The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 19, 2002


Recipes for a springtime breakfast or brunch

Starting with Patriots Day, followed by an early morning bird walk to Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge in May, I'm into my traditional springtime entertainment modebreakfast or brunch. In the case of Patriots Day, it's breakfast at 6:45 a.m. at our home on Estabrook Road for friends who want to join the Patriots Day Parade that passes by our house an hour later.

In early May, my husband Ken takes the winners of the FRS Service Auction bird walk for an early morning expedition to Mt. Auburn Cemetery, followed by a late-morning brunch served back here in Carlisle.

For me, serving breakfast or brunch is much more enjoyable and less hectic than a formal sit-down dinner. No hors d'oeuvres and wine to worry about, no dessert to agonize over, and just one trip to the table with all dishes attractively assembled ready to be consumed by a hungry crowd.

For this year's Patriots Day I served my usual overnight egg soufflé, dried and fresh fruit compote, nutmeg coffeecake, and asparagus (now in season) boiled and topped with brown butter. Most things can be prepared the day or night before. Only the egg soufflé and the asparagus need to be cooked in the morning just before mealtime.

If you are serving the egg soufflé without the addition of chopped ham, shrimp or bacon, you may want to add bacon or sausage as a side dish. I like to serve Jones Sausage, which comes from a dairy farm in Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin. This is where my grandfather Cardell McComb, a farmer in the '30s, '40s, and '50s, took his hogs to be slaughtered.

So try an early morning breakfast or mid-morning brunch for friends or extended family. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

Dried and Fresh Fruit Compote

2 c. mixed dried fruit, apricots, dates, and plums
2 c. cold water
2 cinnamon sticks
3 T. sugar
1 T. lemon juice
3/4 lb. (about 2 large) cooking apples, cored, and cut in bite-size chunks
3/4 lb. (about 2 medium) ripe cooking pears, cored and cut in bite-size chunks
  1. If dried fruit pieces are large, cut in smaller pieces.
  2. In a large saucepan combine dried fruit, water, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, covered, until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add apples and pears; mix gently. Cover and cook over medium heat until liquid starts to simmer. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, mixing once or twice, until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes. Serve chilled.

Nutmeg Coffee Cake

1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1-1/4 c. sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. buttermilk
powdered sugar
  1. Cream butter with sugar and salt. Add egg. Mix well.
  2. Sift together flour, soda and nutmeg.
  3. Add alternately, buttermilk and dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, salt and egg mixture.
  4. Pour into a greased 9x9 cake pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.


2 lb. asparagus with tightly closed bud tops, spears 1/2-inch thick
4 T. butter
  1. Remove tough ends of the asparagus, and peel stalks up an inch or two from the end.
  2. Place in boiling salted water, two inches deep, in a large frying pan, with top on. Cook until tender, but still crisp (12 or more minutes). Remove to a serving platter.
  3. While asparagus is cooking, brown butter until it turns brown but not black.
  4. Pour over hot asparagus just taken from fry pan and serve immediately.

Overnight Egg Soufflé

5 slices of bread, outer crust removed, buttered and cubed
1/2 lb. grated cheddar cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  1. Butter 1-1/2 qt. casserole dish.
  2. Layer bread cubes and cheese twice.
  3. Combine egg, milk, mustard, pepper and salt, and pour over bread and cheese. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
  4. In the morning bake 50 minutes at 325 degrees.

Note: 1/2 lb. shrimp, ham or cooked bacon slices can be added to the bread and cheese layers.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito