For many of us, there's no happier sound to awake to than the distinctive clatter that signals something's cooking in the kitchen. And it's no wonder: After a good night's sleep, it's common to wake up feeling rather famished. In fact, our name for the morning meal comes from the phrase break the fast. When that course is assembled from excellent ingredients by someone you love, it's more than merely filling -- it's especially delicious and satisfying.
We've all heard how important it is to eat breakfast, and it's true: Research has shown that this simple daily routine can boost your strength and energy levels, sharpen your concentration, and even lower your risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, days often begin with hectic mornings. Amid seeing your children off to school and getting yourself to work on time, the meal is frequently a meager on-the-go affair involving a piece of fruit or a cereal bar.
In springtime, however, the sun's early rise and late departure seem to offer our days a more leisurely pace. Why not take a little time to prepare a dressed-up morning repast? Updated favorites feel at once familiar and elegant, and will please brunch guests or make a great surprise on Father's Day. But you don't need to wait for a special occasion to put a little creative effort into breakfast -- we found easy ways to improve upon well-loved dishes, such as serving cornmeal waffles with a fruit compote in place of the expected maple syrup, or substituting smoked salmon for the classic ham filling in the French sandwich called a croque madame.
With a bit of planning, you'll be able to get a delectable meal on the table without spending hours in the kitchen, making it a snap to start any day in a tasty way, or giving you more time to spend with your visitors. If you prepare our blueberry-walnut muesli ahead of time, you'll make quick work of baking muesli muffins; plus, you'll have a healthful topping on hand to serve with yogurt, fruit, and a drizzle of honey later in the week. Our impressive souffleed omelet filled with serrano ham and goat cheese can be whipped up while your guests have a cup of coffee. Or bake the chocolate brioche loaf in advance; when it's time to eat, cut slices from the loaf, toast them until the chocolate swirl just starts to melt, and serve warm. Whether you make a savory meal or offer a sweet baked treat, we can't think of a better way to guarantee a good morning.