Breakfast, Brunch and Baking
with Genevieve Ko, Photographs by Quentin Bacon
Sarabeth Levine, James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Pastry Chef, sells her jams in more than 1,500 stores worldwide and has three successful restaurants in New York City, and one in Key West, Florida, which, sadly, I have not been to. I’m not sure Genevieve Ko is, or what her contribution is, although I have my suspicions, but it would have been nice to include a line or two about her.
I love cookbooks that are so specific, like this one just for breakfast. When I am looking for inspiration, I know I can pick this up and find something I want to make for brunch.
There is a lot to choose from here, and the recipes are clearly written, with easy to follow directions, although not enough pictures for me. I want to see every dish, and that is lacking here. Let’s face it, it is easier to find inspiration visually than by reading through every recipe. That said, the pictures that are included are stunning – almost too perfect, bordering on intimidating. So maybe the choice to use fewer pictures was wise?
The book opens with a brief introduction, followed by “Sarabeth’s Pantry,” a page including such basics as flour, sugar, butter and vanilla, followed by “Sarabeth’s Go To Tools” with a scale, whisks, and electric appliances featured. The thing is with a cookbook this specific, to me it says this is not for beginners. This is for people who have gone through the Joy of Cooking’s or Good Housekeeping’s breakfasts and want something out of the ordinary. So why I need to be told I should have butter and eggs and a mixer on hand for a breakfast and baking cookbook is a conundrum.
Moving on to the recipes – the table of contents:
Pancakes, Flaps, and Blintzes
Waffles and French Toast
Muffins, Scones, and Cakes
Breads and Yeasted Treats
Sauces, Spreads, Preserves, and Pickles
Eggs Every Way
Frittatas and Stratas
Quiches and Savory Pastries
Potatoes, Meat, and Fish
Soups and Salads
So breakfast and brunch are definitely covered. “Fruity Beginnings” include the de rigueur yogurt parfait, a smoothie, and even a Virgin Bloody Mary, but also a wonderful recipe for “Poached ‘Baked’ Apples in Ginger Ale and Maple Syrup.” I haven’t had a baked apple in years and this was truly spectacular, great for brunch and even as a dessert, perhaps with a little ice cream.
I liked the idea of Creamy Polenta with Peaches and Chestnut Honey, and the Hot Cereal Soufflés, but haven’t tried them yet. The Whole Wheat Pancakes were terrific, which may be explained by the fact they are only half whole wheat flour, and half all purpose flour. That ratio works really well for whole wheat pizza dough, too. And when corn is in season again, I am dying to try the Fresh Corn Waffles.
The Whole Grain French Toast with Sautéed Bananas is yummy, but a lot of work – it starts off with Sarabeth’s House Bread, so plan ahead. But it’s worth it if you can save enough bread for the French toast – the recipe makes two delicious loaves, so I suggest hiding one.
The Farmer’s Omelet with Leeks, Speck, and Potato was a hit, I will definitely be making that again. And my family enjoyed the Margherita Frittata with Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil, sort of like a pizza but for the gluten free. Sarabeth recommends smoked mozzarella, which I didn’t have on hand but would like to try.
Next up for me are the Earl Grey Scones, I am definitely intrigued and there is even a picture. There is a recipe for Three-Herb Gravlax, a cured salmon, which is also tempting when I can get my hands on some really good wild salmon, probably in the summer.
This is a lovely cookbook, and if you are a breakfast person, or like to entertain at brunch, this is the cookbook for you.
2/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
SARABETH’S GOOD MORNING COOKBOOK by Sarabeth Levine. Rizzoli (October 13, 2015). ISBN 978-0847846382. 282p.