Make the most of culinary herbs and spices.


Celebrate Breakfast with Herbs and Spices

by Sandra Bowens

Here's one that's full of our favorite recipes because we wrote the book! It is also full of information, helpful hints and ideas for using herbs and spices in your kitchen.

Who among us does not relish the thought of a big leisurely breakfast enjoyed with friends or loved ones?   And who among us doesn't cringe at the thought of all the work that goes into preparing a meal of this sort?


The foods we often associate with a luxury breakfast, like omelets and cinnamon rolls, are time-consuming and even intimidating to some.  Scrambled eggs and biscuits, however, are a snap to prepare.  When you add a few herbs and spices, simple recipes become extraordinary fare.


This bountiful breakfast menu shows you how to get a maximum amount of flavor from basic morning foods in a minimum amount of time. A timetable for organizing is provided to help you to get it all to the table and still have the energy to enjoy it.



The Menu


Sparkling Orange Juice or Mimosas

Eggs Scrambled with Chives and Cream Cheese

Sage Sausage

Spiced Right Pan-fried Potatoes

Cinnamon Biscuits

Seasonal Fresh Fruits

Freshly Brewed Coffee or Hot Herbal Tea



Nothing in this elegant menu is difficult to prepare.  The eggs are scrambled to avoid too much last minute detail.  You can buy sausage flavored with sage in most areas but if you cannot find it, simply sprinkle raw patties with a bit of ground sage.  Mix up a batch of our Basic Potato Blend ahead of time.


If you are really short on time, skip the potatoes. Rather than slice the fresh fruits make a bowl of oranges, bananas and grapes the centerpiece for your table.


If you are feeling particularly ambitious, slice a wide assortment of fruit to arrange artfully on a plate and serve with Poppy Seed Yogurt Sauce.  For yet another flavor component, grind the seeds of four or five cardamom pods to mix with the coffee before brewing the pot.




The Timeline


Organization is the key to stress free cooking.  Before you begin, set the table or better yet, enlist someone else to do it. Decide on serving dishes so that as soon as you are finished cooking everything, you can transport the hot foods to the table.


For this menu, turn on the oven to preheat for the biscuits and then get the potatoes started.   Set the sausage to cook over a medium-low heat.  Keep your eye on both as you prepare the cinnamon biscuits.  While the biscuits are baking, slice the fruit, if you desire, and start the coffee brewing or boil the water for tea.  You will want to cook the eggs at the very last minute so they will be hot and fluffy.


Here's a trick to make clean up easier. Try gathering the ingredients you will need for all the recipes before you ever start cooking.  As you use each item, return it to the cabinet or refrigerator.  This action actually serves two purposes, you know that you have added each ingredient you wanted to use and cleaning up later is much quicker.


The Recipes



Eggs Scrambled with Chives and Cream Cheese


8 eggs

2 Tablespoons water

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 Tablespoons snipped chives

1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, cut into small chunks

1 large tomato, chopped, for garnish, if desired


Heat a non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-heat.  Whisk the eggs with the water, salt, pepper and chives.  Pour into the hot skillet.  Use a rubber spatula to keep the eggs moving as they cook.  When the eggs have reached the degree of doneness you prefer, remove from heat and sprinkle the cream cheese chunks over the eggs.  Gently fold the eggs over the cream cheese so that it gets mixed in but creamy spots of cheese remain.  Transfer to a warmed platter and arrange the chopped tomato in a ring around the eggs, if desired.


Makes 4 servings



Cinnamon Biscuits


2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cold butter, sliced

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk, divided


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Set aside.


Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Cut the sliced butter into flour using a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Gently stir in the 1 cup milk just until a soft dough is formed.  Turn the dough out onto floured wax paper and knead gently 6 or 8 times.  Gather into a circle about 3/4" thick.  Use a floured cookie cutter or juice glass to cut circles of dough.


Place remaining 2 Tablespoons of milk in a small bowl. Dip the top of each biscuit first into the milk and then into the cinnamon sugar, twisting just a bit in the sugar to coat well.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, sugared side up.


Bake for about 12 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown.


Makes about a dozen 2" biscuits




Spiced Right Pan-fried Potatoes


2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

4 medium baking potatoes, peeled

1 Tablespoon Basic Potato Blend, divided (recipe below)

additional salt, if desired


Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Carefully slice the potatoes directly into the skillet, cutting random thin pieces.  Season with 2 teaspoons of the potato blend and salt to taste, if using.  Use a spatula to mix well and stir the potatoes regularly as they begin to brown.  After 5 minutes or so, reduce the heat to medium; cover.  Continue to cook and stir. When the potatoes are cooked through, season with remaining teaspoon of potato blend; cook and stir for another minute.  Serve hot.


Makes 4-6 servings




Basic Potato Blend


2 Tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

3/4 teaspoon onion salt

1/2 teaspoon dill weed


Measure all ingredients into a small jar. Shake well to mix.


Seasons about 5 pounds of potatoes.


Another nice way to use this blend is for boiled potatoes:  Boil new potatoes in plenty of water.  When they are cooked through, drain off all but 3 Tablespoons of the water.  Smash the potatoes with some butter and potato spice. 




Sparkling Orange Juice or Mimosas


Fill champagne glasses half full with orange juice.  Top off with sparkling water or club soda.  For Mimosas, use champagne.




Poppy Seed Yogurt Sauce for fruit


1 Tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

1 container (8 ounces) vanilla yogurt


Whisk the orange juice concentrate and the poppy seeds into the yogurt.  Serve chilled over fruit or as a fruit dip.


Makes about 1 cup



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