Autumn is here in New York once again. I always look forward to the cool air and the changing leaves. This season really brings forth the flavors of breakfast. Something salty something smokey something sweet. This morning, with the aroma of fresh apples in the air, I figured I would take a couple of macintosh apples, grate them down, add some batter, and see if I could get some fritters cooking.

So, with about a half an inch of light canola oil in my cast iron skillet, I mixed pancake batter and four medium-sized apples. I took a spoonful and placed it on a sheet of waxed paper and patted it flat with the spatula. Once I had three of these I transfered them to the hot oil and let then cook for about two minutes before flipping them over and cooking the other side.

Now while this is going on I have another small frying pan over a light flame cooking a couple of rashers of bacon. I like mine cooked but not crispy.  Nice and chewy does it for me.

So, as the fritters finish cooking I scoop them out and place then on paper towels to drain off some of the oil.

As the bacon finishes, I transfer that to the plates, with a couple of fritters and pour on a nice drizzle of pure New York grade A maple syrup from a little place just outside of Middleburg.



Waffles with carmelized apples and Black Forest ham. The apples are New York State macintosh from Terrance Mountain Orchard in Middleburg. I core, peel and chop the apples. Then they are tossed into a pot with brown sugar, maple bourbon and a little water. They get cooked over a low heat until a nice syrup startes to form. I cheated a bit here using me favorite frozen waffles, Aunt Jamima straight from the toaster oven. A little butter is applied then i spoon on the apples. You can kick up the ‘Autumn ‘ factor by sprinkling a little cinnamon sugar over these.

Now, I like mine with a side of meat. In this case I pan fried a nice thick piece of black Forest Ham. I pick this up at the deli counter when it’s on sale. I ask the clerk to slice it thick adding that he should get only four slices on the half pound. That’s usually a good thickness to use for breakfast.  And you can get a weeks worth of breakfasts out of that.



A nice warm omelette with ham, and Swiss cheese just at its melting point so that it still has the stringiness as you bring a fork to your mouth. I mix a pinch of herbs de provance into the mixture and then sprinkle a pinch on top as a garnish.

I usually get the deli ham at Cherry Valley Market and have the clerk  slice it in the thick side. Slicing it thick makes it much easier  to pan fry. As a personal point of reference, I also like the cheese sliced thicker.

In a mixing bowl I combine two eggs, herbs, and small-diced ham. I whisk these together with a splash of milk. Then I pour this into a non stick pan over low heat and cover. As this firms up I place a slice of the Swiss cheese along half and the using a thin non stick spatula I fold the omelette over and hold the pan off the stove but still over the burner. This gets the cheese melting without over cooking the omelette.



Two eggs poached on dry whole wheat toast with spicy Spanish potatoes. I poach my eggs in a rather small pot and gently transfer then to dry whole wheat toast using a slotted spoon. I like to keep the toast as dry as possible. This makes it more absorbant to the yolk as I tend to lightly poach the eggs. Perhaps a minute maybe two in the water once it starts to boil.

The Spanish style potatoes are made nice and spicy by using diced chorizo sausage previously cooked (yup, leftovers). I get that cooking on a low heat with chopped onions. I dice up a medium potato, something low starch like red skin or tender white potato. The smaller the dice, the quicker the potatoes will cook. But to add flavor and lessen the cooking time I toss the diced potatoes in a  bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and smokey Hungarian paprika.

Mini French Toasts

I think I’ve mentioned that the Cherry Valley market near me sells this fantastic Italian bread, two loaves for a dollar fifty. A bargain I dont often pass up especially on Fridays when I often make pasta. What’s pasta without a loaf of garlic bread… But that’s a story for another day. Today I’m focusing on what to do with the left over loaf. And that’s where a lazy Saturday morning comes in handy when I make these mini french toast from the loaf left out to harden a little.


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Four one inch slices of left over Italian loaf
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • A splash of amaretto
  • Cinnamon sugar


Start by warming up your skillet. In a large shallow bowl beat the egg and milk together. Whisk in a slash of amaretto. Soak the slices of bread in the egg mixture and place them on the skillet. It only take a few minutes to brown each side. When they are done transfer them to the plate, lightly butter them and dust with cinnamon sugar.


Enjoy with your morning coffee and croissants.

mini french toasts



Two eggs poached on toasted asiago  bread with tomatoes.  Poaching is a delicate process. First bring a pot of water  to a steady simmer. Try not to use too large a pot for poaching, smaller is better in my experience. Some people add vinegar to that water to help the egg proteins coagulate but i dont. The taste is not for me unless I’m hiding it behind a holindasse sauce. Now, crack a very fresh cold egg into a small bowl or ramekin. Give the pot a stir to create a gentle whirlpool effect and slide the egg into the water. The spinning water will help the egg white wrap itself around the yolk forming a more rounded poached egg.

I’m a big fan of all matters of risky business, salmonella included. So I poach my eggs runny leaving them in the water only two minutes or so. Seriously,  the risk of salmonella is so remote… please.

For this particular breakfast I toasted up a couple of slices or asiago bread. A friend of mine brought it over because she didnt like strong flavor, her loss, my gain. I didn’t butter this either. When topping the toast with the eggs I want the toast to be as absorbant as possible.

To finish this off, I simply washed and sliced up a plumb tomato straight from the garden and gave that a pinch of salt.

Carolina Cider BBQ Sauce

Its a perfect day for a picnic, and pulled pork sandwiches are a nice addition to the basket of provisions. Well I’ve just put the pork shoulder into the oven overnight to cook. A ten pound shoulder cooking at 225 degrees takes about eight to ten hours. Then, in the morning, comes the resting… then the shredding. The whole house has that bbq scent which is almost as good as the aroma of coffee when getting up in the morning. Now that the heavy lifting is done for the pulled pork picnic main course… its time to reach into the fridge and pull out the secret sauce which I made last night…. let’s keep this secret between us.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Texas Pete’s
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place all of the ingredients in a small, non-reactive sauce pan and bring to a boil. Whisk until the sugar and salt is completely dissolved, remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.

I poured the sauce into a plastic squeeze bottle and let rest in the refrigerator over night before using. I get these squeeze bottles at the party supple store. Make your own labels and put your creative side to use. I use about a quart of the bottle while pulling the pork, then pack the remainder in the picnic basket so friends can add as they choose.

bbq sauce


Egg Salad with a Touch

It’s fun looking for new tastes to wake up old standards. A nice summer staple around here is egg salad. A great use for left-over hard boiled eggs. And rather than settle for bland eggs and mayo, let your adventurous side take over. Sometimes it takes over our of curiosity, like when you’re getting bored of the same-old, and sometimes out of necessity, lite when you want to use something that’s been hanging around a while. Well this afternoon both of these conditions conspired to make the following zippy sandwich:


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Two large hard boiled eggs
  • Two tablespoons of light mayo
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • Two tea spoons of whole ground mustard
  • Salt and pepper


Simplicity itself, peel the eggs and mash them up with your fork. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Toast two slices of pumpernickel bread. Then, place some lettuce on the bread, add some egg salad, pour a glass of iced tea and enjoy. You should be able to get two sandwiches out this.