Summertime is when I appreciate the effort that anyone running a bed-and-breakfast establishment faces every day. The leisurely pace of a vacation is definitely enhanced when sitting down to a nicely presented breakfast. And for each visit, it may be desirable to set the stage for a relaxing day with a special breakfast treat.
At times like this, the bowl of cold cereal just won’t do, even if it is sprinkled with blueberries or strawberries, unless it is followed with something less usual. Fruit and scrambled eggs are good for a crowd, and muffins or scones are sure to please.
Grits are one of the most versatile and quickly cooked breakfast staples. Grits can be augmented in a variety of ways and have the added bonus of being gluten-free. Grits come in two varieties, old-fashioned or Charleston grits, which require rinsing and cooking with stirring for 30 minutes, and the more quick variety that only requires 5-7 minutes of cooking with stirring only toward the end. Needless to say, unless you are a real morning person and willing to start preparations very early, quick-cooking grits can be your kitchen friend. The following recipes are for four servings:
Divide the cooked grits among four shallow bowls, place 1 or 2 fried eggs on top of each bowl, and scatter one-fourth of the ham around the edges of each bowl. Sprinkle the egg yolks with a bit of pepper and serve.
Most everyone loves Maine blueberry pancakes. Another quick and tempting version of less-usual pancakes uses the flavors of lemon and ricotta cheese to good effect (and you can always add blueberry jam on top).
In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 tbsp. sugar. Separate 2 eggs, reserving the whites in a small bowl for additional beating. In another bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups buttermilk with 1 tbsp. grated lemon peel and the 2 egg yolks. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour until well moistened and then stir in 1/3 cup ricotta cheese. Then beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold in the batter.
Pour 1/2-cup portions of the batter into a non-stick pan lightly coated with vegetable oil and fry over medium heat until lightly browned. Serve with maple syrup or jam.
Creating that festive vacation feeling does not necessarily mean getting up with the chickens to prepare a festive breakfast table. A bouquet of wild flowers, some fruit, and just a little more than the everyday “grab breakfast” can certainly provide that relaxing country feel. And it is not even necessary to have house guests for that treat!
(I. Winicov Harrington lives in Waldoboro. She is the author of “How to Eat Healthy and Well for Less Than $5.00 a Day: The Smart-Frugal Food Plan.” For more information, go to winicov-harrington.com.)