Category Archives: Breakfast

Clumpy Almond Butter Granola Recipe

Almond Butter Granola
Almond Butter Granola

Homemade granola is so easy to make and customize to individual tastes.  So long as you keep the proportions of ingredients, substitutions are perfectly acceptable.  For example, my recipe calls for 3/4 cup of dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries; however, if those don’t strike your fancy, substitute the same quantity of raisins and/or chopped dates, for example. I don’t include nuts in my granola but, if they are your taste, but all means substitute them, in the same quantity, for one of the dried fruits called for in the recipe.

I wanted this granola recipe to be crisp and clumpy, not silky fine with each ingredient separated individually.  In order to get a clumpy texture, there needs to be some binders added to the mix to get the ingredients to stick together.  In this case, I am using a combination of almond butter, maple syrup, honey, coconut oil, and an egg white which has been beaten till frothy. The other trick to getting clumpy granola is to refrain from stirring it while it bakes or cools. If the granola starts to brown too quickly in the oven, instead of stirring it, rotate the baking sheet and/or reduce the oven heat.

Almond Butter Granola
Almond Butter Granola

The basic structure of any granola recipe is simply cereal, oil of some kind, and sweetener.  The typical cereal is large flake rolled oats.  Various kinds of oil can be used – I like to use coconut oil.  For sweeteners, I typically choose maple syrup but have also included honey in this recipe along with almond butter, all three of which also provide flavour in addition to the spices. The addition of mix-ins (i.e., dried fruits, berries, nuts, chocolate, etc.) are purely personal taste.

Almond Butter Granola
Almond Butter Granola

I like granola as a cereal, topped on yogurt, as a snack and, heck, I even toss some on my salads to add a crunchy texture and flavour boost!

Almond Butter Granola
Almond Butter Granola

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Almond Butter Granola

Ingredients:

2 cups large flake rolled oats
1½ cups puffed brown rice cereal
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1½ tbsp ground chia seeds

¾ cup dried coconut shavings

¾ cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
2/3 cup golden raisins
½ cup hemp hearts
1/3 cup dried apricots
¼ cup dried pineapple
1/3 cup dried papaya

½ cup coconut oil
6 tbsp smooth almond butter
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch ginger
Pinch salt

1 extra-large egg white

Method:
 
Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil.  Spray lightly with cooking oil.

Combine rolled oats, puffed brown rice cereal, ground flaxseed, and ground chia seeds in large bowl.

In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, apricots, pineapple, and papaya. Set aside.

In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, spices, and salt.  Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil. Pour over rolled oats mixture and stir.

Beat egg white until frothy. Pour over rolled oats and syrup mixture.  Stir to coat mixture with the egg white.

Spread oats evenly in a single layer on baking sheet.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy and fragrant.  Do not stir during the baking. If granola starts to brown quickly, rotate the baking sheet in the oven and/or reduce the heat. Add coconut shavings to oats during the last 5 minutes of baking.  Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit.  Stir well to combine all ingredients.  Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.

Yield: Apx. 8 cups

Clumpy Almond Butter Granola

A crunchy and clump lightly spiced granola made with almond butter, maple syrup, and honey
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups large flake rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup dried coconut shavings
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup dried pineapple
  • 1/3 cup dried papaya
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 6 tbsp smooth almond butter
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 1 extra-large egg white

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray lightly with cooking oil.
  2. Combine rolled oats, puffed brown rice cereal, ground flaxseed, and ground chia seeds in large bowl.
  3. In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, apricots, pineapple, and papaya. Set aside.
  4. In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil. Pour over rolled oats mixture and stir.
  5. Beat egg white until frothy. Pour over rolled oats and syrup mixture. Stir to coat mixture with the egg white.
  6. Spread oats evenly in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy and fragrant. Do not stir during the baking. If granola starts to brown quickly, rotate the baking sheet in the oven and/or reduce the heat. Add coconut shavings to oats during the last 5 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.

    Yield: Apx. 8 cups

For another great granola recipe from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the link below:

The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

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Granola
Almond Butter Granola

The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola Recipe

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

This granola recipe features a tasty mixture of toasted rolled oats, coconut, and dried fruits and berries.  Notably missing in this recipe are any nuts or whole seeds which are often found in granola.  This is intentional.  For anyone who, for any reason, cannot consume nuts or whole seeds, this granola is especially for you!

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

Granola is an oat-based cereal. Typically, the base ingredients will include:

  • rolled oats (use the ones that have large flakes; easily customize the recipe to be gluten-free by using gluten-free oats),
  • some kind of sweetener (e.g., brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey),
  • an oil (e.g., coconut, vegetable, or olive),
  • dried fruits and/or nuts, and
  • flavoring (such as vanilla and a medley of spices that often include cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamon).

Granola is very versatile and is so much more than a cereal served with milk for breakfast, although that is quite lovely. Here are some ways I like to use granola:

  • topping for yogurt parfaits,
  • snack food (like a trail mix),
  • ingredient in muffins, cookies, and bars,
  • crushed/ground and used to bread chicken pieces or as a topping for casseroles,
  • sprinkled over salads, or
  • mixed with toppings for a baked fruit crisp

It’s very easy to customize granola to suit your taste. If you want to add some nuts or chocolate chips to the granola, for example, swap out an equal amount of dried fruit or berries.  Or, if don’t like raisins, exchange them for an equal amount of another ingredient such as dried blueberries, cranberries, cherries, or apricots.  The important thing is to keep the proportions of ingredients in the recipe.

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

If you can turn on an oven and heat a mixture in a saucepan on the stove, you can make granola!  The sweetener, oil, and flavorings are heated in a small saucepan on the stove top just until they are warmed and well blended.  This syrup gets poured over the oats and stirred to ensure the oats are coated.  The oats are then spread on a large cookie sheet and baked in the oven for 35-45 minutes until they turn golden brown.  They are then cooled and tossed with the mixture of dried fruits and berries.

It’s very important to pay attention to the oats as they bake because they can easily burn.  The oats need to be turned 3-4 times as they bake to ensure that they toast evenly on all sides.  As soon as they start to turn a deep caramel color and begin to get a bit crispy, they are done.

The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

Ingredients:

3 cups large flake rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
1 cup sultana raisins
½ cup hemp hearts
¼ cup chopped dates
½ cup dried pineapple
½ cup dried papaya

½ cup coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt

½ cup flaked coconut

Method:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray lightly with cooking oil.

Combine rolled oats and ground flaxseed in large bowl.

In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, dates, pineapple, nd papaya. Set aside.

In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil.

Pour hot syrup over oats and toss to coat. Spread oats evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy. Stir oats every 12-15 minutes, turning them over with a spatula, so that the oats toast evenly. Add coconut to oats during the last 5-7 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit. Stir well to combine all ingredients.

Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.

Yield:   Apx. 7½ – 8 cups

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The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

Yield: Apx. 7 1/2 - 8 cups

A tasty nut-free granola made with a wonderful blend of dried fruits and berries

Ingredients

  • 3 cups large flake rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
  • 1 cup sultana raisins
  • ½ cup hemp hearts
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • ½ cup dried pineapple
  • ½ cup dried papaya
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup flaked coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray lightly with cooking oil.
  2. Combine rolled oats and ground flaxseed in large bowl.
  3. In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, dates, pineapple, and papaya. Set aside.
  4. In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil.
  5. Pour hot syrup over oats and toss to coat. Spread oats evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy. Stir oats every 12-15 minutes, turning them over with a spatula, so that the oats toast evenly. Add coconut to oats during the last 5-7 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.
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The Bistro's Great Nut-Free Granola
The Bistro’s Great Nut-Free Granola

Cranberry Pancakes

Cranberry Pancakes
Cranberry Pancakes

I can find endless uses for cranberries – they are one of my favorite berries.  The berries in today’s recipe came from Mikita Farms in Farmington, near Souris, PEI.  You can see the photos of them wet harvesting the cranberries last fall by clicking here.  I bought a huge bag of cranberries because they freeze really well and I make a multitude of recipes with them throughout the year.

In this recipe, I use the cranberries in pancakes.  I have combined and blended four key ingredients in this recipe to give the pancakes a rich flavour – eggnog, mashed banana, grated orange rind, and cranberries.  The berries can either be fresh or frozen. I simply chop the berries in half before stirring them into the pancake batter.

Cranberry-Banana Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 extra large egg
2½ tbsp cooking oil
½ cup eggnog
½ cup whole milk
½ tsp vanilla
2 tbsp mashed banana
1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2½ tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
1½ tsp grated orange rind
¾ cup chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, eggnog, milk, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and grated orange rind.

Whisk the dry ingredients together to mix thoroughly.

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients. Stir just until combined.

Stir in cranberries.

Let batter sit for apx. 5 minutes before cooking pancakes. Batter will be lumpy.

Heat non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Use paper towel to lightly grease pan with oil.

Pour apx. ⅓ cup of batter into hot frying pan and cook pancakes until surface bubbles appear and the top appears dry and set. Gently lift the edge of a pancake – if it is lightly browned, flip the pancakes over with a wide spatula. Cook 1-2 minutes until pancake is lightly browned underneath.

Transfer pancakes to a heatproof plate or cookie sheet and place in oven set to warming temperature to keep pancakes warm while cooking remaining pancakes.

Serve with a pat of butter, maple syrup, or your favourite topping and fresh fruit.

Yield:  Apx. 8 – 5” pancakes

Cranberry Pancakes

Yield: Apx. 8 – 5” pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2½ tbsp cooking oil
  • ½ cup eggnog
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp mashed banana
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2½ tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp grated orange rind
  • ¾ cup chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen

Instructions

  1. Assemble ingredients.
  2. In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, eggnog, milk, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana.
  3. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and grated orange rind. Mix well.
  4. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients. Stir just until combined. Stir in cranberries. Let batter sit for apx. 5 minutes before cooking pancakes. Batter will be lumpy.
  5. Heat non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Use paper towel to lightly grease pan with oil.
  6. Pour apx. 1/3 cup of batter into hot frying pan and cook pancakes until surface bubbles appear and the top appears dry and set. Gently lift the edge of a pancake – if it is lightly browned, flip the pancakes over with a wide spatula. Cook 1-2 minutes until pancake is lightly browned underneath.
  7. Transfer pancakes to a heatproof plate or cookie sheet and place in oven set to warming temperature to keep pancakes warm while cooking remaining pancakes.
  8. Serve with a pat of butter, maple syrup, or your favourite topping and fresh fruit.
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Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed: The Bistro’s Lobster Egg Benedict

The Bistro's Lobster Eggs Benedict
The Bistro’s Lobster Eggs Benedict

A very happy Mother’s Day to all Moms out there!  I hope you are having a wonderful day and are getting thoroughly spoiled.

Today, I am sharing my recipe for Lobster Eggs Benedict with a delicious Béarnise sauce.  This makes a wonderful brunch entrée and is also perfect for a Mother’s Day breakfast in bed tray although it does take some time and organization to prepare.

Here, on Canada’s East Coast, we are extremely blessed to have ready access to fresh lobster this time of the year.  In fact, in many Island families today, they will be celebrating with lobster (many having their first “feed” of the season), whether it be lobster at home or at one of the Island’s famous lobster suppers that open early just for the occasion today.  They will then close and re-open for the season in a few weeks time.

I have gone with a yellow theme for the breakfast in bed tray using, as my inspiration, a single yellow tulip and my favorite spring-time china cup and saucer featuring daffodils.

I chose a dainty crystal glass for the freshly-squeezed orange juice.

A refreshing fruit cup with orange sections and raspberries adds both color and flavor.

And, of course, the star of the tray – the Lobster Eggs Benedict served on Ciabatta.

Can you taste that succulent lobster?  The Béarnise Sauce is rich so you don’t need a lot of it on each serving and using less is more in this case because you don’t want to “drown” or mask the wonderful color of the red lobster claws!

The Bistro’s Lobster Eggs Benedict

Ingredients:

1 tbsp water
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used Liquid Gold’s pomegranate-quince)
½ tbsp white wine
½ tbsp minced onion
⅛ tsp puréed garlic

1 extra-large egg yolk
½ tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp prepared mustard (I used J.J. Stewart’s Maple Mustard with Dill and Chardonnay)
2 tbsp butter, melted
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sprinkle of chopped chives, parsley, and tarragon

1-2 lobster claws and meat from the lobster’s knuckles for each serving
English muffins or artisan bread, such as Ciabatta, sliced for each serving

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

In bottom of double boiler, heat about 2” water to boiling point. Reduce heat to keep the water at a very gentle simmer.

In top of double boiler and over direct heat (not on top of the boiling water), combine first five ingredients. Simmer over medium heat until mixture is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

 

page 1-001

Place top of double boiler over saucepan of gently simmering hot water.

Quickly whisk in the egg yolk and whisk vigorously and continuously till smooth. Whisk in lemon juice and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk until mixture is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (you want it of pouring consistency). Remove from heat and add a sprinkle of chopped chives, parsley, and tarragon.

Note: If mixture thickens too much, whisk in small amount of boiling water, 1 tbsp at a time, to get to pouring sauce consistency.

In small saucepan or frypan, heat ½ – 1 tbsp butter and heat lobster over low heat.

Using your favourite method, poach 1 egg to desired doneness for each serving.

To assemble:

Slice English muffin, or if using an artisan bread like Ciabatta, cut loaf into desired lengths (e.g., 3”- 4” per serving) and slice in half horizontally, using one-half for each serving. Butter each piece. Lay a layer of lettuce on each piece of bread or muffin. Add the warmed sautéed lobster.

Top with the poached egg.

Drizzle Bérnaise Sauce over each serving. Serve with a side of green salad or fresh fruit.

Serves: 2

 

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

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Easter Weekend Breakfast in Bed

There is nothing that says pampering more than breakfast in bed!  In fact, there doesn’t have to be a special occasion to serve a special someone a breakfast tray.  And, it doesn’t have to be overly fancy.  Toast or a croissant along with fresh orange juice and coffee will somehow seem much more special when served on a pretty tray in bed.

Today, however, because it is Easter and eggs are synonymous with the season, I prepared baked eggs as the main component for the breakfast tray.  A recipe I often use is the one I shared in the story last summer about the Burns Poultry Farm.  To add some color to the baked eggs, today I added some grated cheddar cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes, onion, and green pepper.

Coffee always tastes more special when served in a fancy cup and saucer.  A single-serving sized coffee butler keeps the replenishment coffee hot.

Colorful spring tulips were specially selected to match the entrée.  Pretty good match, I’d say!

Add some fresh fruit and toast and the breakfast was complete.  A great way to start someone’s day!

Happy Easter!

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook

Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro

Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”

Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes
Blueberry Pancakes

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as it is commonly known.  It’s tradition in my house to have pancakes on Pancake Day.  This year, I am serving up Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes with a delectable Blueberry Sauce.  I figure, if it’s going to be blueberries, I might as well go all out!

Did you know that pancakes freeze well?  I make a large batch and freeze them then reheat them for 3-4 minutes in my toaster oven.  Tastes like fresh-made pancakes!

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:

1¼ cup flour

2½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp soda

¼ tsp salt

2½ tbsp sugar

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

3 tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla together.

Make well in dry ingredients.  Pour liquid ingredients into the well.  Stir just until flour is combined into the liquid ingredients.  Batter will be lumpy.

Gently fold in the blueberries.

Melt apx. 2-3 tsp butter in frypan.  Using ¼ measuring cup, add batter to frying pan.  Cook over medium-high heat until top of pancakes lose their glossiness and bubbles appear in the batter.  Flip pancakes over and cook for 2-3 minutes longer.  Add butter each time you add batter to the frying pan to ensure they don’t stick.

Serve hot with maple syrup or blueberry sauce (recipe follows).

Yield:  10-12 pancakes, depending on size

 

Blueberry Sauce

Ingredients:

1¼ cups blueberries

3 tbsp sugar

⅛ tsp cinnamon

Pinch salt

¾ tsp grated orange rind

1½ tsp lemon juice

2½ tbsp orange juice

Scant 1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

In medium saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, salt, grated orange rind, lemon juice, and one-half of the orange juice.  Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.

Whisk cornstarch and the remaining half of the orange juice together until smooth.

Add about 2 tsp of the hot berry mixture to the cornstarch to temper it.  Add the warm cornstarch mixture to the blueberries and stir gently to blend.  Simmer for 4-5 minutes or until desired thickness.

Stir in maple syrup and vanilla.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Serve warm over pancakes.

Yield:  Apx. 1 cup


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Blueberry Pancakes
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms!

What mom doesn’t like to be pampered on Mother’s Day and what says pampering more than breakfast in bed!  Dress up an ordinary bed tray with a lovely napkin or pretty placemat and prepare a scrumptious breakfast for Mom.

The Menu:  Start with a fresh fruit cup presented in the prettiest, daintiest pedestal dessert dish.  Choose a variety of fruits of different colors, shapes, and textures.

Fresh squeezed orange juice adds an element of sophistication to the breakfast tray.

For the main course, I chose to serve scrambled eggs on crostini with a roasted Parmesan tomato half.  The roasted tomato is so simple to make.  Simply cut a tomato in half.   A sprinkle of Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and a shake of Parmesan cheese is all it takes to season the tomatoes. Drizzle each half tomato with a good quality olive oil – I used Liquid Gold’s Organic Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil.  Roast the tomato on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 450F oven for about 10 minutes, just until tomato is heated and the Parmesan starts to turn golden in color.

How yummy does this tomato look!

A few herbs and a topping of grated cheddar cheese take scrambled eggs to a whole new level, particularly when served on a tasty crostini.

Look for lots of color to add to the breakfast tray.  Color makes the tray look so much more vibrant, interesting, and appealing.

Select the prettiest cup and saucer to dress up the tray.

I like these petite individual-sized teapots.  They are very versatile and don’t take up much room on a bed tray.

Fresh flowers are a must for any special breakfast in bed tray.  Miniature carnations are very suitable for bed trays.  Everything should be to scale in order for it to fit on the tray.

Lastly, you’ll want to add the finishing touch of a lovely and carefully chosen Mother’s Day Card.

A beautiful card for a beautiful Mom!

It’s all about Mom on Mother’s Day.  It’s not always the big, fancy gifts that touch the heart.  Most often, it is something like the care and attention that goes into planning something special, like breakfast in bed and, most importantly spending time together, that means the most.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
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Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”

Belgian Waffles with Strawberries and Chocolate Syrup

Well, it’s been another stormy day here on Prince Edward Island.  Don’t know why but I have a tendency to want to make Belgian waffles on storm days.  Maybe it’s because I have the time, or maybe it’s that I know I’d have the ingredients and don’t need to shop in order to make the recipe – don’t know.  Anyway, today was the day to make waffles.

 

Belgian Waffle with Fresh Strawberries, Whipped Cream, and Chocolate Sauce
Belgian Dessert Waffle with Fresh Strawberries, Whipped Cream, and Chocolate Sauce

The first time I had Belgian waffles was in Ogunquit, Maine, a long time ago.  We used to vacation there and we found a wonderful little café that opened only for breakfast and their specialty was the Belgian waffle served with huge, fresh Maine blueberries.  Naturally, a Belgian waffle maker had to be purchased so we could make them at home!

Waffles are very versatile.  They can be a breakfast food, eaten at brunch, lunch, for dessert or even as a main course for dinner, depending on the topping.  There is nothing like creamed chicken atop a puffy Belgian waffle for good old-fashioned comfort food!

Imported strawberries have been available in local supermarkets and at a good price the past couple of weeks.  Despite their travel time to get to us, their quality and flavour have been quite good.  I had a large container of them that I knew wouldn’t keep much longer.  I also had a craving for a rich chocolate sauce this afternoon.  So, why not take a lowly basic waffle and dress it up for a tasty lunch.  For this presentation, I made a smaller waffle (using about 1/2 cup of batter).

Here is the basic waffle recipe I used:

Waffle Ingredients
Waffle Ingredients

Belgian Waffles

1 cup flour

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 medium-sized eggs, separated

2 tbsp melted butter

 

Separate the eggs.  Beat the egg whites stiff.  Set aside. 

In separate bowl, mix the egg yolks and all remaining ingredients.

With electric mixer, beat until well-blended.

Gently fold the egg whites into the flour and milk mixture.  Fold just until they are incorporated.  This will yield a light, fluffy waffle.

Heat waffle maker and cook waffles according to manufacturer’s directions, using about 3/4 cup – 1 cup of batter per waffle or about a 1/2 cup for a smaller dessert-sized waffle. I didn’t quite use enough batter to get completely to the edges in the waffle below 🙂 

To serve, add sliced fruit, a dollop of whipped cream, and drizzle with your favorite syrup.  Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Yield: 3-4 waffles

To make a more hearty waffle, use between 3/4 – 1 cup of batter.

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Valentine’s Day Breakfast in Bed

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  Be sure to use the occasion to show special appreciation for those you love.  One of the most ultimate ways to pamper a loved one on any day (and not just on Valentine’s) is by preparing and serving him or her breakfast in bed.

Valentine's Day Breakfast in Bed Tray
Valentine’s Day Breakfast in Bed Tray

This is a very simple breakfast menu I have selected for the bed tray:  Freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit cup sprinkled with coconut, heart-shaped Irish Cream French Toast with pure Canadian maple syrup, and a wee pot of tea. (Recipe for the French Toast follows at end of posting)

There is nothing like fresh-squeezed orange juice to start the day!   The little juice jug was a find at a thrift shop.  Bed trays have limited space so I’m always on the look-out for items that will be suitable for this purpose.  I have opted to make the event special by serving the juice in a stemmed glass.

 

I have selected fruit with different colors and textures and dressed the fruit cup with some coconut and orange zest.  The glass pedestal dessert dish is perfect for serving fresh fruit because it allows the colors of the fruit to show through giving color to the tray.

I sprinkled the French toast with confectioner’s sugar and added a dollop or two of whipped cream.   My heart-shaped cookie cutter didn’t have as deep a cut in the center as I would have liked; consequently, the heart-shape isn’t as prominent or doesn’t show up as well in the photographs.   I added the fan-cut strawberry to give both color and flavour.

What dresses up the food is the presentation.  Yes, it’s all about the presentation!  I covered the tray with a couple of my best quality white napkins and folded the third, using a “blingy” napkin ring as napkin jewelry.  Out came the wee Sadler teapot I found in a second-hand shop last summer.  From my teacup collection, I selected one that is predominantly pink since my color theme for this bed tray is pink and red.

Every bed tray should be adorned with a small bouquet of fresh flowers.  I thoroughly enjoy having access to Island greenhouse-grown tulips over the winter.  I drove out to Vanco Farms in Mount Albion to specifically select these pink and red tulips, knowing they would be perfect on this tray!  I think the pink and red make a stunning color combination!

And, of course, adding a lovely card and a gift will make a special someone’s Valentine’s Day just a tad more special!

 

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Cream French Toast

2 eggs

3 tbsp milk

2 tsp Irish Cream Liqueur (follow link at bottom of posting for my recipe for homemade Irish Cream Liqueur)

1/2 tbsp orange juice

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch cardamom

1/2 tsp freshly grated orange rind

With whisk, beat eggs lightly.  Add remainder of ingredients in order given.  Whisk to combine.  Pour mixture into a flat pan or pie plate.  Dip each bread slice into the mixture, turning to coat both sides.

Melt 1 tsp. butter in skillet.  Transfer dipped bread to hot skillet.  Over medium heat, fry bread till browned.  Flip bread to brown other side.  Transfer to serving plate.  Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and add a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.  Serve warm with maple syrup.


Click on this link for my recipe for homemade Irish Cream Liqueur.

 

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Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday, often commonly referred to as “Pancake Day” or “Pancake Tuesday”.  Shrove Tuesday always falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which signifies the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period leading to Easter in the Christian calendar.  In some denominations, Lent is a period of abstaining from certain things, which may include rich food indulgences such as meals made with butter, eggs, and fat, for the 40-days of Lent.  So, legend has it that the day before Lent was the last day to indulge and also to feast on the foods that would not carry over and last until after Lent – foods like butter, eggs, and milk.  Or, perhaps it was considered best to get the items used up before Ash Wednesday lest they become temptations during Lent, a period of fasting!  Supposedly, if they mixed together some butter, eggs, fat, milk, flour, and some sort of leavening and put that in a pan on the stove, it produced pancakes!

On PEI, there are always lots of pancake breakfasts or suppers on or around Pancake Day.  Some use them as fundraisers and others, well, it’s just part of tradition.  One way or another, many Islanders will have, or serve, pancakes for a meal today, either for breakfast or for supper.

This year, with Easter being early, Pancake Day happens to fall just before Valentine’s Day.  So, I’ve opted to dress the pancakes up by serving them with strawberries shaped into hearts along with some fresh blueberries.

And, of course, you know, I’m going to have some gorgeous Island-grown greenhouse red tulips from Vanco Farms (Mount Albion, PEI) on the table somewhere!

Pancakes are a simple food, not taking any ingredients unlikely to be found in most cupboards.  There are many variations to the basic pancake recipe; blueberries, chocolate chips, apple, and just about anything can be added to the pancake batter.  Butter and maple syrup are the most common toppings although blueberry, strawberry, chocolate, or other favorite sauces can also be used.

I tend to like the plain pancakes with butter and maple syrup and a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar and some fresh fruit on the side.

And, of course, I am using pure, all-natural Canadian maple syrup!

Pancakes are always good comfort food!

Some recipes will result in flat pancakes, almost crepe-like just as my grandmother used to make, while pancakes from other recipes will rise and be quite thick.  My recipe produces nice, puffy pancakes.

Today, I made just a half recipe of the pancakes as my recipe halves as easily as it doubles.   Here is the full recipe:

Basic Pancakes

1 egg, beaten

1 1/4 cups milk

2 1/2 tbsp cooking oil

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 tbsp sugar

Whisk egg.  Add milk, oil, and vanilla.  Whisk to mix.

Add remaining ingredients in order listed.  Whisk until dry ingredients are incorporated.  Let mixture stand for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt about 1/2 tbsp butter in skillet.  Using 1/3 cup measure, pour mixture into round shapes in skillet – I don’t worry about getting the pancakes perfectly round shapes.  When pancakes are puffed up, edges start to appear dry, and bubbles appear on tops of pancakes, turn the pancakes to brown their other side.

Serve hot with butter and/or desired sauce.

Makes 9-10 medium-sized pancakes.

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Pancakes
Homemade Pancakes