"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

Posts from the Breakfast Category

Sweet, salty, crunchy, gooey, toasty, buttery, sticky, porky, beefy, cheesy: you can have all of these flavors and textures at once if you like when you have breakfast.  And what’s not to like?  Forget a rushed bowl of cereal and come to the diner with us.

A toasted bagel with lox is one of the most impeccably balanced food combinations. Make sure you start with a good bagel and lox or smoked salmon, and have the appropriate condiments when assembling one: fresh dill, cream cheese, capers, red onions, and lemon wedges.

Steak and eggs, if you’re feeling like extra-ravenous! Pick a quick-cooking steak like strip, flat iron, hanger, or skirt. Allow to meat to come to room temperature (pull it out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking). Pat the meat dry with paper towels, season it generously with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides.  Head 2 teaspoons vegetable in a large skillet over high heat and add the steak to the pan when it starts to smoke. Add the steak and cook it for 1 to 2 minutes, then turn it and let it cook on the opposite side for about 30 seconds. Continue flipping the steak for 4 to 6 minutes total for medium-rare, longer if you prefer it more done.

For the seasoned potatoes seen alongside, get ready to raid your pantry. To serve 2, scrub 2 russet potatoes and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Place them in a medium saucepan, add 1 tablespoon salt, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and boil the potatoes until they’re fork tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let them stand to dry out for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, and 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and season them generously with the spice mixture. Cook, shaking the pan and tossing the potatoes occasionally until they’re golden and crisp. Season with salt to taste.

Pancakes. From the box to greatgrandma’s recipe, I’ve griddled it all, but this recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook is the one that I keep coming back to. They’re buttery and light and so delicious you might even pass on the syrup.


Makes about 8 pancakes

1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon vegetable oil
1 stick (4 ounces / 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

– Whisk together milk, eggs, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium bowl, then whisk in the butter. Stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in another medium bowl. Whisk in egg mixture until just combined. Heat ½ teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet* over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, pour 1/3 cup measures of batter into the skillet and cook until bubbles have formed on the top and broken, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes with a spatula and cook until undersides are golden, 1 to 2 minutes more.

-Serve with maple syrup. Keep pancakes warm in a preheated 200°F oven on a baking sheet if you want to make all of them and serve at once. I much prefer using an electric griddle to make pancakes. It makes for more even ones, and also, if you’re the cook, you get to eat with your crowd and not alone at the very end of the meal!

Diner DeluxeThese waffles have a bit of crunch with the addition of cornmeal. I call for 1 stick of butter, but you can add up to 2 of them: the more butter in the batter, the crispier the waffle. Keep the waffles warm in a preheated 200°F oven directly on the racks while you make the rest. Freeze the leftovers for a weekday breakfast.


Makes 4

 Whisk together in a large bowl:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup medium grind yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Whisk together in another bowl:
3 large eggs
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ cups milk

– Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ones. Gently whisk them together with a few swift strokes. Cook waffles according to your griddle’s instructions and serve with butter and syrup or fruit syrup.

Fried eggs seem to be a mystery to many, but they’re really very easy to make. Heat a tablespoon of butter in a medium nonstick skillet. Once melted, crack in an egg or 2 and season them with salt and pepper. Cook the eggs until the egg whites are opaque and set and the yolk — well, if you like a runny egg, serve it when the whites are done, but if you prefer a firm one, let them cook a while longer, until you start to see the yolks firm up.

Juicing may be trending, but we’re more interested in things that taste good and are good for you. Our green juice is packed with kale, celery, green apples, parsley, ginger, and the occasional beet or carrot. You can include other greens (sometimes I add a piece of cabbage) and fruits like lemons. A juicer is the easiest (well, aside from the tedious clean-up duties the machines need) way to go since its powerful motor and blades chew threw fruits and vegetables in a snap, but, a good blender will do. If using a blender, cut the ingredients into small pieces and strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve, a mesh nut milk bag, or several layers of cheesecloth to sort out fiber and unprocessed bits.

And now, the pièce de resistance! This is my very favorite breakfast on the go shake. It’s basically a cold take on the basic oatmeal and fruit bowl. This shake is healthy, keeps you full for hours, and tastes absolutely delicious. Here’s the recipe:


Makes 1

½ cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons salted and roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seeds (optional)
1 banana, peeled and broken into chunks
1 cup almond, cashew, or dairy milk
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
½ cup ice cubes
– Pulse the oats and the peanuts in a blender until powdery. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the drink is smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Our bodies are about half water, making us, essentially, land-friendly fish. Makes you think, right? Those 8 glasses of water a day are a must, but we like to give them a little more oomph. Delicately flavored and iced waters are livelier, lovelier, and more refreshing than plain Jane tap. A few of our standards are watermelon cubes and fresh mint sprigs, cucumber and lime slices, lemon rounds and green apple slices, and mint tea. The construction is not difficult: ice, the fruits, vegetables, or herbs you prefer, and cold water. Stir gently and allow to chill thoroughly. Another cool suggestion: add iced coffee to your fridge and morning routine, and for an extra wake-me-up, a swipe of chilly toner on your face is a must-try.


Cheeses for Bruschetta


“Bigger is better!” is a creed that in our modern American food lexicon translates into super-sized meals and foods that have morphed into concoctions worthy of sci-fi. Ever curious about culinary innovation  hungry eyes and minds and mouths sometimes mislead us and feed us disastrous concoctions.

We are guilty of eating out a lot: sometimes it’s convenient, other times it’s because we’re running around for work, and most often because restaurants are where we meet with friends, celebrate, and relax. Don’t get us wrong, we love it! We’re so lucky to live in New York where restaurant choices are unlimited, but, after stuffing ourselves to the point of waistband button explosion, we return to our kitchens and scale back to the basics: meals made with local and seasonal items, cooked without much fuss and fanfare.

Ripe tomatoes, plump strawberries, slender asparagus, and herbs from the garden are a good place to start. Douse thick slices of  good bread with peppery olive oil and grill until charred: the exterior will crunch between your teeth, and the sturdy crumb will soak up the berry and tomato juices.

You can top your bruschetta with whatever you like, just remember to mind the basics: Start with the freshest and ripest produce, bread that has a thick crust and a dense crumb, quality extra-virgin olive oil, flaky sea salt, and just-ground black pepper. If adding cheeses, go for full fat and have a variety on hand, like mozzarella, spreadable mascarpone, and crumbly Parmigiano.

Tell us what you top your bruschetta with!

Breakfast All Day

Planes, trains, automobiles. We were far and away this summer; now we return home to New York’s hustle and flow. Cabs merge into traffic, we get swept along: this is The Routine.

The madcap ballet of the subway, a complicated dance: we lock eyes with those odd sweatpants declaring “my fête is my life!” and that shade of lipstick that must be Crayola carnation. Jaggedly up-tempo, the clanks and clatters make a cacophonous city symphony.

Then, suddenly, calm.

Swimming upstream but recognizing the current: The Routine.

Back on the sidewalks we go, walking to favorite shops for smoked trout and translucent orange caviar bubbles. No poetry in these simple foods: fish, bread, butter, eggs, citrus, and coffee, but none is needed.

Prose and Our Routine.

*Smoked trout from one of our very favorite shops, Russ and Daughters


BLT Tart

Brunch is my absolute favorite meal of the day, and I think Tara will concur. I love to eat sweet and savory at the same time, and with the exception of some Asian cuisines, most of the meals I have sternly progress from savory courses to sweet ones. I’m one of those people who salts their chocolate and eats a handful of salt-and-vinegar potato chips after polishing off a sundae. Which is why brunch is perfect: have some eggs right alongside sausage and a pool of maple syrup. And a spicy bloody Mary.

This tart is a perfect brunch dish, combining eggs, bacon, greens, and starch. The sweetness here comes in the form of a tomato jam, sweetened with brown sugar and balanced with Worcestershire sauce, shallots, and lemon juice. It’s ketchup-like, but thick and rich. And yes, I do eat scrambled eggs with ketchup sometimes.

You can use San Marzano plum tomatoes here, but, if you paid attention, Tara canned some tomatoes last summer and they were all ready for us when it came time to make this tart.

A note on the recipe:  The crust recipe that follows may seem daunting because it is word-heavy, but it is actually easier than it looks. Some patience is required, as there are resting periods following each handling of the crust, but it makes all the difference in the results. Many people I know are terrified of baking, pie and tart dough especially, but practice does make perfect. Try this recipe – adapted from the kitchens at the International Culinary Center – I’ve been using it since my culinary school days and it’s still my go-to for its ease of preparation, easy handling, and constant results.

BLT Tart

BLT Tart


Serves 6

1 blind-baked pie crust, homemade (Recipe follows) or store-bought

8 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into thin slices
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, liquid discarded
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Aleppo pepper
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar or Gruyère cheese
1 ½ cups packed arugula

– Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

– Cook bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden. With a slotted spoon, transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Transfer 3 tablespoons rendered fat to a large saucepan. When cooled, discard the remaining fat or store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for other use (such as frying eggs).

– Heat bacon fat over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, sugar, Worcestershire, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, mashing tomatoes and stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are darkened in color and thickened to a jam-like consistency, 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as necessary and remove from heat.

– Beat the eggs, cream, and cheddar together in medium bowl. Stir in arugula and bacon. Pour mixture into pie crust, then spoon tomato mixture evenly throughout tart. Bake until egg mixture is set, and wobbles only slightly in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature, about 20  minutes, prior to serving.

For the Crust
For best results, use a scale to measure out ingredients.

200 grams/7 ounces (about 1 ½ scant cups) all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting work surface
½ teaspoon salt
100 grams/3.5 ounces (about 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices and chilled
1 large egg, chilled and beaten
Ice water, as needed

– Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Using two dinner knives, cut the butter into the flour until butter is about the size of peas. Alternatively, work the butter into the flour by quickly pressing one piece at a time between thumb and forefinger. Work quickly to avoid melting the butter, which will result in a tough crust.

– Transfer the flour-butter mixture to a clean, dry work surface. Arrange the mixture into a circle, create a well in the middle, and pour in the egg and about 2 teaspoons ice water. Using a bench scraper, quickly cut the wet ingredients into the dry until it turns into a shaggy dough. If dough is very dry, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time.

– With floured hands, bring the dough together. Pinch off 2-inch pieces and drag them on the work surface with your palm to ensure even distribution of butter. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disc about 2 inches thick, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

– Clean and dry the work surface, then dust with flour. Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin, working from the center of the dough to the edges, into a 10-inch circle. Gently fold the dough and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan or tart pan with removable bottom. Press the dough into the pan, then dock (or prick) with a fork. Crimp the edges or trim off excess. Freeze for 20 minutes.

– Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line chilled dough with crumpled parchment paper, allowing some excess to hang over edges. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 8 minutes, then, remove the parchment and weights and continue blind baking for about 5 minutes or until the dough looks dry and opaque but not beginning to brown. Transfer tart to cooling rack and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Homemade Granola & Yogurt

All the chubby-cheeked cupids, bows-and-arrows, and glittery cards screeching out love songs are a bit much for me…and don’t even get me started on heart-shaped bakeware. Perhaps years of being the only girl who didn’t get bouquets of flowers or “Be Mine”-inscribed sugar hearts made me wary of Valentine’s Day, but I’ll be a good sport this year, especially because it involves larger-than-life scones that are also cinnamon rolls (a genius recipe from Tate’s) and eating in bed.  Treat your better half — or yourself — on Valentine’s Day, or any other day for that matter.

Recipe note: Prepare the dough for the scones up to 1 day in advance and keep them refrigerated and wrapped in plastic. Bake the following day.


Makes about 5 cups

½ cup honey

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons finely grated zest plus 1/3 cup juice from 2 oranges

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups whole rolled oats

1 cup walnuts or hazelnuts, chopped

¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup fresh rosemary, chopped

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

Whisk together honey, oil, orange juice, and salt in liquid measuring cup. Using hands, combine oats, nuts, and coconut in rimmed baking sheet. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and use hands or rubber spatula to thoroughly combine. Spread out into even layer.

Bake 20 minutes, then stir in orange zest and rosemary. Continue baking until golden and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month, or frozen for up to 2 months. Bring frozen granola to room temperature prior to serving, or quickly warm through by toasting desired amount in a dry skillet over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve atop yogurt.


Serves 4

This quick jam is a prefect complement to the Orange-Rosemary Granola. Prepare it up to 1 day in advance.

2 cups fresh blackberries

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

Pinch salt

Combine 1 cup blackberries, sugar, water, and salt in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring and smashing berries with wooden spoon, until mixture is thick and jam-like, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 cup blackberries. Cool to room temperature and serve with yogurt and granola.

Breakfast in Bed

We love Tate’s crunchy, buttery cookies, and when we got the opportunity to cook and shoot a few things from their inspired creator, we jumped at the chance. These Maple, Bacon, and Date Scones and extravagant Cinnamon Swirl Scones are perfect for spoiling your significant other – or yourself.

The following recipes are from Baking for Friends by Kathleen King, creator and owner of Tate’s Bake Shop

Maple, Bacon, and Date Scones

Makes 16 scones

1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) cold salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 ½ cups pitted and chopped dates

12 ounces sliced bacon, cut into ½-inch-wide pieces, cooked until crisp, drained, and cooled

1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Grade B pure maple syrup

1 large egg

1 tablespoons Demerara or other raw sugar

Position oven racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

To make the scones: In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat and all-purpose flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly with some pea-sized pieces of butter. Add the dates and toss to coat with the flour mixture. Repeat with the bacon. Whisk the buttermilk and 1/3 cup of maple syrup together in a measuring cup. Pour into the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Do not overmix.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times. Roll out into a 1-inch-thick round. Using a 2 ½-inch round cookie cutter, pressing firmly to cut through the dates, cut out the scones as close together as possible to avoid excess scraps. Arrange at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Gently press the scraps together roll out again, and cut more scones.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup.  Brush the tops of the scones lightly with the egg mixture and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.

Bake, switching the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the scones are golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Let cool on the pans for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Cinnamon Swirl Buns

Cinnamon Swirl Scones

Makes 12 rolls


8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature

½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold salted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 cup dark raisins

1 ¾ cups half-and-half


½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water

Position oven racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

To make the filling: In a small bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until smooth.

To make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly with some pea-sized pieces of butter. Do not overmix. Mix in the raisins. Stir in the half-and-half and mix just until the ingredients are moistened.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 17-by-12-inch rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over the top of the dough, leaving a ½-inch border on all four sides. Starting at the long side, tightly roll the dough up into a log. Cut the dough into 2-inch slices and arrange them, cut sides up, 4 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, switching the positions of the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking, until the rolls are slightly golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on the pans for 10 minutes.

To make the icing: In a small bowl, mix the confectioners’ sugar and water with a fork until smooth. Drizzle over the buns. Serve warm, or let cool to room temperature.

On mornings when we’re not making a mad dash to head out the door to work, real breakfast, rather than the perfunctory, unevenly buttered piece of toast and only half-drunk cup of coffee, is in order. Fluffy biscuits and scrambled eggs, crisp waffles drenched in syrup, savory sausage links and a stack of pancakes…or today’s specials: egg-in-a-hole and Dutch Baby.

The egg-in-a-hole is a simple construction: trim out a round from a slice of bread, gently crack an egg into it, and cook in plenty of butter until the bread is golden brown and the egg has set. We used a thick piece of buttery brioche loaf and opted for a duck egg; its large sunny yolk is velvety and rich and perfect for dunking that round brioche bit into.

The big showstopper in this post and at any breakfast is the Dutch Baby, an oven-baked pancake that’s all crisp mounds and burnished ridges. If you’ve never made one, do stay close to the oven and flip the light on so you can see the batter heave and huff in a scorching hot skillet and go from liquid pool to impressive puff. The recipe that follows is actually one I (Maria) developed while working at Cook’s Country Magazine. I must have made at least 50 of them during the process, so rest assured this a tried and true formula. Though you can make the baby in a large skillet, I recommend using the cast iron skillet; it’s straight, rather than curved sides, and capacity to hold heat, make for blue ribbon results.


Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups skim milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 pint fresh blueberries or other fresh berry

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Brush bottom and sides of large cast iron skillet with oil. Place in oven and allow to heat for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, lemon zest, and salt in large bowl. In second bowl, whisk eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla. Slowly whisk in wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Open oven, slightly pull out oven rack with skillet, and pour in batter. Bake until pancake is puffed, golden, and crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer skillet to cooling rack and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately with berries.


Makes 1 serving

4 tablespoons butter
1 slice brioche loaf
1 duck egg
Salt and pepper

With a biscuit cutter or kitchen shears, cut out a 2-inch round from the center of the bread slice. Brush both sides of bread and cut-out with 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Melt remaining butter in skillet over medium heat. Place bread in center of skillet and cut-out alongside.

Crack duck egg into hole and season with salt and pepper. Once egg white begins to turn opaque and set, flip bread over with spatula and continue cooking until done, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve immediately.


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