Better Breakfast

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A favorite weekend ritual at my house is to wake up early, French-press a cup of coffee, turn up the NPR, and whip up a breakfast worthy of a Michelin star. Well, maybe not Michelin, but definitely better than the norm.

This past weekend I put together a simple and delicious pile of goodness that fueled our morning walk through Notting Hill. Here is how you can replicate it at home.

A Better Breakfast
Serves: 1
Total time: 25 min

Ingredients:
2-3 slices bacon (“streaky bacon” in the UK)
Pinch of turbinado sugar
4-5 cherry tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
handful of arugula (“rocket” in the UK)
3 toasted slices of baguette
1 organic free-range egg
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tablespoon grated sharp English white cheddar
Maldon sea salt flakes
fresh ground pepper

1. Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400 F (205 C). Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a grilling/roasting rack atop the baking sheet (tip: I did not own one, so I used a baking cooling rack). Arrange bacon slices in a single layer on rack. Sprinkle a pinch of turbinado sugar over each bacon strip – this will caramelize. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and using your hands, coat with a tiny amount of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of Maldon sea salt. Place the tomatoes onto the rack next to the bacon (you may want to place foil underneath the tomatoes so they don’t stick to the rack, and can be removed easily). Roast the tomatoes until they are soft + slightly browned, 10 min, and the bacon is crisp and glazed, 15 to 18 min.

2. Meanwhile wash the arugula, place it in a small bowl and toss with a tiny amount of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of Maldon sea salt. Set aside. Slice the baguette and toast the bread. Set aside.

3. To poach the egg, fill a saucepan with 3 inches of water, bring it to a boil on the stovetop, and reduce heat to a simmer. Add 1 tsp of white vinegar and stir the water to create a vortex. Break an egg into a small cup. Holding the cup very close to the water’s edge, pour the egg slowly into the water. Simmer for 3 minutes for cooked whites but a semi-runny center. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel.

4. Remove tomatoes from the oven, then later the bacon. Let both rest for 5 mins to cool.

5. Assemble the dish. Place three slices of toasted baguette on a serving plate, nestled in the center. Use tongs to transfer the roasted tomatoes onto the toast. Arrange the bacon strips in a triangle atop the tomatoes. Grate the cheddar over the bacon. With the slotted spoon, transfer the poached egg on top, adding a pinch of Maldon sea salt and a few cracks of pepper to season the egg. Finally grab a few sprigs of the dressed arugula to crown the egg.

Serve with knife + fork. Enjoy!

 

A selection of ingredients.

Oven situation: the bacon and tomatoes arranged on a rack over a foil-lined baking sheet.

 

Brown Butter + Fleur De Sel Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter + Fleur de Sel Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Is there anything as comforting, nostalgic and classic as a warm chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven? Didn’t think so. But I am of the mind that even something as perfect as a chocolate chip cookie has room for improvement. If you are like me and love a dessert that is both salty and sweet, give this Brown Butter + Fleur de Sel Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe a whirl and celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day like a sophisticated adult.

Brown Butter + Fleur De Sel Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Fleur de Sel
1 bag of dark chocolate chips

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Place butter into a saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan to melt. Once butter has melted, keep a close eye on the pan. Butter will foam, boil and brown bubbles will form along the sides of pan. Once the butter has turned golden brown and has a nutty aroma, remove from the stove and transfer to a bowl so cooking stops. Let butter cool for 5 minutes.

4. Place brown sugar and granulated sugar into electric mixer.  Add brown butter and mix until well combined.  Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until well combined.  Place flour, baking soda and Fleur de Sel into a large bowl.  Slowly add to wet ingredients. Add in dark chocolate chips, mixing until combined.  Do not over mix.

5. Scoop dough onto baking sheet using a cookie scoop and sprinkle with additional Fleur de Sel.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until cooked through.  Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.

Alfred Coffee + Kitchen

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There is no tradition I fancy more than my Sunday morning routine. After a long week of early call times and reporting on the latest misbehavings of Hollywood’s elite, I crave some serious downtime. After catching up on some much needed beauty sleep I roll out of my bed and leave my West Hollywood abode with one perfectly quaint and quirky destination in mind – Alfred {Coffee & Kitchen}.

As I stroll down Melrose Place in my casual Sunday attire towards my caffeine fix, I can’t help but marvel at the beautifully landscaped and uncharacteristically quiet avenue. Nestled amidst retail royalty (Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Isabel Marant, and Diane Von Furstenberg to name a few), Alfred is cozy, unpretentious and frequented by only the most in-the-know Angelenos.

I must admit that I was first enthralled by this little coffee shop’s enviable decor. Complete with subway tiles, floral wall paper, cacti, a vintage California flag, reclaimed wood, and a fireplace topped with the oh-so-trendy taxidermy, I definitely judged this book by it’s cover – and the review was a rave.

Not only is the ambiance worthy of an Instagram post or two, but Alfred offers up the best for it’s local coffee connoisseurs, serving exclusively Stumptown Coffee. Hailing from the land of plaid and hipster beards (better known as Portland, OR) Stumptown’s rich and addicting flavor has the power to convert even the snobbiest of java consumers, or in my case, even those who vow never to become coffee addicts.

And on the days I have a hankering for a healthy juice, I grab a Pressed Juicery blend from the fridge (easily the yummiest salad I have ever drank). Brentwood’s Farmshop delivers delectable pastries daily and if you suffer from food allergies you’re in luck! Alfred offers Treats for Zoe that are both vegan and gluten free (not to mention delicious). Having shamelessly sampled nearly every item on the menu, I opt for a gluten free zucchini loaf every time.

I settle into the outdoor seating (this is LA after all) and observe the good looking passersby (likely a celebrity of B caliber). As I sip my iced coffee with almond milk, I slowly collect myself and venture to the Melrose Place Farmer’s Market, located directly outside of my coffee retreat. I pick up my produce and flowers for the week and drive over to Amoeba Music where I reward myself to a vinyl treat.

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