea salt and pepper
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, thick center ribs and stems removed, washed, dried and coarsely chopped (about 12 cups)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 ounces aged white cheddar, grated (about 1/2 cup)


Preheat oven to 400°. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes.  Add chard to the skillet by the handful, tossing to wilt between additions. Cook until tender, 5-8 minutes. Add half and half, simmer until thickened and almost evaporated.  Place your chard mixture evenly in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, make evenly spaced divots in the chard mixture. Crack 1 egg into each divot. Season eggs with salt and pepper. Sprinkle your cheddar all over.  Bake, rotating dish once, until egg whites are almost set and yolks are still a bit runny, 15-18 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving while the eggs set.

Served 3

buon appetite.

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