Did you know that you can buy matzoh in the supermarket all year round, not just at Passover, and not just in the giant-size packages they sell during the holiday season? (If you don't know what matzoh looks like, here's a photo; it's a type of flatbread or large cracker.) In our house, we tend to buy the same plain kosher-for-Passover matzoh year after year, and to make the same matzoh brei recipe (my dad's classic) year after year. And we only make it during the holidays; I don't know why. I'm tired of the same old same old, and as proof, I offer this maple cinnamon matzoh brei (pronounced MAT-zah BRY), which is very much like a frittata or a really substantial quiche. Instead of the somewhat bland classic version that relies on salt for flavor, this sweet matzoh brei kicks off your day with cinnamon, maple syrup, and a bit of vanilla. I tested it on a group of friends a few weeks ago. There were no leftovers.
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Offer my husband Ted a green salad for lunch, with some sliced hard-boiled egg, and -- sweet guy that he is -- he'll say yes, that's fine, even if he means is that all we're having for lunch? Offer him that same salad atop a crispy slice of bread with some bacon embedded in it, and he'll say Mmmmm! And who wouldn't, really? Tartine is the French name for an open-faced sandwich. This bacon and egg tartine starts with a slice of rustic or sourdough bread, one with a close grain and not many holes. A panini press makes quick work of melding the bacon and bread together; if you don't have a press, use a stovetop grill pan with a second heavy frying pan on top. A dressed green salad and sliced egg complete the tartine, making it the perfect meal for brunch or lunch. (I know some of you might go ahead and eat the bacon bread on its own. And who wouldn't, really?)
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Oh, kale, I think I'm developing a crush on you. It must be serious, because now I'm enjoying your company first thing in the morning (and for the most part, I just like to sit and stare into my coffee mug at breakfast time). You must be something special. This breakfast casserole (which I also like to serve for lunch) with kale, mushrooms and caramelized onions comes together in 20 minutes and bakes for an additional 35, giving me time to whip up some mini muffins and fresh-squeezed orange juice, or a salad and crusty bread toasts. The slowly sautéed onions lend their sweetness to balance the bitter greens, and that's the flavor that makes this breakfast casserole a winner. Mushrooms and red pepper are one of my favorite combinations but not essential to the dish, so when you make this -- and you will, if you're falling in love with kale like I am -- substitute with any vegetables you have on hand.
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Don't you love a recipe with a pedigree? I do. This Swedish soda bread recipe came to me from my friend Bev, who first tasted a version of it at an opening reception at the Providence Art Club. Bev asked Joan, the artist, for the recipe; Joan had made it as Irish soda bread, with caraway seeds instead of cardamom, and shortening instead of butter. When I sampled Bev's Swedish adaptation, it seemed more like cake, so I baked mine in one of the Bundt pans I collect but seldom use. (I can't explain my fascination with Bundt pans. I just love them.) Bev made hers in a round cake pan. Serve the soda bread warm, with a pat of sweet butter and a cup of tea, when friends stop by for a mid-afternoon visit.
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