Monthly Archives: May 2009

Breakfast in Bed

I don’t make pancakes. I always want a tall stack, but I fall short each time I try to make them. Diners, Denny’s, and IHOPs around the country are responsible for my ever having a pancake. I just can’t flip. My last attempt put me in a murderous rage, and all I had to show was a lousy pile of amoeba-shaped cakes.

I do make waffles, though. My mom gave me a two-waffle iron a few years ago and I use it frequently. Plain waffles, whole wheat waffles, cornmeal waffles. Blueberry syrup, hot buttered maple syrup and pecans, fresh fruit and powdered sugar. For a new twist on the sweet standards, I snuck in smoked cheddar. Go ahead, it’s a holiday – a perfect excuse to have breakfast in bed.


Makes 8 waffles
Special equipment: Waffle iron

For the Waffles:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 ounces smoked gouda or cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
1 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 stick butter, melted and slightly cooled

-Preheat oven to 200˚F. Have a baking sheet on hand. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions.

– In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cheese. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and butter.  Pour egg mixture into flour mixture, and with a few strokes, whisk just until ingredients are combined.

– Pour batter into waffle iron and cook according to waffle iron manufacturer’s instructions. Place waffles on baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining batter.

For the Eggs:
Serves 2

5 large eggs
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Salt and pepper
3 slices Black Forest ham, chopped

– Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Whisk in chives and season with salt and pepper.

– Melt butter over medium heat in small nonstick skillet. Add ham and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Pour in eggs and stir constantly until cooked through. Serve with waffles.

Meat & Potatoes

Meat and potatoes: poetic or prosaic? The words themselves sound clunky, stodgy, lacking in glitz. Often, “meat and potatoes” are used to describe down-to-earth, hard-working folks. But, isn’t that sturdy reliability what we sometimes crave at the end of the day? After eight-plus hours of being micromanaged, belittled, and mocked, you need an honest plateful.

Serves 2 (expect leftovers)

For the Potato Salad:

1 ½ pounds red bliss potatoes, scrubbed
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
3 scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained and finely chopped

For the Steak:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 steaks of your choice (sirloin steak tips featured in photo)
Salt and pepper
Worcestershire sauce

– Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Cut potatoes in half and slice each half crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Add potatoes to pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook potatoes until fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to large bowl.

– Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, red wine vinegar, sugar, and garlic powder. Slowly and steadily drizzle in oil, whisking constantly until fully incorporated. Whisk in scallions and red bell peppers and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to warm potatoes and gently, with a rubber spatula, stir potatoes and dressing until potatoes are evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasoning.

– Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season both sides of each generously with salt and pepper.  Splash each steak with 2 to 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce.  Cook steaks until well browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side (8 to 10 minutes if you prefer a well-done steak). Transfer to platter and let rest 5 minutes. Serve with potato salad.

Pizza Pizza!

I stroll the supermarket with the same fierce determination that I do the Bergdorf Goodman shoe department.  And just like with shoes, when it comes to food, it’s a gut reaction that leads to the purchase. Louboutins? Pizza? Both elicit visceral reactions: I see. I buy. I don’t question. I don’t regret.

Recently the object of my desire was pizza. I had a 1-pound ball of dough from Whole Foods at home, ready to party on a Friday night. Starved, I scurried from deli to produce aisle to pasta aisle. What did I want?  Hunger was distracting me, making me frantic. Did I want fancy? Did I wan ghetto? Was I feeling country or rock’n’roll? Help me Donnie and Marie!

Before I knew it I was clutching salami, a jar of Ragú Pizza Quick sauce. And a pack of Entenmann’s chocolate-frosted doughnuts (not intended for pizza topping, of course – am not that gross, despite what you may have read in this blog)… plus an individually-wrapped cheese danish, also courtesy of Entenmann’s. Had you spotted me in the checkout aisle with these products I wouldn’t have faulted you for thinking I’d been inhaling an illegal substance.

Back home, I decided there was enough room on my dough for upscale and downmarket toppings: one side got lacquered in fig jam and covered with thin slices of prosciutto and a generous shaving of Parmesan; the other got Pizza quick, salami, and (naturally!) green-can Parm.