Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, it involves all of my favorite things- coffee, pastries, and quiet. Ambience is just as important as the food, I like to play Billie Holiday softly in the dining room at breakfast time, turn the fireplace on low, light a candle or two, set the table with a flower, and provide a few newspaper choices (the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, along with a local paper). What you do will depend on your setting, the best breakfast always speaks of the personality of it's maker and has a strong sense of place. I hope these recipes and tips are helpful whether you cook breakfast for your guests or offer them the tools & resources to make their own!
Coffee- Arguably the most important ingredient to the ultimate breakfast, it is the first thing most people think of when they wake up in the morning. Start with good beans, either from a local roaster (ideally) or boutique brands like Intelligentsia or Stumptown (Stumptown offers a subscription service), your guests will notice! If you make breakfast for your guests at different times throughout the morning, consider brewing an individual press pot (try the Frieling press, they last forever & look great, or Bodum). If you want your guests to be able to make their own coffee without the mess of a standard coffee maker, try Nespresso, hands down the best pod machine (the vertuo line makes full cups of coffee). The best standard coffee maker I have found for a rental is the Zojirushi Zutto.
Juice- Fresh squeezed juice is so much better than store bought juice, if you have the time you are guaranteed to make an impression on your guests! Try a standard press (like the Titan Juicer), and make the juice the day before to save you time in the morning.
Yogurt, Granola, & Fruit- Make your own granola (see below for my recipe), buy fruit from a local farmer's market (or at least buy high quality fruit in season), and use a good, thick yogurt. Some people will want only this for breakfast.
Coconut Ginger Granola
16 cups rolled oats
4 cups sliced almonds
1 (8oz) bag crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups butter
1 cup honey
1 cup medium shred coconut
2-3 cups large raisins or dried cherries
Preheat oven to 300° F.
1. Mix the first 8 ingredients together. Heat butter and honey together until butter is melted. Add butter mixture to oat mixture and mix until all ingredients are coated evenly and all butter/honey is absorbed.
2. Spread on two large cookie sheets or hotel pans lined with parchment or a silpat.
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Granola is done when oats have become medium brown in color. This may require additional time, but make sure to stir frequently at the end of baking.
4. Once out of the oven, add about a cup of flaked coconut and about 3-4 cups of raisins or dried cherries. Mix to distribute evenly.
5. Store in airtight container.
Pastries- Scones are always a good bet. You can make a large batch, roll them, cut them, freeze them, and use them as you need them.
3/4 cup currants, candied ginger, or dried blueberries
4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup + 1 tbsp very cold butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp grated lemon zest
3 tbsp melted butter for brushing tops sugar for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 400, line a large cookie sheet with parchment or a silpat.
2. Combine currants or dried blueberries with warm water and soak for 10 min to plump, if using ginger chop into small cubes.
3. Sift dry ingredients together.
4. Cut butter into 1” pieces and blend into flour with pastry blender
5. Add buttermilk all at once with lemon zest and dried fruit or ginger, mix until dough comes together. Add a little buttermilk if the mixture seems too dry
6. Dust your work surface with flour and turn dough onto it. Pat the dough into a rectangle 18” long by 5” wide and 1 1/2” thick. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Cut the dough into triangles and put on prepared sheet.
7. Bake the scones until the tops are lightly browned, 25-30 min.
Eggs- Anything that can be made the day before and reheated when needed is ideal, and this recipe for Quiche is so delicious your guests will be begging you for the recipe!
This recipe will yield enough for three to four 9 inch quiche shells.
3lb All-purpose or pastry flour
2lb Butter or Shortening
1lb cold water
- Cut fat into flour and incorporate completely to create a course meal, yielding a fine crumb.
- Dissolve salt into water.
- Add water to flour/ fat mixture and incorporate into a dough. It should be moist enough to hold together when pressed into a ball.
- Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and allow to hydrate at room temperature for about 30 min prior to chilling. Then chill under refrigeration for at least 30 min prior to using to firm the dough slightly.
- Scale the dough as necessary. Use roughly 1oz of dough per 1 inch of pie pan or shell mold (9oz dough for 9in shell). Generally, you will be able to divide the dough into four shells, but stick to three portions until you get your scaling perfect.
- Roll out your dough on a lightly floured work surface to roughly double the size of your pie-pan, spring form, or tart ring. You want enough dough to generously overhang the sides of the quiche/pie pan (see note). We prefer using a bottomless 9 in. tart ring set onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat.
- To “blind bake” your shell (this step is needed to set the shell prior to baking the custard in it), carefully roll the dough onto the pie pan/quiche ring and gently press the dough against the edges of the mold so. Then line the shell with commercial grade plastic wrap or aluminum foil and fill the shell with white rice or dry beans. The rice/beans should fill the contents of your shell completely. Chill the shell again prior to baking.
- Blind bake at 350 degrees for about 20 min, or until the dough just starts to turn pale yellow and has started to set. Chill the shell and remove the rice/beans from the interior. The shell is ready to be filled with custard.
This base may be used as a custard filling for 2-3 9 inch quiches or for baking in small ramekins as individually portioned “egg bakes”.
6 oz heavy cream
6 oz milk
Salt and other seasonings / herbs to taste
- Preheat oven to 335 degrees.
- Throughly incorporate the cream, milk and eggs with a stick blender or by whisking vigorously until the ingredients are completely combined into a uniform custard.
- Seasoning may be added at this point. Just make sure to only add salt right before using the custard, as the salt will eventually start to cook the raw eggs. The custard is now ready to pour into the prepared shell.
- If you would like to add other ingredients like sautéed onions, spinach, or ham, pour in a layer of custard and then layer in the ingredients to only half-fill the shell. Bake this for about 15 minutes to set a layer of custard and then add the second layer of ingredients and custard, to fill the shell completely. This way you will have a quiche with evenly distributed ingredients.