For decades doctors have told us how important it is to start every day with a hearty and healthy breakfast. Growing up, we were all required to eat eggs or cereal and drink our glass of juice or finish our half of a grapefruit before we could leave the kitchen table to get on with our day.
Sometimes the breakfast selection would vary and a stack of pancakes or a waffle was offered, with or without a side of crisp, perfectly cooked bacon, a small slab of scrapple, or a sausage link or two. Mom and Dad were firm believers in the "good breakfast" rule.
I happen to love a good, full breakfast. Not every day -- because I certainly do not need carbs and fat and sugar too often -- but once a week or so, when I have friends or family over for a delicious feast before a horseback ride or after a vigorous hike.
We might start with a homemade cappuccino. I installed a phenomenal machine in my kitchen so I can make two or four at a time, foaming milk to a silken froth and creating drinks that would make my favorite barista in New York City proud.
Depending on the menu, some steps can be done ahead of time to make the morning preparations simpler. If I am serving poached eggs, I start with eggs from the farm. I cook them early and keep them in a bowl of ice water until right before serving, when I gently reheat them in simmering water.
For a frittata, I saute the onions and parboil the potatoes, and have them ready beforehand. If I plan to serve biscuits, I mix the dry ingredients with the shortening and chill overnight, and then I add the buttermilk and mix the dough the next morning. Popover batter can be made the day before and chilled until ready to pour into preheated tins and baked.
My favorite croissants are made at the Petrossian bakery, in New York City, and I keep several dozen in my freezer to reheat as needed. They don't seem to suffer from the process, and everyone enjoys them.
Here are the recipes for some of my other favorite breakfast foods. Please try the homemade granola; the maple syrup gives the nuts and oats an amazing flavor. The recipe for Donn's waffles, which originated in the kitchen of winemakers Donn and Molly Chappellet, in California's Napa Valley, produces the lightest, crunchiest waffles I have ever eaten.
Another reason I love entertaining at breakfast? Once done, the whole day is left for you to enjoy the other things you love to do.