Breakfast at Nonna’s
The egg spit and crackled in the melted butter covering the bottom of the little copper bottom frying pan. It was the smallest from the collection of her copper bottom pans hanging on the big wall in her cavernous country kitchen. Nonna unceremoniously tossed the brown Rhode Island Red egg shells to the side onto the tan and gold flecked counter top. I danced on tip toes, trying to watch the sides of the egg brown and curl as the whites bubbled.
“Aah almost done Kathy,” Nonna commented as she smoothly swept the spatula underneath the egg and swiftly slapped it back down into the pan, “I know you like your egg sunny side down” She winked at me. I smiled back at, her smiling green eyes twinkling from her wrinkled morning face that I knew would be smoothed away soon enough with Pond’s cold cream and plenty of make-up. My Nonna worked her magic in the kitchen and at her vanity.
I smiled inwardly at the thought of an egg yolk being compared to the sun, it’s half dome face shining up or down to greet its taster.
With a flourish, Nonna grabbed a slice of Pepperidge Farm bread out of its trademark white waxed paper wrapping. It orangey brown crust had a hint of tangy sweetness. It was moist and dense. After she had slid the butter sodden egg onto a small breakfast plate, she tossed the piece of bread into the pan, letting it fry in the remaining buttery puddle. After a minute, she deftly spun the crispy piece around the pan to soak up all the remaining butter. The result was absolutely delicious and joined my fried egg on the breakfast plate.
Nonna sat down next to me with her meal of a simple poached egg, black coffee and boiled prunes, “good for regularity” she explained. I had no idea what “regularity” meant, but from the looks of those soggy, weeping purplish things sitting on her plate I knew it probably wasn’t good and I didn’t want any part of it. I smiled politely, and dug my forkful of buttery fried egg hungrily into my mouth.
Each morning for the week I visited Nonna in the summer, this was my breakfast but every night she would announce our dinner and sometimes I got to choose the menu. We’d stop at the farmers market during the day to pick out the produce for our evening meal. Nonna loved fresh fruits and vegetables. If I finished all my vegetables, I got dessert which was a big bowl of vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Nonna filled up a cereal bowl full of ice cream. I was allowed to pour as much chocolate syrup as I wished atop my ice cream. Sometimes, I pretended I was making a castle with a chocolate moat running around the bottom, at other times it was a gigantic volcano that had exploded an enormous lava field spilling into the valleys below. It was up to me to save the villagers below by eating all the lava just in the nick of time or swallowing up the moat so the damsel in distress could be rescued. Nonna would listen to my tales as she shook her head. “Mamma Mia” she would say, as she crocheted, mended torn trousers or holes in socks and tried to watch the Lawrence Welk Show, 60 Minutes, or the evening news.
My Nonna knew how to cook special meals and bake amazing desserts, but it was the everyday and ordinary meals that I fondly remember. She seemed at peace and happy while in her kitchen. Those are the times I treasure the most, of times spent together over preparing food in the kitchen, a simple meal that left us time to talk, smile and play.
I make “egg in a hole,” a hybrid version of Nonna’s fried egg and toast breakfast for my kids. They love the crispy buttery egg goodness combined in one toasty square and I smile fondly as I remember back to my summer breakfasts at Nonna’s.
I remember my Nonna making her strawberry shortcake with fresh whipping cream and Bisquick biscuits. A friend of mine told me about adding vanilla extract and sugar to the strawberries to give them some extra flavor. I also add vanilla extract and sugar to the whipping cream and of course to sugar to the Bisquick biscuits, about 1-2 teaspoons. The result was a delicious dessert, and with the bounty of fresh strawberries this summer you can’t help but want to try this great strawberry shortcake recipe.
1 pint of fresh ripe strawberries sliced and let them sit for about 15- 2o minutes in;
1-2 teaspoons of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons of sugar
bake 4-5 Bisquik biscuits following the recipe on the box adding 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to the batter or use any buttermilk recipe you may have, homemade is best (Prepare this ahead)
8 oz whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons of sugar
Add the vanilla extract and sugar to the whipping cream. Beat until stiff peaks form. Slice the biscuits in half. Top with sliced strawberries and add a dollop of whipping cream. Top with the other half of the biscuit add another dollop of whipping cream and some more sliced strawberries and serve. Enjoy!
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese-
This refreshing healthy salad is a great summer dish to accompany any meal, or toss in some grilled chicken or shrimp and make it a main dish.
2 bunches of fresh baby spinach
1 pint sliced fresh strawberries
6 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/4 c sugar
2 Tablespoons of sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon of poppy seeds
1/2 c olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon minced onion
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 c vinegar
mix the sliced strawberries, chopped and rinsed spinach leaves and just before serving add the salad dressing. Top with crumbled gorgonzola cheese.
Happy Friday Everyone- Who Can You Forgive Today? Someone near, Someone Far? Could it Be You?
“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it,” John Steinbeck
A very true quote from one of my favorite authors.
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