My House: A Plan for Breakfast

Breakfast Table Designing In Chatham NJSaturday mornings are bliss, aren’t they? We get up late. My husband and son work together to make pancakes while I catch up on my blog reading and Pinterest. I know. I’m super lucky! It gets better. The pancakes are amazing, and every week the recipe rotates: blueberry, cottage cheese, banana nut, or apple pancakes in the fall.

Some days we have lots of family and friends join us for the now famous pancake breakfasts we have. If our peeps are coming we make spicy eggs, and pull out champagne for some mimosas. So fun. The entire table gets filled to maximum capacity for quite a few breakfasts every year. Here’s a recent pic from my Instagram (stay tuned because the room is getting a fix up with some new pieces and Uma Stewart fabrics soon!).

Kitchen Decorator In Morris County NJBut other days it’s just the three of us for breakfast, and that is equally nice. I still try to make the table look decent. Right now black-eyed susans are growing wild in our front border. I am frequently inspired to head outside with the snippers to pick a few. I’ll often snip at the unplanned Japanese maple tree growing onto our patio steps too.

Dining Area Decoration In Short Hills Nj

I’m all for dressed up and ornate as you probably know by now! But these simple breakfasts for three call for a simple table. As it turns out, we don’t need much.

Once we’re done eating we might put on some music, dance (at least Aadi and I will), and read the news or a book. This week Michael had me listen to a new album he downloaded by Christine and the Queens. I loved it, and he knew I would. How about you? Do you have a pancake routine?!

Christine & The Queens Chaleur Humaine

Here’s a recipe for my favorite pancakes. I love it for the low fuss days because the cottage cheese makes it filling and more protein heavy! No side dish needed.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk
1 cup cottage cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cups finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup dried currants, plumped

2 large egg whites

Pure maple syrup or honey, or plain yogurt (optional, for serving. I like them with just some butter because the currants are sweet enough.)

Lightly butter, oil, or spray your griddle.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, cottage cheese, butter, egg yolks and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing just until combined. Stir in the pecans and currants.

Beat the two egg whites until they are stiff but not dry and fold them into the batter.

The batter will be thick and bubbly. Spoon 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake, nudging the batter into rounds. These are thick and might take a little longer to cook than most other pancakes. Cook until the top of each pancake is starting to dry around the edges – you will get a few bubbles here and there – then turn and cook until the underside is lightly browned. These will keep in a 200 degrees F oven while you finish making the rest, but they are best served ASAP!

Try This: My Favorite Protein Boost

I have to admit that with all the design projects, plus our move, I have not been at my healthiest. I’ve been reaching for the sugar and coffee way too often. Time to get back on track. There’s one thing I’ve been eating lately, however, that I am going to hang on to for my revised diet: a bowl of greek yogurt topped with chia seeds, slivered almonds, and a tiny dash of honey. This lifesaver has been filling my protein needs on the busiest of days here. As an aside, I highly recommend a beautiful bowl for indulging in this healthy snack!

Try This: Carrot Nectarine Smoothie

This summer I am on a mission to master the healthy smoothie. Every week I pick up a bevy of fresh fruits and veggies, and for breakfast each morning I try a new combination of ingredients. It has been a delicious experiment. What I’ve found is the simpler the better.

My current favorite is this carrot nectarine smoothie. Peel and cut one medium carrot into thin pieces. Add to blender cup and pulse on high until thoroughly shredded. Cut the pit from one nectarine and chop into large pieces. Add to blender cup along with one cup of almond milk. Blend until completely smooth. Pour into an 8 ounce glass. Sprinkle a teaspoon of chia seeds on top. Enjoy!

Are you into the current smoothie and juice trend? What are your favorite recipes?

Photo by Uma Stewart.

Places: Farm to Table Dining in NYC

I had a very significant birthday this year. My family and I ate our way through NYC to celebrate. These days the farm to table trend is taking the city by storm. Fine by me! I love to sample unique combinations of freshly harvested local foods. We had our birthday dinner at The Smile, a place hidden away at garden level on Bond Street in NoHo. As you can see above, they embrace a rustic aesthetic. The feel was very relaxed and very underground. The food was lovely and shared that relaxed, rustic vibe. We tasted the fennel and cucumber salad and a trio of delicious dips. My entree was the sauteed vegetables topped with a fried egg and fresh ricotta. It was like fancy food dressed down.

In contrast, the next day we had lunch at ABC Kitchen, which was casual food dressed WAY up. Every time I’m in Manhattan I try to get a reservation here, but getting in at the last minute proves impossible. This time I planned ahead. The vibe was definitely above ground, see and be seen, but still very comfortable.

Like the many places specializing in fresh, simple food, ABC also embraces rustic design elements and mixes them with elegant, vintage-y touches. The staff goes through great trouble to make you feel well looked after. And the food is just divine. The casual lunch fare was elevated to such blissful levels. You could literally taste the quality of the salt used in each and every bite. I had the veggie burger in a freshly baked pita with ravishingly good garnishes. And for desert, salted caramel ice cream topped with candy corn and chocolate sauce. Worth the wait! Here is the lovely table setting:

The Smile and ABC Kitchen were at two ends of the NYC dining experience, but the common threads that flowed through them were indelible: back to basics, celebrating the ingredients of good food, and bridging the gap between quotidien and sublime. Have you been to any restaurants and hotels that fit into this category as well?

Photos by Uma Stewart.

Places: Cadaqués in Williamsburg

A few weeks ago Michael and I had a great date night that started at Cadaqués in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tapas is my absolute favorite cuisine, and this Catalonian-style restaurant offered many varieties of small plates, even for vegetarians like us. Cadaqués felt cozy and welcoming with it’s rustic interiors and friendly waitstaff. The food was excellent, perhaps the best tapas I have eaten. Our favorite dishes included the Plato de Verduras and Ensalada de Cabra. And there were plenty of options for what to drink. Finally, though very full, we could not pass up the chance at dessert. We had a Catalan specialty of toast grilled with chocolate sauce and served with vanilla ice cream. Really delicious! Hope you can make it out there soon!