I grew up in the 1970s and ’80s, and so I watched a lot of TV.
Much of that television consisted of reruns such as “Gilligan’s Island” and “Bewitched”, both of which were ubiquitous on the dial in the hours between school and dinner. Looking back with four decades of knowledge, I have come to several startling conclusions.
You can’t make a radio out of a coconut, even if you’re a professor.
Most American families don’t have a wacky live-in housekeeper named Alice.
Darin Stevens was a big jerk. (Sorry, but it was necessary to say).
In short, television lied to me. Overall, I am fine with it.
I may just have a regular old radio, but I’m not stuck on a desert island like Gilligan’s either. Nor am I married to the witch, although – unlike Darrin – I think it would be great.
Still, some television lies are more difficult to tell than others. For one, I believe the best place to chill a pie on a hot day is on a windowsill. Number 2, breakfast in bed is the ultimate way to show your mom that you love her on Mother’s Day.
The latter trope is one that is still popular on television today. The kid always shows up in the bedroom, tray in hand, full breakfast with toast, juice, and hot coffee. Sometimes there is only one flower in the bouquet, but that is the wild card.
Mom is always thrilled as she eats toast with jam and drinks juice. In fact, I think she might be overjoyed.
Think about it. Is it possible to eat toast without making a bunch of pieces? Personally, I can’t do it.
In fact, the second Michael has banned me from eating his sesame bagel at every morning meeting. He complains about “butter stains” on the chair and “sesame seeds” on the chair cushions. Personally, I think he’s just being petty.
Still, I don’t want toast crumbs in my bed. Nor would it be fun to spill hot coffee on my sheets, let alone my bare feet. As for that flower, if I were to pick a flower from another Michael’s garden, I would hear about it for days.
Finally, how many homes actually have those fancy serving trays that are always shown in the bed scene at any breakfast? Do they give them to Costco?
Thus, I’m beginning to suspect that the breakfast-in-bed trope might lie like the Professor’s coconut radio.
What doesn’t lie, however, is that Sunday is Mother’s Day, and your mom might really enjoy it if you surprise her with breakfast (though not in bed). I have several recipes in this week’s column that can help you make the most of Mom’s Day. They vary in complexity, so choose the one that best suits your skill set (and mom’s appetite).
Tater Tot Frittata
I once heard a character on TV describe a frittata as “egg pizza”. This is another TV lie, because pizza has a crust, and frittata does not. In fact, you can think of it as a crustless quiche. After all, it contains eggs, cheese, vegetables, and sometimes meat.
I adapted the recipe below from one on The Kitchn.com. I would have liked to include a little bacon, but you can also include cooked sausage or ham. You can also go completely meatless and add a few more vegetables like roasted asparagus or sliced tomatoes.
- 8-10 strips of bacon, fried, drained and chopped
- 1 (16-oz.) bag frozen tater tots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- tsp red chili
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- pinch black pepper
- 10 eggs
- cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp fresh chives
- 1¼ cups grated sharp Cheddar, divided
- 1 medium capsicum, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- finely grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Mix garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper. Drizzle the Frozen Tots with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle garlic mixture over torts and stir to combine. Place sized tots on a baking sheet, and bake until crispy, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely. Once the tots are baked, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Whisk together eggs, sour cream, chives, 1 cup Cheddar cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and another pinch of black pepper.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add capsicum and onion and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Season with remaining -teaspoon salt.
Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet. Scatter the tater tots over the eggs followed by the cooked bacon. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and remaining cup Cheddar cheese.
Bake in oven for 20-22 minutes or until just set. Turn the oven to the “broiler” setting, and roast the top of the frittata until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Refrigerate for about 5 minutes, and then cut into wedges and serve.
overnight french toast
This recipe is from Epicurious.com. French toast is my go-to breakfast dish whenever I eat out in the morning. Not only do I love French toast, but I also find it really hard to mess up. There just isn’t much to mess with.
But being perfect is difficult. Usually, the crust is overdone while the center is still mushy. Or sometimes the egg mixture doesn’t penetrate the inside of the bread, leaving a nice soft outside but a dry interior.
This recipe solves some of those problems. The bread soaks overnight in the egg mixture, ensuring that it thoroughly penetrates every nook and cranny. Further, it is baked in the oven for about 30 minutes. The slow heat and long time will ensure that it is done and through.
However, there are a few things you can do to ensure great toast. First of all use good bread. Sandwich slices are less than ideal. They are thinner and they don’t absorb much of the flavor of the eggs. Instead, use a thick (¾-inch to one-inch) piece of challah, a soft and sweet egg loaf. If you don’t have one on hand, try some French or Italian breads. Again, be sure and slice it thick.
- cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 loaf, cut into 1- to 1-inch thick slices
- 6 eggs
- 1½ cups whole milk
- cup) sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- tsp salt
- powdered sugar (optional)
- maple syrup (optional)
Smear butter in the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Arrange challah slices in pan. Cancel.
Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, syrup, vanilla and salt. Pour half of the mixture over the bread slices. Flip the slices over and pour over the remaining egg mixture. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight.
The next morning when you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. When the oven is preheated, take the pan out of the fridge. Bake the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully flip the bread slices over. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, and serve with maple syrup, butter or fresh fruit.
Serves about 6 people (depending on how many slices they eat).
note: If your bread doesn’t come out nice and brown, you may be cheating a little. Sprinkle on half a teaspoon of powdered sugar (use a sieve to get an even coating), and then place the toast under the broiler for about 2 minutes (watch it carefully or it will burn).
Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes
This recipe comes from Hell’s Kitchen, a restaurant in Minneapolis. It has become one of our favorite places to stop for breakfast or lunch in the Twin Cities.
These hotcakes are one reason. Michael says they are a great dessert pancake, and I agree. They are sweeter than regular pancakes with a surprisingly bright lemon flavor.
Don’t be intimidated by the way the batter looks, though. It’s very thin and bright yellow in color because of the nine — yes, nine — egg yolks in this recipe.
These cakes taste great with fresh fruit and a little maple syrup.
- 6 egg whites
- 9 egg yolks
- cup butter, melted
- cup sugar
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 tablespoons fresh grated lemon zest (about 4 lemons)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- cup flour
- Butter for greasing the griddle
Pour the egg whites into the bowl of the mixer and mix until stiff peaks form. Slow down the speed. Slowly pour in the egg yolks, and then gradually add the melted butter. Continue whisking on low speed until well incorporated. Turn off the mixer and add the sugar, ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Whisk on medium speed for 1 minute. Reduce speed and gradually add flour. Keep mixing for about 1 minute. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. Return mixer to medium speed and mix for about 1 minute.
Put the batter in the fridge for an hour (this is optional). When you are ready to cook the hotcakes, heat a skillet or griddle. Brush with melted butter. Pour about a cup of batter onto the hot pan. Cook until bubbles begin to appear and bottoms are golden brown (about 5 minutes). Flip the hotcakes and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan.
They taste great when garnished with fresh fruits and garnished with a little powdered sugar.